SHANGHAI COMMUNITY INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL HQ
Middle School Handbook
INTRODUCTION AND GENERAL BACKGROUND
SCIS is an independent, co-educational international school. It was founded in 1996
on a campus in the Changning area of Shanghai, and currently operates four
campuses, two in Puxi (Hongqiao) and two in Pudong (the east and west sides of
the river that splits Shanghai roughly in half). Hangzhou International School
opened in 2002 and operates under the aegis of SCIS. All five campuses operate as
autonomous entities within the SCIS group of schools.
The SCIS Pudong and Hongqiao schools are fully-accredited by the Western
Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), and in 2008 earned its highest
possible accreditation term of six years. SCIS was the first international school in
Shanghai to be accredited by the National Council on Curriculum and Textbooks.
SCIS is a member of the East Asia Regional Conference of Overseas Schools
(EARCOS). HIS achieved WASC accreditation in the spring of 2005 and also was
awarded the full six-year term of accreditation. The Puxi and Pudong Upper
Schools are both authorized by the International Baccalaureate to offer the I.B.
SCIS-HIS is overseen by members of a Board of Directors appointed according to
the bylaws of the school’s Articles of Association. The self-perpetuating,
“corporate governance” model used at SCIS and the other ISF schools has been
supported for many years by the European Council of International Schools in the
United Kingdom and by International Schools Services in the United States, and is
the one endorsed by the National Association of Independent Schools. NAIS is the
largest organization for independent schools--defined as schools that are “not
under government control”--in the United States. In its statement on governance,
NAIS reviews the other models, details the problems with an annually shifting,
parent-elected board (especially for international schools with their more transient
populations), and then says this:
“The corporate model of a self-perpetuating board is what NAIS advocates, where
the board chooses itself and its successors and is focused largely on the strategic
future of the school. It sees itself as having only one employee to hire, evaluate,
and fire (the head of school), and it scrupulously and thankfully redirects all
constituent complaints to the proper authority, the head of school, then supports
the head of school in his or her adjudication of any challenges. This ‘above the fray’
approach frees the board to focus on the larger issues of institutional stability and
growth and sends a strong signal to the community that the board has confidence
in the leadership of the school, never allowing itself to become ‘the court of last
resort’ to adjudicate conflict and overrule management decisions, knowing that if
it does so, it will revert to the first model of governance indicated above and
forever after be relegated to operational oversight rather than vision and strategy
and generative thinking, its proper role.”
NOT FOR PROFIT STATUS, SCIS-HIS AND AFFILIATED SCHOOLS
At its establishment in 1996, SCIS was classified by the Chinese government as a
“Foreign Invested Enterprise”, as were all international schools in China at the
time, with the exception of diplomatic schools. In the ensuing years, SCIS and a
number of other international schools in China recommended to the government
that a “not for profit” category be established. In 2008, the government invited
ten international schools who had attained accreditation from China’s National
Council for Curriculum and Textbooks (NCCT) to apply for the newly-
established fei yin li (not for profit) classification, one of which invitees was
SCIS. Our government relations office completed the application forms and
audit process in late 2008, and in early 2009, the Shanghai Education
Commission issued to SCIS a license confirming its status as a not for profit
school. SCIS has been operating since that time under regulations, similar to
those in other countries, which govern not for profit school operation in China.
INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL FOUNDATION
SCIS-HIS is affiliated with the International School Foundation. ISF is domiciled in
Lansing, Michigan, and is directed by Larry Balli, Kristy Dewi, and Michael
Dougherty. The directors receive compensation from the schools in accordance
with respective Articles of Association at each school, and within limits set by the
respective governments for not for profit schools in each country. Schools
established under ISF direction include the American International School of Cape
Town, Hangzhou International School, the International School of Perth (now
managed by the Chevron corporation), North Jakarta International School, and
Shanghai Community International School. The International Schools Foundation
has been vetted and accorded 501 c3 status (not for profit) by the Internal
Revenue Service of the United States. The ISF was established to solicit tax-
deductible philanthropic contributions to benefit its affiliated international
schools, but it does not own nor does it have legal connection with or liability for
any of these schools. Each school affiliated with ISF is registered in its respective
country under the auspices and not for profit regulations of that country.
SHANGHAI COMMUNITY INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL HQ MIDDLE SCHOOL HANDBOOK
Table of Contents
WELCOME LETTER from Mr. Dan Kerr ............................................................................... 1
SURVIVING SCIS MIDDLE SCHOOL ..................................................................................... 2
ADVISORY (DRAGON TIME).......................................................................................................... 3
AFTER SCHOOL ACTIVITIES .......................................................................................................... 5
AFTER SCHOOL BUSSING ............................................................................................................. 6
CAFÉ & CAFETERIA..................................................................................................................... 6
CHINA TRIPS ............................................................................................................................. 6
DRESS CODE ............................................................................................................................. 7
HOMEWORK ............................................................................................................................. 8
HOUSE SYSTEM ......................................................................................................................... 9
LEAVING CAMPUS .................................................................................................................... 10
LOCKERS & LOCKS ................................................................................................................... 10
LOST & FOUND ....................................................................................................................... 11
SURVIVING YOUR CLASSES ............................................................................................. 13
EIGHT HABITS OF SUCCESSFUL MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS ............................................................ 14
PREPARING TO STUDY .............................................................................................................. 15
TOP STUDY HABITS OF SUCCESSFUL STUDENTS ............................................................................. 16
TEST ANXIETY.......................................................................................................................... 17
TEST TAKING STRATEGIES .......................................................................................................... 18
ORGANIZATIONAL SKILLS........................................................................................................... 19
TIME MANAGEMENT ................................................................................................................ 21
SURVIVING YOUR LAPTOP .............................................................................................. 22
SCIS COMPUTER POLICY ........................................................................................................... 23
RESPONSIBILITIES & ETHICS OF USING TECHNOLOGY ..................................................................... 26
SURVIVING YOURSELF .................................................................................................... 27
HEALTHY EATING HABITS .......................................................................................................... 28
SLEEP NEEDS AND SCHOOL PERFORMANCE.................................................................................. 29
SEVEN SLEEP SMART TIPS ......................................................................................................... 30
SURVIVING YOUR PEERS ................................................................................................ 31
NEGATIVE PEER GROUPS .......................................................................................................... 32
PEER PRESSURE ....................................................................................................................... 33
Final Word from Mr. Kerr ............................................................................................... 34
Our SCIS HQ Middle School is fast becoming a truly special place. We are about
to embark on our first year as a specific and separate division as we finally split from
our High School, and it couldn’t be more exciting. The opportunities that we have
this year to create remarkable experiences for students are endless, and I look
forward to beginning the journey with all of you. Together we can move our Middle
School forward in profound and powerful ways by focusing on what is best in terms
of learning, our students, and our community.
