Tips for Being Successful at Sanford Middle School


1.            Be at School-Everyday & On Time.  Attendance Matters!

To do well in school you need good attendance.  When you miss class you miss teachers' lessons, notes, classroom discussions, instructions on how to complete homework, quizzes, and tests.  If you are absent from school, you are responsible to find out what you missed, complete make up work and arrange make up quizzes & tests.  We recommend to check your teachers' SAM, ask your classmates, check in with your teacher before or after class to find out your missing work and to complete it.  We also recommend staying for afterschool Homework Help to do make up work.  Being absent creates a lot of extra work & time, that's why it's important to attend school every day.


2.            Use Your SAM (Sanford Assignment Manual)

What do I have for homework?  When is it due? The SAM is a very important organizational tool to keep track of homework and what happened in each class on a daily basis.  Writing in your SAM for each class will help answer these questions and keep you on track so you get in the good habit of completing and turning in homework on time.  It's also a great method to organize your time and any upcoming assignments you need to plan for.


3.            Be Organized with your Materials & Time

Where is my homework? What do I have to do afterschool today? Being organized with your materials means you can find any of your materials when you need to.   Being organized with your time means you know your daily activities, can plan ahead and do not get stressed with not having enough time to do things.


We recommend the following proven strategies for the organization of materials:  

  • Have a notebook & folder for each class-Keep your notes & loose papers for each class together
  • Have a 3 hole pencil case, with LOTS of pencils ready to use
  • Have a 3" binder to carry your school supplies ready for each class: SAM, pencil case with pencils, notebooks & folders
  • Have a folder just for homework- Homework Folder.  Inside the folder, label one pocket for homework TO DO, the other for homework COMPLETED, TURN IN.  This will help organize what you need to do each day and have your homework ready to turn in when it's due.
  • Clean & organize your binder, backpack and locker at least once a week.


We recommend the following proven strategies of how to organize your time in middle school:

  • Have a family calendar at home to mark upcoming events
  • Write in and use your SAM to track your before-school activities, after-school activities, club meetings, sports games & practices, appointments, and upcoming events. 
  • Have too many activities?  Review your activities, prioritize and eliminate
  • Use any extra time in school to get started on homework
  • Set a time & place to do homework on a daily basis.  
  • Break large assignments down into smaller parts    
  • Study for tests ahead of time
  • Get things organized for the next day before you to go bed


4.            Get to Know & Communicate with your Teachers

In middle school you will have a teacher for each class.  No two teachers are the same.   It will be important to get to know each teacher's expectations, classroom rules, homework policies and ways to communicate with them.  Your teachers are there for you.  They want you to learn and be successful.  It will be important to let your teachers know when you do not understand something and ask questions.


5.           Attend Homework Help

Need help from your teachers to complete your homework or just want a time & place to do homework at school?  Homework Help is afterschool every Tuesdays & Thursdays 4:00-5:30 pm.  It is with a team teacher and is a great way to get homework done and get help from your teacher if you need it.  It is part of our ALC programming and you can sign up and attend at anytime during the year.  Sign up with a friend and attend!


 6.          Be Involved

Middle School is the place to try out new things and find out your interests.  Sanford offers many before & afterschool activities, clubs and sports to get involved in.  There are also many programs outside of school that can fit your interests.  Being involved offers many benefits: spending time with friends, meeting new friends, learning about your interests, learning new skills, relieving stress, become a good team player & leader, and have fun!

Sanford offers the following activities: Student Council, Fall Girls Volleyball, Fall Boys Football, Winter Boys & Girls Basketball, Spring Girls Softball, Spring Boys Baseball, Project SUCCESS plays, school plays, Yearbook, Jazz Band, ALC (afterschool & before school programming).


7.          Set Goals

What do you want to accomplish?  Goals give us direction on where we want to go and how we are going to get there.    Goal setting is an important skill for people of all ages.  Get into the practice of setting goals, working towards them, reviewing your progress and celebrating accomplishments. 

How to Set Goals & Achieve them:

  • Goals should be SPECIFIC-  "I want to get a B in math this quarter" instead of " I want to get better grades"
  • Goals should be MEASUREABLE- " I want to have less than 5 missing assignments by my next progress report" instead of "I want fewer missing assignments"
  • Goals should be REALISTIC- " I want to get two C's this quarter when I usually get all D's."  instead of "I want to get all A's this quarter when I usually get all D's."
  • Set short term goals- goals that you want to accomplish in days or weeks.  "I want to get at least a 90% on my math quiz this week"
  • Set long term goals-goals that you want to accomplish in months or years.  "I want to be on the honor roll this year".
  • Set academic & personal goals.  Academic goals are goals relating to school: grades, homework, tests, quizzes, honor roll, etc.   Personal goals are goals relating to anything outside of school: clubs, sports, fitness, earning money, etc.
  • Write down your goals & make a plan to accomplish it.  Break your plan into steps (1st, 2nd, 3rd).  Put your goal and plan somewhere you can see it every day to remind you.  Tell others about your goals, they may have advice or ways to help.


8.           Be Resourceful

 Who can you go to?  Who do you ask?  How do you get the information & materials that you need? Middle School has many staff and services for students & families.  It can be a hard place to navigate. Being a middle school student means getting ready for high school and the real world.  An important skill you will need is how to be resourceful.  Being resourceful means you have you the ability to ask questions and knowledge of who to go to for what you need.  It doesn't mean that you know everything, but that you take the risk to ask and learn.

Sanford Middle School has many people to go to: teachers, deans, assistant principals, principal, counselor, social worker, nurse, health assistant, translators, parent liaison, coaches, main office staff and more.  All are happy to help you get what you need.  Don't forget you also have your parents and other students you can ask.  Learn the resources around you and utilize them!


9.           Make Good Decisions

Each day we make many decisions.  When we make good decisions we get rewards.  When we make bad decisions we must accept the consequences.  In middle school you will have more independence, more freedom and more decisions.  It is important to know that you are responsible for your decisions, good or bad.

It is good practice to follow the Decision-Making Steps when making decisions:

                       1. What are your choices?  Write down all your choices.

                        2. What are the outcomes for each choice?  Write down all the positives & negatives                     

                            for each choice.

                        3. Are you missing any information?  Ask & get all the information you need to

                            make a decision.

                        4. What is the best choice for you?  Review your choices and make your decision.


*Information Based off of the book by Linda O'Brien, Getting the Most Out of Middle School.  Woodburn Press. 2012 Edition.