This Parent Guide will help families parents and teachers at The Hebrew Academy work together to help prepare 5th Grade students successfully transition from Lower School to Middle School.  This Guide provides:

  1. Information regarding the skills, knowledge, behaviors, and attitudes that are associated with success in Middle School;

  2. Information regarding what your student’s teachers and administrators administration will be doing to facilitate readiness; and

  3. Recommendations for parents about how to support student readiness prior to the transition.

Skills, Knowledge, Behaviors, and Attitudes Associated with Successful Transition to Middle School

Successful students have healthy lifestyles.  They eat healthy food, drink enough water, get regular exercise, and get enough sleep. These habits don’t just make students feel better; these habits help the brain develop and enable students to learn better.  Mental health is critical, and can be supported with a healthy lifestyle. Successful students are able to manage a typical degree of stress and anxiety. They draw on exercise and other healthy habits to provide rest, relaxation, and stress relief.

Successful students set challenging but realistic goals.  These include: life goals, long-term educational goals,  short-term learning goals, and personal goals. in many other areas of their lives.

Successful students show a strong determination to learn.  They have excellent attendance. They pay attention in class. They complete homework.  They actively participate in class discussions. They don’t just want to learn and not just for the sake of their grades.make good grades, they want to learn.

Successful students take responsibility for their own learning.  They study with few interruptions. They finish every assignment carefully and neatly, and turn them in on time. They study for quizzes and exams, and they work diligently on projects. 

Successful students display positive attitudes.  These include self-confidence, self-motivation, and determination.

Successful students make wise choices.  They develop a strong sense of personal values and ethics,; they use time and resources responsibly,; and they avoid problems with addictive substances and behaviors,- including screen time.

Successful students develop insightful social skills.  They relate well  with parents, teachers, classmates and people of different abilities, ages, and social groups. This includes  respect, being a good listener, and leadership skills.

These Habits of Mind will facilitate success for all students throughout life, on any path they choose.


What does The Hebrew Academy Do to Support Middle School Transition?

Academic Support and Monitoring 

Your student’s transition from Lower School to Middle School will be closely supported and monitored.  Using a variety of professional and highly specialized educational tools and resources, every students’ academic progress is monitored by teachers and administrators.  In the event that a student requires additional support in any of the core curricular areas, or in areas of social-emotional development, parents are notified by their teachers or by the administration.  We partner with parents to provide targeted support and information about how to help the student.

Learning Skills for Middle School Success 

The Hebrew Academy has adopted and designed a unique Middle School Transition curriculum to explicitly prepare and guide students in developing key skills for success.  This curriculum is taught by Upper School teachers and administrators and includes topics such as time management, independent thinking, problem solving, communication, and social skills.  

Getting to Know Their Future Teachers

In addition to receiving specific guided support from their elementary school teachers to prepare for Middle School curriculum, fifth grade students have multiple opportunities to meet the Middle School teachers and engage in learning activities that prepare them for the expectations of Middle School. This eases the way for students, by initiating a personal relationships with their future teachers prior to the new school year.  Our Middle School fifth grade teachers work closely with our fifth grade Middle School teachers to understand the needs and learning styles of their incoming students.

Getting to Know Middle School Students

Our teachers and administrators prepare our returning Middle School students to take leadership roles and provide positive mentorship to incoming Middle School students in a variety of ways.  Fifth grade students will be invited by their older peers for “Visiting Days” in the Middle School during which where older students are paired with younger students as mentors and coaches.


What Parents Can Do During the Fifth Grade Year To Facilitate Middle School Readiness

Talk to your student’s teachers early about any concerns you might have about your students readiness.  Work, in partnership, with the teachers to prepare your student.  Trust their experience and recommendations. They are familiar with Middle School curriculum and expectations, and they understand your child educationally.

Understand the developmental milestones that your student is facing. The Middle School student is undergoing an intense period of development.  Understanding the stages of development will help you determine the best ways to support them.

Begin conversations early with your student about the transition. Acknowledge both the excitement and benefits of the change, as well as any fears or concerns they may have. Encourage your student to embrace the challenges and opportunities, and demonstrate your confidence in them.  If there are areas where you see a need for growth, work steadily and diligently with your student to improve those areas. Start early, and work incrementally. Avoid “dumping” big or vague expectations on your student, such as “You better get a handle on this because next year you’re going to be expected to do it all.” Instead, work with your students teacher to identify “bite size” pieces to work on, such as organization, time management, best effort, and follow through.

Work closely with the Administration.  If you are requested to support your student in any particular area of readiness, it is essential that you partner with the school to provide support.  Your student’s long-term range success relies heavily on a successful transition to Middle School.

Foster and support the skills, knowledge, behaviors, and attitudes associated with successful transition to Middle School, along with the Habits of Mind, described above.

For more information about Middle School at The Hebrew Academy, contact our Admissions Director at admissions@hacds.org

www.hacds.org   (714) 898-0051