We are striving to create a Middle School Culture in which students, parents,
and faculty feel valued, self-confident, inspired, and physically and emotionally safe.
A culture where class management and discipline issues become opportunities for
student growth and self-reflection, and a culture that is committed to the
“wholeness” of the school and child, using best practice, love, and a whole lot of
innovative thinking. Our Middle School philosophy is to let kids be kids, and to
provide opportunities for students to take risks, find their passions and sparks, and
to challenge students to reach their potential through academic rigor, activities and
sport, and a focus on service learning.
Middle School is a wonderful, scary, exciting, anxious, and life changing time
for all students. We are committed to making these years the best years of our
students lives, and to celebrating the changes, growth and learning that will occur
throughout this amazing experience. Take a look through the handbook and see
what we are all about. Also, if you want a more comprehensive look at what we are
trying to accomplish with regards to education, please check out my weekly blog site
I look forward to meeting you all in person throughout the year and please
drop by for a visit, a coffee, or a quick hello whenever you find yourself on campus.
Middle School Principal
Shanghai Community International School
62 21 6261 4338 Ext. 3142 (Office)
Skype – dankerr3
“I’m a little confused. Who do I see? Where do I go?
How do I do that? When is it due?”
Advisory – Dragon Time
Our newly overhauled “Dragon Time” is a fantastic opportunity to give each student
some specific connections to a mentor teacher, small group relationships, and the
tremendously important pastoral care element which is integral to our Middle
Dragon time is now graded as a pass/fail class for each student each semester.
There is a 5-hour service-learning requirement for every student as part of our
Middle School focus on community awareness. The initiatives and time allotments
will be handled as part of the Advisory teacher’s duties, and it will be the Advisory
Teacher who assigns the pass/fail grade. A student receives a passing grade by
completing five hours of an agreed upon service learning initiative for each
semester. That’s 10 hours of service to our community for the school year………for
over 300 students!
Administrative advisory time is dedicated to non-subject specific matters that
benefit a students overall academic wellness at SCIS. Typical activities during this
Regular checks on grades and student progress
Student S.M.A.R.T goal setting/ N.W.E.A. MAP Testing conversations
China Trip preparation & projects
Quarterly goals revisit/adjustment
S.N.A.P (Student Network for Academic Portfolios) work/management
Student led-conference preparation/practice
Presentations by administration, the school counselor and special guests
Chinese New Year prep
Community service work for Advisory Grade (5 hours per semester)
Pastoral Care Advisory
Pastoral care advisories are designed to create a positive atmosphere in the Middle
School. Students receive support in their quest to discover who they are and how
they fit into their environment. Pastoral care attends to the social, psychological and
emotional needs of adolescents.
Year-long themes differing by grade level to attend to students’
Conversations with students and activities that foster conversation
Teacher planned activities to address issues that arise throughout the year as
they happen in order to capture the teachable moment
Activities that foster team unity, school spirit and a positive feeling regarding
the learning environment
Full participation and incorporation of all students is an essential element
Grade 6: Personal Responsibilities In My New Community
Focus: Focus on giving students techniques that will help them achieve academic
success in middle school, and decrease anxiety.
- Skills necessary to transition into the Upper School
- Organization – Including lessons on notebooks, binders, lockers, bags, and
appropriate laptop usage
- Time Management – How do you spend your time? Planning after school
- Prioritizing – long term planning
- Interaction and social skills
- Characteristics of a good team member
- Responsibility and ethics of technology use
Grade 7: Life Skills & My Changing Body
Focus: Giving students the skills to interact with their peers in a healthy and
- Review of grade 6 topics
- Respect of others
- Interacting with the opposite sex
- Healthy Eating Habits
- Characteristics, physical and emotional, of adolescent development
- Communication games and activities – what are the keys to effective
Grade 8: What Makes a Successful Learner?
Focus: Stressing the importance of learning not grades. Reinforcing and teaching
skills that the students will need to transition for success in HS and life.
- Time management and organization
- What kind of a learner are you? Surveys and discussion about what this
- What are your strengths?
- 2nd semester – 4 year plans, high school academic requirements
- Researching – how to do it and finding reliable information (how search
SCIS deems co-curricular activities as an essential element of education during the
Middle Years. These activities provide unique settings for students to interact and
practice important interpersonal and intrapersonal skills that may not otherwise be
possible in the classroom environment. Co-curricular activities also allow students
to explore their strengths outside of academia. SCIS believes strongly in the benefits
of our activities program and organizations. Therefore, all Middle School students
must be involved in one co-curricular or extracurricular activity per semester.
Because the focus of this policy is active involvement, theses activities are not
limited to those provided by the school.
School Sponsored Activities
SCIS provides ample opportunities for students to become involved in a dynamic
school life through its activities program. The following list of organizations, clubs
and sports teams is not comprehensive. Some activities vary from year-to-year
depending on student demand. Co-curricular opportunities for Middle School
students are not limited to this list.
Semester One Semester Two
Touch Rugby Basketball
Boy’s/Girl’s Soccer Badminton
Cross Country Volleyball
Floor hockey (continued semester 2) Table Tennis
Model United Nations (MUN)
Fall & Spring Drama Productions
Football (soccer) club
Book club (like Oprah’s)
SCIS players drama club
Math counts club
*Students seeking to create a new club or activity at the Middle School level must
submit a proposal to the school administration and have a teacher sponsor willing to
supervise the group.
Regular Bus transportation departs the school at approximately 3:10. There is no late
bus service for students who participate in after school activities or sport. Students
will need to arrange pick up from school at 4:30 after their activity is over or find
their own transportation via taxi or metro line 10.
Shanghai Community International Schools provides a bus service to many parts
of Shanghai. The school reserves the right to refuse service to any part of the city,
which is impractical because of its location relative to other pick-up points. The
school also reserves the right to suspend or remove students from the bus
service should they not adhere to the rules.
A bus service registration form should be given to the Transportation Office at
least one week before the desired commencement of service. This time frame
also applies to changes of address for bus service. Every new address affects the
routes of several vans, and service cannot be started prior to this one-week
period. Registration and pick-up change requests are filled in the order of
payment made, and are subject to seat availability.
The Transportation Office can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In order to facilitate a timely transportation service, it is important that your
child is at the designated pick-up point at the designated time. The driver will
not wait after the scheduled pickup time as the driver has been instructed to
leave on schedule so that the others on the route are not late to school. If your
bus is often late or very early, please report this to the Transportation Office so
that the driver can be reminded to move along to the next house on schedule.
Please also check with the Transportation Office if there is any doubt about your
At times children may wish to ride home on their friend’s bus for a play date. In
such instances, parents must notify the Transportation Office and their child’s
classroom teacher at least a day in advance of such an arrangement taking place.
Any such request is contingent upon the availability of space and confirmation
from the Transportation Office. Students will not be allowed to board a bus that
is already fully loaded.
