March is Middle Level Education Month
Join us in being a champion for middle level education! We know that young adolescents are special. And that’s why the month of March is devoted to celebrating the wonderful things that happen each and every day in middle level education.
This year, our theme is The Empowered Student because we know that schools are successful when they put what’s best for kids at the heart of all decision making. To amplify the voices of students, AMLE is holding a Student Sound Off open to any student aged 10-15. You’ll also find here talking points and resources to use in your classroom and on social media to raise awareness of the importance of middle level education and the unique nature of the young adolescent student.
The Middle Level Education Month Student Sound Off
What’s it REALLY like being a middle schooler in 2023?
Middle schoolers are amazing humans. Their educators and caregivers have the privilege of watching them develop physically, socially, emotionally, and cognitively as they discover new vistas, form new relationships, and explore their developing identity. We have so much to benefit from knowing and understanding students’ perspectives on themselves, their education, and the world around them.
This year for Middle Level Education Month, we’re centering the voices of our students. There is a lot of talk about how education should look these days, and not nearly enough of that is coming from students themselves. We encourage all 10-15 year olds to tap into their creativity and help the adults in their lives understand what it’s really like to be a middle schooler today.
AMLE will select student Sound Off entries to be displayed at/included in the #AMLE50 Annual Conference program. Entries will be evaluated by a panel of adult and student reviewers based on four categories: relevance to the theme, effectiveness/overall appearance in the selected medium, originality/creativity, and clarity of message.
Students can Sound Off on their middle school experience, and can consider these prompts for inspiration:
- Being a middle schooler is like…
- I feel happiest when…
- I feel safest at school when…
- I wish the adults in my life better understood….
- Something that really matters to me is…
- One of the biggest challenges or opportunities of being a middle schooler today is…
How to Sound Off
We know that each middle schooler is unique, with different interests, talents, and ways of expressing themselves. Students can submit in the format that most appeals to them. This might include, as just a few examples:
- Through a piece of artwork or photograph
- Through an essay or poem
- Through a video or song
With their parent/guardians’ consent, students can submit their Sound Off by completing the registration form, including an upload or link to their submission. The student must provide the name and contact information for a teacher who supports their entry. The student, teacher, and parent should review the contest disclaimers before submitting.
Submissions are due by April 7, 2023 at 11:59 pm. No late submissions will be considered. There is no fee to enter this competition. Only one submission per student.
- First prize will receive $250 Amazon gift card, a plaque acknowledging their accomplishment, and recognition on AMLE’s website.
- The remaining top 5 finalists will receive $100 Amazon gift card each, a plaque acknowledging their accomplishment, and recognition on AMLE’s website.
- All other students selected to have their entries displayed at #AMLE50 will also receive a $20 Amazon gift card.
- All participating students will receive a certificate of participation.
Why Middle Level Education Month?
Did you know that 10-15 year-olds are experiencing the most rapid, significant changes of their lives other than from birth to age 3? They are developing physically, socially, emotionally, and cognitively as they discover new vistas, form relationships with peers and adults, and explore their developing identity. As educators and parents, we have the tremendous opportunity to help support them as they form the attitudes, values, and dispositions that will form who they become as adults. The research tells us that young adolescents thrive when they are provided with learning environments that are:
Using the distinctive nature and identities of young adolescents as the foundation upon which all decisions about school are made.
Cultivating high expectations and advancing learning for every member of the school community.
Facilitating environments in which students take responsibility for their own learning and contribute positively to the world around them.
Providing socially just learning opportunities and environments for every student.
Fostering a learning atmosphere that is relevant, participatory, and motivating for all learners.
Be sure to use #MLEM in your posts and follow AMLE on Twitter and Facebook to participate in activities throughout the month. And share your own positive stories about your school/students/children that highlight what makes the middle grades so special. You can also request laptop stickers for your team by emailing email@example.com and we’ll mail them to members free of charge.
Social Media Images
Be sure to use #MLEM in your posts and follow AMLE on Twitter and Facebook to participate in activities throughout the month. And share your own positive stories about your school/students/children that highlight what makes the middle grades so special. You can also request Middle School Strong laptop stickers for your team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll mail them to members free of charge.
Take the Pledge
Share your convictions! Let your students know you that you have proudly dedicated yourself to being an active advocate for all young adolescents. Take the “This I Believe” pledge and post it in your classroom.
Be an Advocate
Be a courageous advocate for middle level education and young adolescents! We know that educators advocate for young adolescents just by showing up for them each and every day in their schools. Take #MLEM as an opportunity to ensure that every student in your school has a trusted adult advocate who helps guide their academic and personal development. Want to expand beyond your classroom walls? Engage your district and city leadership by telling the story of your school and what makes your students special. Help your community understand what an asset your students can be.
Other Ways to Expand and Share your Middle Level Education Knowledge
We know that middle level educators are lifelong learners. Take this month as an opportunity to learn something new about the middle grades. Here are just a few ways to get started:
- Read a new article about middle level education. You can get started with Middle School Journal, Research in Middle Level Education Online, or AMLE.org. Share what you learned on social media or with a colleague.
- Explore the essential attributes and characteristics of successful middle grades schools.
- Lead a book study of The Successful Middle School: This We Believe at your school.
- Educate your parents on what makes these year so special for their children and offer tips on how they can support them. Need some back-up? Check out our Middle School Walk & Talk podcast or our H.E.L.P. brochure on how to enjoy living with a preadolescent for parents.
- Host an activity at your school that celebrates middle level education! Encourage your students to be actively involved and provide opportunities for them to share their voices and experiences as young adolescents.
We Want to Hear from You!
Are you doing something amazing at your school to celebrate MLEM? We want to hear from you! Email email@example.com to share and potentially be featured on AMLE.org and our social media channels.