What You'll Learn From a Middle School Syllabus

A school syllabus can help your tween, and you, prepare for the school year

A school syllabus will give you important information about the class.
Photo: Lhys, freeimages.com

A child who is in middle school has a lot of responsibilities, including homework, project planning, and more. The workload will likely be considerably more than it was in elementary school. One way parents can help their tweens stay on top of their studies is to familiarize themselves with the middle school syllabus sheets that children bring home. Understanding the syllabus will help your child make the most of the classroom experience, which can allow your child adjust to middle school, stay confident in their abilities, and thrive as a student.

Normally, the syllabus is handed out at the beginning of the course, so that students and parents know what to expect from the class and the teacher. A syllabus will offer up a great deal of information about your child's class, teacher, and personal responsibilities. Here's what you'll learn by reading the syllabus sheets your tween brings home.

The Middle School Syllabus

  • Class Objectives: Somewhere at the top of the syllabus will be information on the class objectives. The teacher may include information on the topics your child will study, and the concepts they will learn by the end of the course.
  • Teacher Contact Information: Every class syllabus should contain at the very top contact information for the teachers. The classroom number, day and time of the class should be listed, as well as the teacher email or contact phone number. Some teachers may include information on when it's easiest to catch them to ask questions or raise concerns. If the syllabus does not include contact information, it's fine to ask they would like to be contacted by students and/or parents.
  • Class Supply List: Any class materials that your child needs to supply will be included on the syllabus. For example, your child may need to supply two notebooks, a thumb drive, two or three highlighters, and other supplies. Optional supplies may also be listed on the syllabus. Textbooks or other required reading that you are responsible for providing will also be listed on the syllabus.
  • Homework Requirements or Assignments: Many teachers will use the syllabus to outline homework assignments, and note tests or project due dates. These dates may be adjusted, but they will give you an idea of what will be expected, which is helpful when planning activities or other commitments.
  • Participation: Many teachers will also state on the syllabus that students are required to participate in class, and may even specify how they want students to contribute. In addition to being prepared for class, students may be required to lead discussions, ask and answer questions, or participate with groups or partners.
  • The Grading Scale: The class grading scale is usually included on the syllabus. The teacher may also explain if they will grade on a curve, or offer extra credit to those who need to bring their grades up. In addition to the grading scale, the syllabus will outline how the final grade will be determined. For example, homework may make up 10 percent of the final grade, while quizzes will account for 40 percent, and tests for 50 percent.
  • Class Rules and Expectations: Just about every middle school syllabus will include information on class rules and student requirements. For example, a teacher may state that there will be no gum chewing or eating while in class, and that cell phones must be turned off, or risk confiscation. Student expectations will also be spelled out. Teachers will clearly state that students must come to class prepared and ready to learn. In addition, the syllabus may include information on how your child is to treat other students as well as the teacher, and identify behaviors that will not be tolerated while in class.
  • Interims and Final Grades: Finally, the course syllabus will specify when interims and final grades will be submitted, and may also contain information on whether or not students can exempt out of exams.
1 Source
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  1. Garbacz SA, Zerr AA, Dishion TJ, Seeley JR, Stormshak EA. Parent Educational Involvement in Middle School: Longitudinal Influences on Student Outcomes. J Early Adolesc. 2018;38(5):629-660. doi:10.1177/0272431616687670

By Jennifer O'Donnell
Jennifer O'Donnell holds a BA in English and has training in specific areas regarding tweens, covering parenting for over 8 years.