School Transportation Behavioral Guidelines
SCIS offers a bus service as an option for those who desire transport to and from
Parents are asked to review the safety rules governing the bus service before
their child starts their first day of school. Students who do not adhere to these
rules are subject to the consequences below or suspension from the bus if the
behavior is deemed severe enough by school administration.
Misconduct on the bus is reported to the school’s Transportation Coordinator
who refers the matter to school administration. In severe instances the parents
may be notified immediately and the student suspended from the bus.
Should your child have concerns about their experience on the bus, they should
talk to their classroom teacher so that the matter can be addressed. Where
necessary, school administrators may become involved to resolve problems or
Bus Safety Rules
Remain in your seat with the seat belt firmly fastened around your waist
Do not get up and move around the bus while it is moving
Do not do anything that might distract the driver. These actions include:
o Loud noises such as yelling, screaming, or the use of inappropriate
o Throwing items inside the bus or out the window
o Fighting and/or arguing with other students, the driver, or bus
o Turning around, standing or jumping on the seat
Music may not be played on the bus, either via the van’s radio / cassette,
or via your own device UNLESS it is a personal iPod - type appliance
which will not bother others
Windows stay closed at all times (unless there is a breakdown or the AC is
No purchase from or communication of any kind with street vendors or
other pedestrians is allowed
Keep the bus clean. Remove all rubbish from the area where you were
seated and throw it in the bin at the front of the bus
In order to minimize distraction to the driver, students are requested to
leave the front seats vacant unless there is no other seat available in the
rear. If no space is available, only older children can sit in the front, as
they are less likely to distract the driver. Younger students are required to
sit nearest to the bus monitor and the door of the bus
The bus driver’s primary responsibility is the safety of the passengers.
Children must be respectful towards and obey any requests made by the
driver and the bus monitor
If there is an accident or the van breaks down, students should listen for
instruction from the driver or monitor. If you are told to leave the van,
stay together with the other students as far from the road as possible
until a service vehicle and another van arrives
discussion with classroom teacher
bus rules are reviewed with the student
behavior is documented
parents are notified about the incident
loss of privileges (e.g. recess, free time, etc.)
student meeting with the Principal
parents are notified about the incident
a copy of the bus rules are sent home for the parents to review with their
one week suspension from the bus
a conference is scheduled with the student and his/ her parents
behavior is documented on the referral form
expulsion from the bus until further notice
Café & Cafeteria
In the Middle School, students have all day access to a café as well as the cafeteria.
They may go to the café during break, during lunch or after school. Unfortunately,
there is rarely enough time between classes to get a snack or drink. The cafeteria
comes as part of the school tuition, thus requiring no additional payment, whereas
the café requires students to pay. The cafeteria provides students with Western,
Asian, and Vegetarian entrée options and unlimited portions. They will also be
provided with a vegetable, some fruit, and salad. We also have the occasional
sandwich bar and added extras like yogurt. When they are done eating, students
may go outside and play on the soccer field or other common areas. No computers
are allowed open at lunchtime unless students are completing schoolwork!
Every March, students spend 5 days/4 nights with teachers and classmates outside
of school as part of the China Trips program. Each year they spend this time at an
exciting new destination somewhere in China to learn more about our host country,
local populations and the environment. This year there will be a specific focus on
embedding service learning and community give back opportunities for all students.
These are overnight trips and usually require air flights. School expectations will still
adhere to all students. More information will be provided as the date approaches.
It is important for parents and students to know and follow the dress code for
school. Below is an excerpt from the SCIS Student-Parent Handbook concerning the
Middle School students (Grades 6, 7 and 8) wear tan shorts, trousers, or
skirts and a navy blue polo shirt (short or long sleeved) with the SCIS
book logo and acronym. SCIS branded outerwear may be worn in cooler
weather with the standard uniform beneath.
All students wear laced shoes or sturdy sandals. Athletic shoes or
sneakers are acceptable. "Flip-flops", "thong" sandals, or other beach-
type footwear are not appropriate for school. Caps or hats in the
classroom are also inappropriate. All students are expected to be well
groomed and appropriately dressed at school or during school-related
functions off campus. Immodest or distracting attire is inappropriate in
our multi-cultural setting, and this can extend to haircuts, jewelry,
makeup, or other aspects of personal appearance. Skirts and shorts must
be at least approaching knee-length.
There are occasionally “free dress” or “Spirit Days” days on which
students are not required to wear the school uniform. These may occur
approximately once a month, usually in connection with a special
holiday or house competition event. On those days, students are
expected to wear shirts with sleeves (no tank top or halter top shirts)
and must look neat and presentable.
Students who do not have the proper school attire will be sent from their
class to the school office, where they can phone home to have proper
clothing sent to school.
PE Dress Code
When students attend PE classes at SCIS, they are expected to be dressed
appropriately for rigorous, physical exercise. All students are expected
to wear the SCIS issued PE top and shorts. Teacher permitting, SCIS
branded long-sleeves may be worn during cold weather as well as navy
or grey training paints. Close-toed athletic shoes are required. Sandals
and “dress” shoes are not considered appropriate for PE class. Students
will be able to change once they arrive in class and will be permitted to
change before leaving.
Yes, homework is different in Middle School. Mostly, there is more of it. All teachers
post daily and weekly assignments on iCal and Power School, and the students are
expected to keep track of these. We STRONGLY suggest that you check your Power
School account each day! There should be an assignment for most weeknights.
Long-term projects are also assigned throughout the year. Keep track of what is due,
and when. Even if you are good at time management, stay on top of when big
projects are due. Break the project down into parts, and get a little done each week.
The teachers in Middle School put a lot of responsibility on the students, and you
should try to help your child be organized and develop study skills.
You can also check the teachers’ websites (reached via the school website) for
additional information. If you are absent, this would be a good way to know what
Homework is a purposeful extension and consolidation of the day’s lesson and
important practice to prepare for the next class period. Therefore, it is of the utmost
importance that students complete all of their work within the time set by the
teacher. The following is the Middle School homework expectation:
Gr. 6 Gr. 7 Gr. 8
60 minutes of purposeful work 70 minutes of purposeful work used 80 minutes of purposeful work
used to consolidate and review to consolidate and review the day’s used to consolidate and review
the day’s lesson. lesson. the day’s lesson.
*No homework for homework’s * No homework for homework’s * No homework for homework’s
sake! sake! sake!
*Works out to no more than 15 * Works out to approximately 17 * Works out to no more than 20
minutes per class taken during minutes per class taken during the minutes per class taken during
the day for the average student. day for the average student. the day for the average student.
Projects and Assignments:
Projects and assignments are works that are completed over a series of class periods
and require more time and effort by the students. Therefore, these pieces are
weighted more heavily and have a larger affect on your grades. Therefore, it is at the
teacher’s discretion of how they will penalize late or complete work.
