7 Attend all parent programs Most middle schools have an orientation or open house early in the year.These programs give parents the opportunity to meet their child’s teachers and learn about the courses their child is taking. When you attend an orientation, open house, parent program, or confer- ence, you learn valuable information. You also show your child that you consider education to be important, and that you’re interested in his/her academic progress. See all midterm reports and report cards In addition to report cards, many middle schools provide students with progress reports, interim reports, or midterm grades. Expect to see a mid- term report halfway through the term, and a report card 7-10 days after the grading period ends. If you don’t see a midterm report or report card, call the school imme- diately and ask for a copy. Do not just assume someone will contact you if there’s a problem. Many schools today put student grades online. This makes it easy for par- ents to monitor their child’s academic progress. If your child’s grades are available online, check them regularly. Use rewards and consequences Being offered a reward for a specific achievement can be very motivat- ing for some students. Try using a reward when you want to encourage a change in attendance, effort, or behavior. Eventually, doing well will be its own reward. As for consequences, students need to understand that in school, and in life, there are consequences for poor performance and/or bad behavior. Consequences are most effective when they are reasonable and logical. For example, a reasonable and logical consequence for routinely being late to school might be a revised nighttime schedule (e.g., no TV, computer, or phone calls after 9:00). For most students, a parent’s approval is still very important. Make it a point to recognize extra effort and to acknowledge each academic success, even if it’s just a good grade on a homework assignment.