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Checking out a Middle School

Middle School Expert Advice from Judith Lee Ladd

Q: What sort of questions should I ask when visiting potential middle schools for my children? They are both bright, so academic challenges are of utmost concern. What should I be looking for beyond the obvious questions like class size and availability of advanced curriculum?

A: Does the school have programs to encourage service to others or to community? No matter how academically equipped or challenged a student may be, he must feel he is making a significant contribution to others in order to grow. Are these clubs or programs accessible to your child?

What classes are offered for high-school credit in the last grade-level of the school? What school programs are available to gifted and talented students? What summer activities does the school provide or encourage? What is the social makeup of the school? If your child enjoys band, a sport, or a club activity such as yearbook, what does the school have to offer for his/her special talents and interests.

Ask for the school profile so you can see what percentage of students go on to a four-year college or junior college.

Good luck finding a school of your dreams.

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Judith Lee Ladd is a former president of the American School Counselor Association, a national organization of K-12 and post-secondary school counselors.

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