CELEBRATING MIDDLE LEVEL EDUCATION MONTH
March is Middle Level Education Month! This annual recognition provides a special opportunity to focus on this very important time in the education of our children.
The United States Senate has designated March as Middle Level Education Month in a bipartisan resolution sponsored by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), and Sen. John Walsch (D-MT). The House also introduced a resolution supporting the goals and ideals of Middle Level Education Month, sponsored by Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Rep. James Langevin (D-RI), Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL), and Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA).
Middle Level Month is a good time to reinforce:
- The importance of parents being knowledgeable about young adolescents and being actively involved in their lives;
- The understanding that healthy bodies plus healthy minds equal healthy young adolescents;
- The realization that the education young adolescents experience during this formative period of life will, in large measure, determine the future for all citizens; and;
- The knowledge that every young adolescent should have the opportunity to pursue his or her dreams and aspirations, and post-secondary education should be a possibility for all.
This month, NAESP is working with NASSP, the Association for Middle Level Education, the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform, Adolescent Success, and Let’s Move Active Schools to promote middle-level education nationwide.
We encourage you to use the resources below throughout the year. After all, our aim is to continually develop and maintain supportive public attitudes toward middle-level education during every month of the year.
NAESP is pleased to provide the following middle-level focused materials:
- 10 Tips to Avoid Tech Integration Frustration: https://www.naesp.org/principal-januaryfebruary-2014-assessments-evaluations-and-data/ten-teen-10-tips-avoid-tech-integrat
- The Benefits of Advisory: https://www.naesp.org/principal-novemberdecember-2013-safe-positive-school-culture/ten-teen-benefits-advisory
- Elementary Tactics to Ease Transition Stress: http://www.naesp.org/principal-septemberoctober-2013-early-learning/ten-teen-elementary-tactics-ease-transition-stress
- Game-changing Middle-level Strategies: https://www.naesp.org/principal-mayjune-2013-achievement-gap/ten-teen-game-changing-middle-level-strategies
- Every School Day Counts: https://www.naesp.org/principal-marchapril-2013-transitions/ten-teen-every-school-day-counts
- Teaching Stem to English-Language Learners: https://www.naesp.org/principal-janfeb-2013-teacher-staff-development/ten-teen-teaching-stem-english-language-learners
Activities and Ideas
The following is a list of suggested activities for Middle Level Education Month that have been successful for middle grades educators. Read them over, select a few that are appropriate for your school and begin the celebration!
Get the Word Out
• Ask your mayor, city council, and/or school board to declare March 2014 as Middle Level Education Month in your community/district.
• Promote Middle Level Education Month in your school newsletter and/or webpage.
• Submit an article or guest column to your local newspaper or an online magazine about the importance of middle level education and young adolescents.
• Spread the word about Middle Level Education Month through social media-- blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
• Contact local radio stations and ask them to air a public service announcement (PSA) announcing March as Middle Level Education Month.
• Encourage students to write letters for publication on what it is like to be a student in the middle grades, i.e., letters to the editor, school/district website, parent newsletter, trusted online websites.
• Interview students for podcasts to let them share their thoughts on life at your middle school. Put them on your website or contact a local radio station for air time.
• Take video of school activities to be aired on local cable television and/or your school’s morning news show.
• Create and send a Middle Level Education Month calendar to the mayor, city council, newspapers, and others in your area who may be interested in what you are doing throughout March to celebrate young adolescents.
• Invite local service clubs to hold a breakfast or luncheon meeting at your school.
• Invite parents and other community members to visit classrooms.
• Invite members of local youth service agencies to a meeting at your school to discuss ways in which you might work collaboratively to support young adolescents.
• Invite neighborhood police to stop by the school for coffee and an informal.
Educators and families should be aware that middle grades students mature at different rates #MLEM14 http://ow.ly/t78iI
• Offer to hold a daytime school board meeting at your middle school and invite classes to attend the beginning of the meeting to ask questions and share their concerns with the board members.
• Contact local service clubs and offer yourself, a staff member, and/or a student as a speaker to discuss middle level education and young adolescents.
• Volunteer to present at a meeting of your local school board. Better yet, have students make the presentation!
• Establish an annual "Community Clean-Up Day." Students and parents volunteer to clean up school campus sites as well as some of the community's parks and recreation areas.
• Ask your superintendent to plan a joint meeting between the local school board and the city council to discuss the needs of young adolescents.
• Plan a day or half-day community workshop on youth services. Invite representatives from local family service agencies, health care professionals, law enforcement, probation, YMCA/YWCA, Boys and Girls Clubs, and other community organizations from both the nonprofit and private sectors.
• Involve the student council from the high school(s) your students will attend:
- Invite members to provide a leadership training or activity workshop for middle grades student leaders.
- Have them invite 8th grade leaders to attend a high school council meeting.
- Ask them to prepare a handout or video to introduce middle level leaders to their council responsibilities.
- Suggest they plan and host a joint service project with your middle level council or leadership students.
• Partner with your feeder elementary and high schools to highlight transition activities that get elementary students ready for the middle and middle school students ready for high school.
• Do a presentation about life in the middle to the elementary PTA groups.
• Have your school nurse or psychologist present a parent workshop to increase their understanding of the changes their young adolescent is experiencing and share activities they can do at home to increase their child’s success at school.