“Exams” is not a word that we use in our Middle School any longer. Students will
have many formative (on going and frequent regular check ins for learning) and
summative assessments throughout the semester, and some of them will be
deemed a FINAL (summative), but we will not be having a Middle School Exam week.
Teachers are expected to teach to our standards based Middle School curriculum
right up to the final day of each quarter so as to maximize the learning opportunities
for students. There is an assessment calendar for all faculty members to coordinate
the end of semester summative assessments so we can avoid students getting more
than 2 assessments in one day. This change in terminology is an attempt to lower
the high stakes nature and pressure of final “Exams”, and to give students more
regular and varied opportunities to showcase their learning.
The SCIS HQ Middle School House System is comprised of five houses. Most house
activities will be awarded points. The house with the most points at the end of the
year will be awarded the Jade Dragon! Students remain in that house for the
duration of their academic tenure at SCIS, and siblings are always together in the
same house. Our houses are:
Metal Dragons (Current holders of the coveted Jade Dragon trophy)
Five major objectives have been identified as end products of the house system. All
activities conducted under the house system label will:
1. Create a feeling of belonging
2. Promote inter-age, intercultural interactions
3. Be a positive school experience
4. Be non grade related
5. Be chosen in a way that all members of a house are seen as valued
participants with an opportunity for equal contribution
The purpose of the house system is to cement unity between all students, regardless
of grade, gender or culture, as part of the SCIS Middle School culture. Added
benefits to activities and challenges between houses are:
Common language usage
Ownership in the school/Creating school spirit
Finding an identity within a social group
Making new friends
Motivator for success
Fun – enjoying school
Leaving campus is never allowed for Middle School students unless they receive a
written note from the secretary or Principal. Parents must also be informed before a
student is authorized to depart for any reason.
Lockers & Locks
Why do I have to use a locker?
One change from the Lower School to the Upper School is that you will have your
very own locker. This is your area and you will not have to share it with anyone else.
It is important to use your locker daily for different reasons:
It will help you stay organized.
Everything you needed is located in one place.
There are a lot of steps to climb in school. You don’t want to do this with a
full heavy backpack.
There are no safe places to store backpacks in the classrooms.
This is your one personal space in school to decorate, as you like.
How to use a lock?
It is important to learn how to use your combination lock and to use it every day.
This will keep all of your materials safe. A lock ensures your privacy. Be sure you
keep your combination to yourself. If you lose it or forget, see Ms. Cindy in the
office or your Advisory teacher.
ENTERING YOUR COMBINATION (Example combination 38 – 16- 22)
STEP 1: Turn the dial three times to the right, and then stop when the first
number lines up with the indicator.
First Number: 38
STEP 2: Turn the dial ONE full turn to the left, passing the first number, and
stop when the second number lines up with the indicator.
Second Number: 16
STEP 3: Turn the dial to the right and stop when the third number lines up with
Third Number: 22
Pull the lock down to open the lock.
CONGRATULATIONS! YOU’VE OPENED YOUR LOCK!
Lost & Found
Has your child lost something? The lost and found is located outside of Middle
School office. Most likely it can be found there. Lost something expensive? Check
with the secretaries. They hold on to things like phones, iPods and money.
Eight Habits of Successful Middle School Students
1. Be Responsible and Know Yourself
When the word “responsibility” is broken down, the key words are “respond”
and “ability.” A successful person has the ability to respond to challenges.
Choose your own response to a difficult situation beforehand, rather than
wait for it to happen and not be prepared.
Begin by looking honestly at your personal strengths and weaknesses, and
determine your own sense of responsibility for your behavior and for your
family and friends.
2. Reflect Success
Have a clear picture of the kind of person you would like to become and the
types of goals that you want to achieve.
Identify a positive adult role model, who has achieved the same goals and
reflects the same success that you desire. You can imitate similar pathways to
Not every role model has to be a famous basketball player or movie actor.
Some of the best role models are in your own neighborhood, schools,
churches, and even your own home.
3. Aim Toward Your Goal
Put life, family, friends, and values in a good perspective.
To design a successful career, start by first identifying the end goal, and then
determine the steps necessary to obtain it.
Find a caring adult who will be able to help you put your plan into place one
step at a time.
4. Prioritize and Maximize
Now that you have a successful vision of yourself, you can begin prioritizing
your daily routine so that you are able to make the best use of your time and
Don’t get caught up in things that may take you away from your goal, such as
alcohol, drugs, or negative people.
Anything that does not benefit your vision of success does not benefit you.
Organize your work area and keep it free from distractions.
Improve your organizational skills by using a daily planner, a personal “To Do”
list, and a regular personal evaluation meeting with an adult or a mentor to
check your progress.
5. Be a Winner
Build relationships in which you and the other person both succeed. These
are called “win- win” partnerships.
These “win-win” partners should be friends whom you can call on for
support, tutoring, or for conversation that helps you stay on track.
Teachers, coaches, principals, and mentors could be partners who help you
Communication is the essential key to understanding.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and when answers are given be sure to
The cycle of communication is usually broken when you try to second-guess
what others are trying to say.
Try to understand the motivations and goals of others around you. This can
improve your communications and increase your network of positive
7. Connect to a Good Power Source
Having access to strong, positive partners will increase your ability to
8. Stop, Look, and Listen
Your world will continue to change and evolve, so be prepared to review,
reevaluate, and renew your goals.
Look at these changes not as disappointments, but as opportunities to
improve a realistic plan for your long-term success.
Preparing to Study. Finding A Good Place.
Where you study is often just as important as how you study. You need a good place
to be prepared to study. It should be the same place every time. Try following the
guidelines below to determine if your area is a good place to study. You should be
able to answer YES to all of the following questions:
Is my Study Place free from interruptions? It is important to have
uninterrupted study time. You may have to hang a DO NOT DISTURB sign on
Is my Study Place free from distractions? Research shows that most students
study best in a quiet environment. If you find that playing a stereo or TV
improves your mood, keep the volume low. Turn off your phone and
distracting web utilities like Facebook, Twitter or IM.
Does my Study Place contain all the study materials I need and is it
organized? Be sure your Study Place includes reference sources and supplies
such as pens and pencils, paper, ruler, calculator, and whatever else you
might need. If you use a computer for your schoolwork, it should be in your
Study Place, but only if you need it for schoolwork. Allow enough room for
writing and try to avoid clutter.
Is my Study Place comfortable? A place that is not comfortable can cause
discomfort or pain that will interfere with your studying. A place that is too
comfortable might make you sleepy. Select a place in which you can sit for
long periods while maintaining your attention.
Does my Study Place have enough light? The amount of light you need
depends on what you are doing. The important thing is that you can clearly
see what you need to see without any strain or discomfort.
Does my Study Place have a comfortable temperature? If your Study Place is
too warm, you might become sleepy. If it is too cold, your thinking may slow
down and become unclear. Select a temperature at which your mind and
body function best.
