Making Moves in Middle School

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Middle school is a time of change, both physical and intellectual, where everyone’s timeline for growth and maturity varies widely. Changing schools during this time can be especially challenging for those reasons, but for some 6th, 7th and 8th graders, it’s essential.

Many students are faced with the task of changing middle schools due to a variety of circumstances. Their family may have to relocate for a parent’s job. Some may choose to change schools for socio-emotional reasons such as bullying or feeling like they don’t fit in. Others simply move to a different middle school better suited to their way of learning or academic rigor.

This past year has also led to a record-setting number of students taking their learning out of the in-person setting and into the comfort of an online environment because of the COVID-19 pandemic and its lasting repercussions.

Regardless of the situation, the key to ensuring a more seamless transition for students who want or need to change middle schools can be as simple as choosing to take their learning online. It can actually be an uplifting experience, even during those notorious middle school years.

“Whether a student is changing middle schools for academic purposes or to leave behind a particular anxiety, online learning can provide a great environment to help them excel at their own rate and comfort,” said Tracy Hansen, Director of Admissions at ASU Prep Digital.

That’s mostly because online learning allows for a lot more flexibility than in-person schooling.

“The parents of our middle schoolers see our unique learning environment as a place where their child can thrive—socially, emotionally and academically,” added Tracy. “Working online means our students learn the responsibility of setting their own schedule, how to be a good social citizen, and how to function autonomously.”

Starting online middle school in the middle of the academic year is a much less daunting task than walking into a brand new middle school full of strangers and unfamiliar classrooms to navigate. There’s no “catching up” to do per se, more so charting a new path forward based on the student’s unique needs.

ASU Prep Digital equips each of its middle schoolers with dedicated Learning Success Coaches to make this an even smoother process. These personalized mentors help students meet their academic goals, manage their time, develop their interests and identify growth opportunities.

Students and coaches connect over video chats and phone calls. Many even offer words of encouragement through text messages. ASU Prep also actively includes each student’s family as part of their support system, working together to ensure they’re successful throughout the transition and beyond.

Establishing a robust social life can also help to ease any stress associated with changing schools in the middle of the academic year. ASU Prep Digital’s online middle school presents students with a lasting way to connect with their peers, without boundaries.

“Our school offers so many socialization opportunities that truly create a strong online community for our students,” said Anabel Fernandez, Admissions Team Lead at ASU Prep Digital. “Our curriculum includes dedicated times of the day where students meet in virtual Home Room. They’re encouraged to join social clubs that interest them and attend in-person events with other students who live nearby. Some even create learning pods of their own, whether in Facebook Groups or meet-ups with other local students.”

ASU Prep Digital is an accredited K-12 online school that’s part of Arizona State University, where students can enroll in a single online course or in a full-time, diploma-granting program with the option of accelerating their learning by enrolling in concurrent high school or college classes.

The process of starting ASU Prep Digital’s online middle school program is simple at any time of year, but it’s best to join at the start of a new semester. Before enrolling, students and their parents are encouraged to attend a live, webinar-style Virtual Info Session hosted every week, where they can learn about the program and ask any questions. They can also schedule a call with an admissions advisor to share more about their needs, including the reason they’re wanting to change middle schools and their goals for the upcoming academic year. 

To learn more and start an application for ASU Prep Digital’s online middle school program, visit