Your child's middle school is made up of students, teachers, counselors, coaches and volunteers. It's important to understand the role of each of them, so that you and your child know who to go to if there's a problem, or if you child is just looking for a little guidance or advice. Understand the role of each middle school staff member before your child begins the school year. For additional information, consider volunteering at your child's school. That's the best way to learn about the school, and how it operates day to day.
Understanding the Middle School Staff
- The Students: OK, students technically aren't middle school staff members, but they are an important part of the school. Middle schools can run from 5-8 grade, or from 7-8 grade or 7-9 grade. Before your child attends middle school, find out how many students attend the school, and what a typical class size may be.
- The Teachers: Middle school can differ from elementary school in a number of ways. For starters, your child may go from having one teacher for the entire day, to having a different teacher for each subject. Generally, teachers will teach one subject, although some find themselves teaching science and math.
- The Lead Teacher: Lead teachers are usually seasoned teachers who mentor younger teachers, helping them troubleshoot problems, and make the most of the teaching experience. Lead teachers may also make decisions regarding class curriculums, discipline or other classroom related issues.
- The Guidance Counselor: The guidance counselor helps students who might be in crises, or students who may need mentoring or other services in order to succeed in school. If your child has an issue with another student, the guidance counselor may be able to help. Guidance counselors also help students choose classes for the next year, and prepare themselves for high school and beyond.
- The Vice-Principal: The vice-principal is second in command, and assists the vice-principal in the day to day running of the school. At many schools, the vice-principal is in charge of discipline issues, so that the principal isn't tarnished in the eyes of the children. The vice-principal may also be your point of contact if you have bus or transportation challenges.
- The Principal: The principal is ultimately responsible for the school and everything that happens at school, including student performance. Some principal are very hands on, others may be more of a figure head. The principal is the staff member you contact if your child is having an issue that isn't being resolved by other school staff.
- Coaches, Band Instructors, the Office Staff: There are plenty of other adults who contribute to your child's education. Many middle schools have specialized staff members who are responsible for the school band, the choir and physical education. In addition, the office staff can be responsible for getting notes or reminders to your child, for checking students in and out of school for appointments or other commitments, and for keeping track of your child's tardies or absences.
- The Security Guard/Police Officer: In order to combat violence, drug use and other potential dangers, many schools have a police officer or a security guard on site. He or she may interact with the students, and attempt to keep problems at a minimum.
- The School Nurse: The school nurse is the staff member your child will go to if he or she falls ill at school, or if your child need to take medication while at school. The school nurse may be the one who determines if your child is sick enough to go home, or if your child needs emergency attention.