Supporting Young Adolescents

The Regents Policy Statement on Middle-Level Education (2003) provides guidance by way of seven important components for middle schools and programs focused on standards. The focus for middle level schools, apart from educational and intellectual development, is to assist students through their adolescent years, wherein they experience physical, emotional and social changes, and help to make that transition as easy as possible by providing constructive and encouraging support.

The statement also purports that parents, families, schools and communities need to work together in order to provide the best guidance and support for students who have to deal with the changing society in which they live, and that all must take equal accountability for student outcomes.

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The revised 2003 version of ‘Essential elements of standards-focused middle-level schools and programs’ document founded by the New York State Education Department and other associations and reforms, expounds two matched, balanced and intertwined objectives for middle level schools and programs focused on standards; the objectives are to ensure “the intellectual development and academic achievement of all students, and the personal and social development of each student” (p. 1).

The seven crucial factors include a philosophy and mission, an educational program, an organization and structure, classroom instruction, educational leadership, academic and personal support, and staff development that all lead and assist in the support and development of middle school students. As educators we must take into account that middle school student have to cope with a multitude of changes to their body and mind, and if we are to help them succeed through their middle school education we must understand, acknowledge and adhere to their specific and individual needs.