The Top Study Habits of Successful Students
Often your teachers tell you that you need to study for a test or quiz. You may not
have a clue how to get started. Successful students have good study habits like the
ones listed below. They apply these habits to all of their classes. Read about each
one and work to develop any study habit you do not have.
Try not to do too much studying at one time. If you try to do too much
studying at one time, you will tire and your studying will not be very
effective. Space the work you have to do over shorter periods of time.
Taking short breaks will restore your mental energy.
Plan specific times for studying. Study time is any time you are doing
something related to schoolwork. It can be completing assigned reading,
working on a paper or project, or studying for a test. Schedule specific
times throughout the week for your study time.
Try to study at the same times each day. Studying at the same times
each day establishes a routine that becomes a regular part of your life,
just like sleeping and eating. When a scheduled study time comes up
during the day, you will be mentally prepared to begin studying.
Set specific goals for study times. Goals will help you stay focused and
monitor your progress. Simply sitting down to study has little value. You
must be very clear about what you want to accomplish during your study
Start studying when planned. You may delay starting your studying
because you don't like an assignment or think it is too hard. A delay in
studying is called "procrastination." If you procrastinate for any reason,
you will find it difficult to get everything done when you need to. You
may rush to make up the time you wasted getting started, resulting in
careless work and errors.
Work on the work you find most difficult first. Your most difficult
assignment will require the most effort. Start with your most difficult
assignment since this is when you have the most mental energy.
Tell your friends not to call you during your study times. Two study
problems can occur if your friends call you during your study times. First,
your work is interrupted. It is not that easy to get back to what you were
doing. Second, your friends may talk about things that will distract you
from what you need to do
What Can I Do About Test Anxiety?
Have you ever sat down to take a test and your mind went totally blank? Does the
thought of taking a test make your heart race and palms sweat? If so, you may
suffer from test anxiety. Many people struggle with this. Here are some things you
can do before, during, and after a test to reduce your test anxiety.
Use good study techniques to gain cognitive mastery of the material that will
be covered on the test. This mastery will help you to approach the test with
confidence rather than have excessive anxiety.
Maintain a positive attitude as you study. Think about doing well, not failing.
Think of the test as an opportunity to show how much you have learned.
Go into the test well rested and well fed. Get enough sleep the night before
the test. Eat a light and nutritious meal before the test. Stay away from junk
Stay relaxed during the test. Taking slow, deep breaths can help. Focus on
positive self-statements such as "I can do this."
Follow a plan for taking the test. Don't panic even if you find the test
difficult. Stay with your plan!
Don't worry about other students finishing the test before you do. Take the
time that you need to do your best.
Once you finish the test and hand it in, forget about it temporarily. There is
nothing more you can do until the graded test is returned to you. Turn your
attention and effort to new assignments and tests.
When the graded test is returned to you, analyze it to see how you could
have done better. Learn from your mistakes and from what you did well.
Apply this knowledge when you take the next test.
Test Taking Strategies
You’ve done all of your studying and are ready to take on your test. What next?
Here are some helpful tips of things you can do when you are sitting face to face
with your assessment. Try some of these for an easier way to success on your next
test in any of your classes.
Bring at least two pens/pencils with good erasers, a calculator with enough
batteries and any other resources that your instructor allows you to.
Keep a positive attitude throughout the whole test and try to stay relaxed. If
you start to feel nervous take a few deep breaths to relax.
When you first receive your test, do a quick survey of the entire test so that
you know how to efficiently budget your time.
Do the easiest problems first. Don't stay on a problem that you are stuck on
especially when time is a factor.
Do the problems that have the greatest point values first.
Don't rush but pace yourself. Read the entire question and look for keywords.
Ask the instructor for clarification if you don't understand what they are
asking for on the test.
Write legibly. If the grader can't read what you wrote, they'll most likely mark
Always read the whole question carefully. Don't make assumptions about
what the question might be.
If you don't know an answer, skip it. Go on with the rest of the test and come
back to it later. Other parts of the test may have some information that will
help you out with that question.
If you have time left when you are finished, look over your test. Make sure
that you have answered all the questions, only change an answer if you
misread or misinterpreted the question because the first answer that you put
is usually the correct one. Watch out for careless mistakes and proofread
your essay and/or short answer questions.
Double check to make sure that you put your first and last name on the test.
One of the biggest challenges that many Middle School students face is organization.
You are suddenly responsible for so many new things, that you may not know how
to put together a system that helps your keep the right things in the right place so
you can access them at the right time. Below is a comprehensive list of strategies
that can help you stay organized.
Lockers and Books
The inside of the locker is your special place in middle school. How well you keep
your locker arranged and decorated is very important to you. The ultimate goal is to
be organized so that you will know where your things are and where to put things
away. You don’t want to lose homework and possibly suffer a lower grade because
you can’t find work to submit to your teachers, nor do you want to lose important
papers that need to be brought home to your parents. Below are great suggestions
for organizing from students like you. Read them all and think about which ideas will
work best for you.
• Color-code notebooks and book covers by subject area.
• Have a special folder or place for homework and for notes to parents. Carry
this folder to all classes and home every day.
• Place all books so that they are facing the same direction.
• Put books in chronological order as to when your classes occur.
• Keep your books and binders for the same class together so that they are easy
• Put A day items on one shelf and B day items on another.
• Rotate your books so that what you need is, for example, always on the left
side of the locker if storing books upright or always on the bottom of the shelf
if stacking books.
• As you finish a class, put the books, papers, and homework assignments you
need at home in your backpack. That way at the end of the day, you are
already packed to go home.
• Have 2 backpacks, one for A days and one for B days.
• Have a separate project folder to keep all your project information and papers
together in one place.
• Check each morning to be sure that you have pencils, pens, paper, and other
class supplies to take to your classes.
• Always keep extra pencils and pens in your locker.
• Keep all papers neatly in folders so they don’t get crinkled.
• Use a zippered binder to carry materials to classes so that items do not fall out.
• Anything you don’t need at school, take home immediately.
• Take home anything that you are not using; such as papers, jackets, or note
• Purchase a holder for pencils, colored pencils, glue sticks, and other small
necessary items. You might buy a magnetic holder to put on the inside of the
door or on the top shelf or a pencil bag with holes to put in your binder.
• Buy magnets to put things up on the inside of the locker door for decorating.
How Do I Remember Everything?
• Check assignments on iCal as soon as you get them. Look ahead to see what
assignments are coming up. If it is a big project, then break it down into parts
and make your own due dates for each part. Write them in your agenda to
keep you on schedule and to keep from procrastinating, leaving all of the work
until the last minute.
• At the end of every day read your agenda or check iCal before you leave the
locker area or during your last class to be sure you have what you need to
study or complete homework.
• Keep phone numbers of two people in each class so you can call them to get
information about homework assignments.
• Need help remembering important dates or events? Get a magnetic note pad
or dry erase board to hang on your locker door where you can write reminders.
