A student walking up stairs

Category : Open Enrollment

Transitioning from Elementary School to Middle School – What’s Different About Middle School?

Monday , June 10 , 2019

We’ve all been there, the awkward years of middle school. Now, it’s time for your child to make the transition from elementary school to middle school. It’s important to remember that middle school is an exciting time for students to gain some independence and to branch out personally to explore and discover their interests.

So, what are the differences between elementary school and middle school?

Student Body

In middle school, the student body is typically larger than in elementary school. Students will most likely have some of their classes with friends and classmates they already know. Because a few elementary schools feed into one middle school, students will be able to establish new friendships with others who may have different interests.


No longer are subjects taught by the same teacher. Students in middle schools receive a schedule of classes and are on a bell schedule. When the bell rings, they will move from class to class throughout the day. Most importantly, middle school students get to learn subjects taught by a variety of teachers with different teaching styles.

Guidance Counselors

Guidance counselors provide so much for students and parents. From academic support to career awareness to coping strategies and goal setting, counselors are there to support and guide students throughout their middle school years.

Media Centers

Middle schools typically have bigger and better media centers than elementary schools. Students will have access to a larger selection of books, resource materials and more computers.

Electives = Choices!

In addition to the core curriculum that is offered, students can choose the electives they want to take. Electives will vary from school to school but may include foreign language, band, strings, art, chorus, drama, coding and culinary arts.

More Homework

Since middle school prepares students for high school, there will undoubtedly be more homework than what was given in elementary school. Homework assignments may include writing a research paper for history class or creating a diorama for science class. Since research projects will require more time to complete, help schedule enough time in the evenings and on weekends to work on the projects.


Typically in elementary school students receive grades of Excellent, Satisfactory, Performing and so on. In middle school, students are graded using the traditional A through F grading scale. Students will most likely be given a syllabus for each class that outlines the expectations and the grading policy.

Recess is Out

Gone are the days of having a recess, which elementary students enjoyed either before or after lunch. Since students are on a schedule throughout the day, they may have a study hall where they can catch up on some reading or get a head start on homework.


Middle school students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of sports regardless of their athletic experience or ability. Boys' sports include basketball, track, passing-league football and wrestling. Girls' sports include softball, track, volleyball and basketball. These sports programs are fee-based, and physicals are not required.


Many middle schools have active clubs that your child can join. Encourage your child to join at least one club that is offered on his or her campus. Your child will be able to make new friends with similar interests.

With a challenging and robust curriculum, an array of premier programs, gifted program, special education, electives, athletics and more, PVSchools offers quality education choices for every journey from preschool through 12th grade. Enrolling now! Learn more at pvschools.net/open.