The Choices We Make in Middle School
By Margaret Askelsen
All of us know that the choices we make in life influence the
outcomes! Clarion-Goldfield Middle School data proves this point
concerning important choices students make, like doing homework,
participating in extra-curricular activities, participation in music and
coming to school each day. Data was used from the 2010-2011 school
year. All data reflects CGMS students currently in 7th and 8th grade. Our data proves that positive choices influence scores.
Students who attended school the most days had the highest grade
point averages. We all agree that students who are truly sick should not
attend school and spread disease to others. We also agree that washing
hands frequently is the best way to prevent the spread of organisms that
cause illness. Nevertheless, regularly attending school is the best way
to insure your child’s future.
Students live busy lives today and the controversy of homework
remains, but our data is conclusive. Students who complete homework on a
regular basis have the highest ITBS scores and the highest grade point
averages. Homework is simply an important extension of in-school
opportunities to learn and it makes a difference in the success of
Research continues to be done on the effects of music on learning.
Perhaps music simply helps students relieve stress, which can affect
learning, or maybe it helps a child develop more confidence, or helps
sharpen a child’s memory. We don’t know the reason but, once again,
students involved in music scored higher on core total national
percentile ranking on Iowa Tests of Basic Skills.
To determine if participation in activities, including Peer Helper,
4-H, scouts, and sports made a difference in grade point and Iowa Tests
of Basic Skills, a questionnaire was given to all current 8th
grade students. Results showed that participation in more activities
improved academic performance on both grade point averages and Iowa
Tests of Basic Skills scores.
This information can guide and direct us as parents and teachers.
As parents and teachers we can make sure our students are getting
homework completed each day and that adequate support, such as the
Connections program, is being utilized. We can make sure students are in
school and are not missing school for things that can be done at some
other time. We can encourage music in our students’ lives and provide
students with opportunities to play instruments by looking in our
closets and pulling out old instruments and donating them to our school
so that everyone has equal opportunity to learn to play instruments. We
can encourage our children to participate and get active in life. Not
everyone wants to be an athlete but many other opportunities await
students such as, 4- H, scouts, Peer Helper, as well as numerous other
religion based activities. Our students and our children’s choices do
make a difference. Let’s all help them to be the best they can be!!!