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Grade 8 Parents and Families

In grade 8, your child is about to make the jump to high school, so now is the time to make sure he or she is prepared. Following are some ways you can help your child stay on track:

  • Talk with your child about expectations for high school. How will it be the same — or different — from middle school? 
  • If there is a summer bridge program at your school between grades 8 and 9, be sure your child participates. This program will help your child know what to expect in high school.
  • Have high expectations. Make it clear that schoolwork and good grades are important. Let teachers and counselors know that you expect your child to go to college and ask for their advice and support.
  • Make sure your child enrolls in the courses he or she needs to be on track for high school. Talk to your child and his or her school counselor about the courses your child will take in grade 9. Remind your child that most colleges require students to have more than the minimum number of courses required to graduate from a DC high school, so enrolling in challenging courses is important.
  • Check that your child is doing his or her homework, and provide a quiet place for your child to study.
  • Check your child's grades and talk to teachers to make sure that your child’s skills are on track. If he or she is behind, talk with the school counselor, teachers, or college access provider to make sure your child gets the help he or she needs.
  • Encourage your child to participate in additional academic programs before and after school and in the summer. If your child is struggling, these programs can help him or her catch up. If not, they can give your child a headstart on planning for college.
  • Help your child explore colleges and collect information about schools he or she is interested in. Check colleges' Web sites to find out what they expect from their applicants: high school courses, grade point averages, SAT/ACT scores, extracurriculars, etc. Make sure that your child is on track to meet these expectations.
  • Encourage your child to research careers related to his or her interests. Help him or her find out what colleges specialize in those fields and what it takes to get into those colleges.
  • Encourage your child to volunteer in community service and extracurricular activities to explore his or her interests and increase the chances that he or she will be eligible for scholarships.
  • Ask the school counselor about programs, such as TRIO Upward Bound, that provide underserved children with support and skills to prepare for college. Find out where these programs are offered in DC and how to enroll your child.
  • Contribute to a DC College 529 Savings Plan. The earlier you start, the more your savings will grow! (See additional tips to help pay for college.)
  • Get involved in school by volunteering, participating in parent-teacher organizations, and attending school events. Your involvement will have a big impact on your child's education.

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Rosalind's daughter, a Hyde Leadership grad, is going to Jarvis Christian College ... view video (1:42)


Even if your child says things are "fine" at school, you should still check grades and talk to teachers.