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Students and parents often feel nervous when the time comes to move from elementary to middle school, and for good reason. Studies have shown that middle school environments tend to focus more on academic performance and test scores, which can make incoming students feel pressure from day one. It is also true that many large middle schools are unable to provide the same degree of individual attention and support students received in elementary school.
At the same time, middle school students are experiencing significant social, emotional, and developmental changes; their desire to be accepted by peers increases as does their critical self-perception. When all of these stressors come together, the result is students who are likely to feel isolated and insecure, which can lead to even greater problems down the road when these youngsters are expected to have magically transformed into independent and self-sufficient scholars.
Viewed through this lens, it's really quite understandable that the transition to middle school is a source of anxiety for parents and children alike. But don't give up hope just yet. Alternative choices do exist; there are solutions to this problem. There are schools that recognize the importance of offering support to students during this tough transition – at the very time they need it most.
At Futures Academy, students develop at their own pace and strengthen their characters as well as their minds. A big reason for this is Futures Academy's commitment to 1:1 learning, which provides students with individualized and targeted opportunities for growth. Students partner with a teacher to evaluate and design goals for themselves, and then continuously monitor their progress on the path to mastery.
This unique instructional technique allows students to move at their own pace, mastering each lesson in its entirety before moving to the next, and gradually allows students to become self-managed learners. 1:1 learning also improves confidence, a student's individual sense of control over academic outcomes, and communication between scholar and teacher. In fact, many educators attest to the value of involving students in the goal-setting process as a way to naturally invest and motivate them.
Maintaining an environment that emphasizes cooperation over competition is also conducive to student success. Research shows that "bullying occurs most often in middle schools," and that one of the most effective ways to prevent bullying is by cultivating a school-wide culture of respect. Futures Academy has established a social climate that ensures middle schoolers' interactions – which are so freshly important and engaging at this age – are constructive and can lead to lasting friendships.
Futures Academy also ensures that the learning environment is ideal for each type of learner. Some students need conversation, external stimuli, and noise to help focus while studying; other kids feel outright overwhelmed by a typical noisy classroom, which can cause social anxiety to rear its angry head, forcing those students to stay quiet, never participating in any learning going on. Futures Academy promises that your scholar will have the right kind of environment that suits his or her individual learning style. This is exactly why Futures Academy was created: "a school where every student belongs and feels comfortable learning, where their individual needs are being met, and where they can excel and feel proud of their accomplishments."
When contemplating big decisions, such as choosing the right school for one's child, it is imperative that parents keep calm and consider their options. Transitioning from elementary to middle school doesn't have to be tough. In fact, it's possible that moving up can be an exciting adventure, especially if students are sure they will find support and success at their new school.