• Check your grades on Power School every week.
Do I Need to Think About School When I am at Home? Ideas for Home
• Have a special place at home for your school items.
• Have a special place and time to do homework.
• Everyday, read the text that covers what the teacher went over that day.
• Put a list of what you need every day in a special place at home where you will
see it. Check the list at night so you are packed to go to school the next day.
Eventually, it becomes a habit and you won’t need the list except when you
have special items to remember, like a project or book report.
• Have a box at home to put your papers in when you clean out your folders,
binder, and/or locker.
• Pack your backpack in the evening so it is ready to go the next day.
• Put your backpack in a special place so you don’t forget it. Put it by the door
where you will see it on your way out.
Is There Anything Else I Should Know about Organizing? Tips for Anywhere at
• Plan to organize.
• Have a special place for everything and always put your things away. Always
keep things in the same place so you know where to look for them and where
to store them.
• Follow the same routine every day.
• If organizing, cleaning, doing a project, etc. seems overwhelming then break it
down into smaller parts.
• Relax, don’t rush between classes or run in the hallways; you are allotted
adequate time between classes. The first week of school, teachers are lenient
about tardiness so that you become accustomed to the routine.
In Middle School you will need to learn how to spend your time productively in order
to get all of your homework done, study for upcoming tests complete your home
chores, eat, sleep and still have a social life. It is important that none of these things
get neglected. Therefore, you are going to need to formulate a system that helps
you get the most out of your 24 hours.
PRIORITIZE. Write down all your tasks. Sort them into three groups: 1's, 2's,
and 3's. The 1's are essential: do them first. The lower level priorities can
WORK TIME. Decide how much time the task requires, and how much energy.
You may wish to include the task's priority level to help make this decision.
RELAX. Regularly plan time to relax and get it together. This time may range in
units of 10 minutes to whole days according to your needs. You've earned this
EXERCISE. Exercise is essential for superior academic performance. Your brain
would not function well if your body is tired. Stress reduces performance.
FLEXIBILITY. Allow extra time for Unforeseen Obstacles (UFO's) that are bound
to arise. Something almost always comes up to derail your efforts. Allow for it.
FLOATING TASKS. Floating tasks can be done anywhere, anytime. Carry around
a book that you need to read, some cards to review, etc.
“We get a Laptop? Cool!!!”
SCIS COMPUTER POLICY
With the advent of the one-to-one laptop program, computers have become a very
important and powerful tool for learning. However, by nature the laptops also can
become a major distraction in the classroom if used inappropriately. As such, it is
important for you to understand that use of your computer is not a right but a
privilege, and will only be allowed if the rules below are followed. Be sure that you
fully understand the SCIS Computer Policy.
A. All users are responsible for the physical condition of their laptop and should
work to avoid damage that will interrupt their ability to complete work on
Accidental damage can happen. SCIS has a representative from Apple on
campus to help analyze and repair minor problems.
B. Laptops should only be used in class when instructed to do so.
Upon issuance, it is expected that students will bring their computers with
them to class for every period. However, students should never have
computers out during class time unless specifically instructed by their teacher
to do so. To summarize: students should bring their laptops to class every
day, but should only use them if a teacher instructs them to.
C. Computers must be used appropriately during school hours
During class time, computers should only be used for the immediate learning
activities sanctioned by the teacher. Any use outside the given activity and
allowances of the teacher will be considered a violation of laptop policy.
Accordingly, as a general rule, the following uses are never permitted unless
given explicit prior approval by a teacher:
Social networking sites
Music and/or other audio
Photo booth and/or other screen capture
Obviously, there may be times in which the above programs or others like
them will be a component of classroom learning, in which case the teacher
will make this clear. However as a basic rule, policy is that during class time,
the only programs or windows open should be those directly relating to the
classroom content at hand.
D. Students must respect others’ privacy and property
Students must respect others’ property including work, files, passwords and
software. Each user is responsible for keeping their password secure and for
changing it as often as necessary. Users must not misrepresent themselves,
others or the SCIS via online communication. Lastly, students are not to use
the school network for streamed media or downloading as it degrades the
E. Consequences for laptop misuse
Any student using his/her laptop inappropriately (i.e. having the computer
out when unasked for, using programs during class time that are not directly
related to the lesson, etc) will have violated the policy. Violation of stated
policies will be disciplined as follows:
First offense: a warning is issued to the student
2nd and 3rd offense: the student will be told to close his/her computer
and keep it in their bag/out of sight for the remainder of the period.
At each offense, an email will be sent home to parents/guardians
explaining the nature of the violation and its consequences for the
student. A copy of the email will be sent to the Principal who will
record the number of times a student has been caught misusing the
Additional Offenses: the computer will be confiscated by
administration. Parents will be notified. The student may not receive
his/her computer until an administrator meets with the parents and
students to discuss the behavior and further consequences issued by
In the event of a confiscation for any length of time, any and all work missed
by a student during this time will be his/her personal responsibility to make
up in whatever fashion is deemed necessary. If a student loses access to
his/her laptop during a time in which it is required for class activity, there will
be alternative activities and/or methods used to achieve discipline while also
ensuring that learning objectives are met, as outlined by the teacher in each
As a final note, all students should be aware that any tampering of any kind
with someone’s computer, files, etc or participating in *cyber bullying is
considered an extremely serious offense, and will be disciplined accordingly
by staff and administration.
Consequences may include but are not limited to:
Engaging parental controls on the student’s computer
Loss of access to the school’s network
Complete loss of access to technology
Suspension or expulsion
Please understand that communication systems and use of the school’s
network is private. SCIS reserves the right to monitor any student at any
time without prior warning to ensure reliability, integrity, security, and
*Cyber bullying is defined by the Center for Safe and Responsible Use of the Internet as
“being cruel to others by sending or posting harmful material or engaging in other forms of
social cruelty using the Internet or other digital technologies. It has various forms, including
direct harassment and indirect activities that are intended to damage the reputation, or
interfere with the relationships of the student targeted, such as posting harmful material,
impersonating the person, disseminating personal information or images, or activities that
result in exclusion.”
Responsibilities and Ethics of Using Technology
At SCIS Middle School, you will receive what will most likely be your first ever laptop.
With this comes much more responsibility than you ever would have imagined. It
takes a lot of maturity in order to protect yourself and to properly use this amazing
tool. Your laptop can either be a blessing or a curse depending on how you use it. It
is important that you understand the following guidelines whenever you are using
Do onto others, as you'd have others do onto you. Be polite and courteous at all
times. Remember that you're not communicating with a computer screen, but with a
human being who has thoughts and feelings just like you. So, always think of the
person on the receiving end of your messages.
Remember that the written word is hard to interpret. When you speak to someone,
that person can hear the tone of your voice. If they can see you, they can take visual
clues from your face and body to better understand your meaning. All of this is lost
in text, and sometimes responses can come across as mean or rude, even when you
did not intend them this way. This is the reason some people use emoticons (visual
clues) in their e-mails; it saves a lot of confusion.
