As you begin to think about choosing a middle school you may want to think more broadly than you did when your child entered elementary school. Depending upon your style and your time, the process to select a middle school can begin as early as 4th grade. But no matter how much preliminary research you choose to do, the actual process for selecting a middle school begins in the early Fall of your child's last year in elementary school.
Attend Open House events and take tours at the middle schools that interest you most. You should choose the schools to which you want to apply, after consultation with school support staff.
Applications are usually distributed in the Fall of the preceding year. If you are exploring middle schools in school districts other than the one in which your child currently attends school, call the appropriate District Office in early Fall to ask for an application and list of deadlines. Be sure to submit your application on time and ask when decisions are made, as well as how and when you will be informed about your child's acceptance to a school.
When you receive an application, you will rank all possible schools for which your child is eligible and interested in attending. Individual schools have different criteria that are reviewed when assessing the student-school match including the student’s school report, test scores, attendance, and teacher recommendations. In addition, a number of schools meet with and screen students with a school-developed assessment and student interview. This assessment and screening process typically takes place during January and February.
There are instances when a student does not receive an offer to attend one of the schools ranked on his or her middle school application. In these cases, the student will receive a placement in either:
- the district where the student attends public elementary school; or
- the district in which the student is zoned to attend middle school.
Additionally, the elementary school guidance counselor can be engaged to advocate on the child's behalf to seek placement in one of the schools on their list.