Gearing Up For Middle School


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Questions and Answers About Using the Gearing Up for Middle School (GUMS) Curriculum/Program


Q: What is the expectation? Does the program have required and optional components or sessions?

A: The curriculum is designed to be delivered as three lessons for each of three sessions: spring before leaving elementary school; summer between elementary and middle school; and fall, just as students begin middle school. Each school is invited to use GUMS however it works best for the students, parents and teachers in the community.

Q: How much time is required?

A: Each lesson is planned for one hour and15 minutes. Please refer to the program overview on Page 3 for additional details required to set up the program.

Q: Is this a one-year program or does an opportunity exist for more or an extension?

A: The curriculum is yours to keep and use as you wish once you have purchased it for your schools.

Q: Will we need to bring in a trainer vs. train the  Regional Education Association (REA) trainer?

A: Training could be done in a variety of ways. REA trainers would be very useful in relaying the information, especially as new staff join.

Q: Who from each district should attend training? Do they also follow a train-the-trainer model, or will your staff person implement the program to the REA or across all interested schools?

 A: The instructions for running the program are in the program overview. Any questions can be directed to me via email or phone. Training after the initial startup probably won’t be necessary. For that matter, you may not wish to have any formal training from us if you are using the materials and adapting them to your schools. We have noticed that schools use the materials in a variety of ways. You are welcome to use them as you deem fit for your schools.

Q: GUMS would be appropriate for which grade levels?

A: Originally it was written for fifth grade, but it works as well with fourth- and sixth-graders.

Q: What is the cost to the REA or the district?

A: The costs associated with the Gearing up for Middle School program can vary widely, depending on what the school decides to offer. Twelve different science activities are listed in the section “Tools for Tomorrow;” some require supplies that will need to be purchased. You could replace these with experiments that cost less to do, or not offer this part at all, and this becomes a one-hour class. NOTE: The kids report loving this part because their parents have to be involved.

Costs to the REA would include a one-time purchase of the program, in bulk, electronically, at $40 per school.

Other costs associated with the program include teachers’ salaries. We recommend using a middle school teacher for the students and a middle school teacher, counselor or Extension agent/parent educator for the parents’ lesson. If you choose to offer sibling care, that is another expense, including background check fees. Recruitment pieces (templates of posters, fliers and letters are included in the curriculum) will need to be copied, posted, mailed or emailed.

Other expenses include supplies for the science experiments; large sheets of paper and markers for parent education; one copy of “You and Your Adolescent, The Essential Guide for Ages 10-25” by Laurence Steinberg for at least the parent educator, if not two (one for each teacher); copies of handouts; and refreshments, if you choose to offer something. Schools also would need to have computers, projectors, screens and Internet access to show the PowerPoint presentations.

Q: What materials are required?

A: The required materials are the curriculum, Steinberg book (for the teacher) and supplies.

Q: What are the learning objectives or outcomes?

A: The overarching objective is to have smooth transitions to middle school for all students and parents. The lesson-by-lesson objectives are listed under “objectives.”

Q: What is the curriculum source?

A: Our sources were the NDSU Extension Service, 4-H, and Human Development and Family Science Department.


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