Be careful not to use rude or bad language online. After you press the send button,
you cannot bring it back. Whatever you write on a social website, such as Facebook,
in a text, or in an email cannot be brought back and deleted. Someone can keep this
permanently. This includes quotes from movies or songs. It is called your digital
Don't flame. Do not send rude or offensive emails or postings. It's bad manners and
can get seriously out of hand (flame wars). So don't flame others and if you are
flamed, do not respond: you will never win. If you are flamed in a forum or chat
room, or if you receive hateful e-mail or text, let your parents or teachers know as
soon as it happens the first time.
Don't break any laws. When you're on the net, follow the same rules of behavior
that you would in real life. Remember, if it is against the law in the real world, it is
against the law in cyberspace.
ALWAYS keep your passwords private. Passwords are intended to protect your
computer and your files. It's like giving the key to your house away! Don’t even give
it to your best friend. What if you have a fight? If they are angry, they can access
your private information to use against you.
Don’t answer messages that make you feel uncomfortable because they seem
improper, indecent, or threatening. TELL A GROWN-UP RIGHT AWAY.
Keep personal information private, such as your family's address, phone number,
credit card or calling card numbers, your school's name, or your picture. Talk to your
parents about what information is ok to tell people you know.
Know your friends. Be careful who you add as friends on email lists or social
networking sites. If you don’t know the person asking to be your friend, do not
accept them. It may feel like you are popular, but you have no idea who they are or
their intentions. Would you let a stranger look through your journal or go into your
bedroom to look around?
Don’t arrange to meet anyone you've met on the Internet, EVER! Some people on
the Internet lie about who they are, how old they are, and why they want to meet
you. Tell your parents or a teacher immediately if someone you have never met has
asked to meet with you.
Respect others’ property. Tampering with some else’s computer is not a game. It's a
crime and it's an invasion of privacy. Computers often contain sensitive information.
How would you feel if someone broke into a computer and changed your grades?
Trashed programs? Deleted your term paper?
Plagiarism isn’t worth the risk. With your new laptop, it is tempting to take the easy
road by copying and pasting material from the Internet to complete an assignment.
Don’t copy material that you find on the Internet and pretend that it's your own
work. It's the same as copying a book or magazine article and pretending that you
wrote it. It's easy to get caught. Remember, your teacher uses software to check
your work. You will get a zero. But worse, you won’t learn.
Put the laptop and cell phone away for a while. Your first, very own computer can
become as addictive as double fudge ice cream. Overusing it can become
dangerous. It is important that you don’t spend every minute of every day online.
Once you begin living through your computer, you stop experiencing real life. It is
healthy to set it aside and do something different, especially with family and/or
friends. Everything will still be there when you go back to it.
Things to remember about your e-mail account:
Check e-mail regularly... so you can respond quickly
Delete messages after you read them... frees up storage space for more
Don't send confidential information in your mail... others may be able to
Don't be hasty when you send... if you write a message when you're upset,
wait before you send it
Respect the privacy of others... don't share someone's email address without
Always fill in the subject box so people can see what the mail concerns
Don't send chain letters... they're as annoying on the internet as they are in
I Don’t Have Time To Eat Now…Healthy Eating Habits
Typical adolescent food habits include increased meal skipping, snacking,
consumption of fast foods, and dieting. These habits make you highly susceptible to
nutritional deficiencies such as a deficiency of calcium, vitamin A and iron. You are
beginning the journey into the adolescent years. If you are aware and can overcome
the pitfalls of improper eating habits, you will form a foundation to build a healthy
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and is considered the foundation of
healthy eating habits.
Studies show that eating breakfast is associated with the following:
Strength and endurance in the late morning
Improved physical performance
Increased alertness and attentiveness
Better performance on tests
Studies also document the following negative effects from not eating breakfast:
For people on a diet, studies show that skipping a meal does not help them lose
weight. In fact, skipping breakfast increases the chance of overeating later in the
day. Thus, people should not skip breakfast.
Healthy Guidelines for Eating Healthily at School and When Eating Out
Limit fried foods.
Choose a baked potato instead of French fries. If ordering butter and/or sour
cream, obtain it separately and use small portions.
Choose a salad instead of French fries with a hamburger.
Order salad dressings on the side. Dip the fork in the dressing and then
pickup some salad with it.
Limit foods with heavy sauces and high-fat cheese. Ask for lighter amounts or
for them to be served “on the side.”
Eat fewer pizzas with lots of meat. Instead choose plain cheese, or select
vegetables as toppings.
Choose frozen yogurt instead of ice cream.
Share a dessert with a friend instead of eating a whole one.
Order water with lime or lemon wedges instead of high-sugar drinks.
Do not add salt at the table.
Have fresh fruit for dessert.
Sleep Needs and School Performance
Often we see students drag themselves through the school’s front doors in the
morning barely able to keep their eyes open. Some are falling asleep in class.
Others are struggling to stay motivated to complete their work. These are all signs
of sleep deprivation. With access to instant messaging, games and the Internet at
their fingertips, sleep deprivation of adolescents has become an epidemic across the
Adolescents and teenagers need on average 9.25 hours of sleep per night.
Researchers have found that the average teen only receives 7.5 hours. That means
that these young adults have a sleep deficit of 10 hours by the end of the week.
Losing sleep disrupts the function of a part of your brain known as the prefrontal
cortex. The prefrontal cortex helps you to control your behavior, emotional
responses, and your ability to use logic to solve problems. Adolescence is a time
when this part of your brain is going through an important phase of development.
Not getting enough sleep at night can disrupt this development.
Effects of sleep deprivation on adolescents include, but are not limited to, the
Falling asleep in class
Difficulty paying attention
Getting into more trouble
Less control over behavior and emotions
More susceptible to illness
Studies have shown that going to bed earlier, waking up later, and more total sleep
are linked to higher grades.
Seven Sleep-Smart Tips for Teens
1. Sleep is food for the brain: Get enough of it, and get it when you need it. Even
mild sleepiness can hurt your performance -- from taking school exams to playing
sports. Lack of sleep can make you look tired and feel depressed, irritable, and
2. Keep consistency in mind: Establish a regular bedtime and wake time schedule,
and maintain it during weekends and school (or work) vacations. Don't stray from
your schedule frequently, and never do so for two or more consecutive nights. If you
must go off schedule, avoid delaying your bedtime by more than one hour, awaken
the next day within two hours of your regular schedule, and, if you are sleepy during
the day, take an early afternoon nap.
3. Learn how much sleep you need to function at your best. You should awaken
refreshed, not tired. Most adolescents need between 8.5 and 9.25 hours of sleep
each night. Know when you need to get up in the morning, then calculate when you
need to go to sleep to get at least 8.5 hours of sleep a night.
4. Get into bright light as soon as possible in the morning, but avoid it in the
evening. The light helps to signal to the brain when it should wakeup and when it
should prepare to sleep.
5. Understand your circadian rhythm. Then, you can try to maximize your schedule
throughout the day according to your internal clock.
6. After lunch (or after noon), stay away from coffee, colas with caffeine, and energy
drinks, which are all stimulants.
7. Relax before going to bed. Avoid heavy reading, studying, and computer games
within one hour of going to bed. Don't fall asleep with the television on -- flickering
light and stimulating content can inhibit restful sleep. You will need to plan time to
"chill out" before going to sleep.
Manners and etiquette are about knowing what it takes to feel comfortable in
unfamiliar situations and behaving in a way to make others feel comfortable, too.
Knowing a little something about proper etiquette and good manners makes it
easier to be around others, and it makes others want to be around YOU! The
following sampling of proper etiquette is NOT meant to be a complete list or even
the most important things for you to know. This is, however, a good place to start.
Young people should know the importance of showing respect, and, therefore,
should do the following:
Do not interrupt others while they are talking, but wait until there is a pause
to say what he or she wants to say.
Offer to serve as “an extra pair of arms and legs”: “Would you like me to
reach that for you?” “Excuse me, but you dropped your gloves.”
Realize that in public places (in the mall, at the movies, on the bus, on the
street) it is rude to make a lot of noise with friends. That upsets other people.
Never yell at others inside.
Remove hat or cap when entering a home, school, or any public building.
Speak when spoken to, and don’t maintain a sullen silence.
Show respect at all times. Respect for parents, grandparents, teachers,
and anyone else in position of authority should be instinctive.
Say “thank you” whenever anyone steps back to allow you through or holds a
door for you. Do the same for them.
Say, “Excuse me” if you accidentally brush against anyone.
Do not litter on the street, schoolyard, or ANYWHERE!
Respect our environment.
Sadly, bullies are common to every middle school in the world. Some are worse than
others. Part of life at your age is dealing with bullies and having to deal with these
problems on your own. There are things that you can do to minimize the negative
influence bullies have on your life.
Pay attention to your reactions. Often you will feel fear or anger when other
kids pick on you. It is important to recognize your feelings as normal so you
don’t overreact. When dealing with bullies, the trick is not to get “rattled.”
Realize, first of all, that they are the ones with the problem, not you. People
who like themselves don’t need to make fun of others to feel OK. Bullies are
often upset about something and want you to feel as bad as them. Or, they
are trying to gain power over you because they are powerless in other parts
of their life. Keep this in mind. Be yourself and be proud of who you are.
Walk away when you can. This is the best way to avoid a situation that can
escalate into an intense argument or fight.
Talk with a teacher, counselor or administrator. It is important to let
someone know when you are having difficulty with any other student at
school. They can sensitize other adults at school to be your allies before
Talk to your parents. Parents can help you think through ways to avoid
situations where you feel unsafe and can work together with your school to
ensure your safety.
Spend time in groups where you feel safe. Stay with friends when you walk in
the halls, eat lunch, or go to your bus stop. It is more difficult for bullies to
pick on you when you are in the security of a group of friends.
*Bullying is bottom line behavior and will not be tolerated in any way, shape or
form at our Middle School. Bullying behavior will be dealt with swiftly and sternly
as we look to protect our students and keep them physically and emotionally safe.
Negative Peer Groups
Kids your age often like to experiment with different friend groups as they try to
figure out where they fit in. Sometimes the “cool” group that you are eager to join
doesn’t share the same values as you do. It can be tempting to follow the pressures
of these groups to fit in and be popular. But, if you aren’t careful, you can gain a bad
name for yourself.
Why Preteens Join Negative Peer Groups
Need to belong, looking for a “family,” feel complimented when being invited
Feel as if parents and most adults don’t care
Think it’s cool, exciting, and fun
Want to feel protected by gang in their neighborhood and elsewhere
Fear of their peers
Feel unloved, bad about themselves, and bad about their academic ability
Need to feel important, powerful, and accepted
Lack trust in adults, but believe that their gang would never harm them
Think they’ll find acceptance, respect, and safety
Feel powerless to achieve desired life style through education
Feel resentful toward family and school
How to Avoid Negative Peer Groups
Choose positive people to be around.
Be selective about your friends.
Don’t hang around troublemakers or the places where they hang out.
Know yourself. Know what you believe is right and wrong.
Don’t put yourself in a situation or environment where you will be pressured
to join in.
Find some adults you trust, and talk to them about your unhappy feelings and
what can be done to help.
Peers can have a positive influence on each other. Maybe another student in your
science class taught you an easy way to remember the planets in the solar system, or
someone on the soccer team taught you a cool trick with the ball. Sometimes peers
influence each other in negative ways. For example, your soccer friend might try to
convince you to be mean to another player and never pass her the ball. Peer
pressure will be all around you in Middle School. Know the facts to help deal with it.
Why Do Peers Pressure You?
They are insecure about what they are doing and feel it is ok if others are doing
it as well.
They know it is wrong and want confirmation from others.
Trying to impress another “friend”.
Unsure how to create positive relationships with friends.
Getting others to do what they want is a way of gaining power in a
Ultimately, doing things together creates bonds; you need to decide if this is a
good or bad thing.
• Would I do this on my own, or am I doing it to please my friend?
• Is it something that is wrong to do?
• How will I feel if I do it?
• Will I feel guilty that I did the wrong thing?
• How would I feel if I was at the receiving end?
Why Do Some People Give In To Peer Pressure?
Some kids give in to peer pressure because they want to be liked, to fit in, or
because they worry that other kids may make fun of them if they don't go along with
the group. Others may go along because they are curious to try something new that
others are doing. The idea that "everyone's doing it" may influence some kids to
leave their better judgment, or their common sense, behind.
Strategies for Dealing With Peer Pressure
Just say “No!” Keep on saying it.
Leave, so that you can’t be persuaded
Pretend you haven’t heard and walk away
Make an excuse. “Sorry, got to get going to class…”
Talk about something else that they are interested and don’t let them change
the subject back
Laugh or use humor to turn them down
Pretend to be shocked
Use your parents or teacher as an excuse (they won’t mind…we promise)
Whatever you do, speak quickly and firmly. Make it clear that your mind is made
up and you don't want to talk about it any more.
Well, there you have it. Hopefully this document shed some light on what
you can expect as you begin or continue your Middle School Journey at SCIS
HQ. Our MS handbook is a living document and will be added to and updated
when necessary over the next few years as we settle into who we are as a
specific division and culture. I welcome any input or suggestions that will add
to and aid in the communication process, as we aim to be as open and
transparent as possible with regards to our students’ education and
Once again, I look forward to the opportunity that we have this year to begin
something truly special, as we carve out and create a Middle school that is
committed to our kids, our community and the learning of each student.
Middle School Rocks!