If you are a blog reader, here is a good one to put in your favorites or on you google reader or friend on facebook. Michelle is a mom in Alaska. She is an incredible cook, a crafty mom, and an inspiring writer. She has great contests too :-)
Today I read her blogpost: Making Tough Calls. As a mother to a middle schooler...I can totally relate and feel her pain. We had a similar situation. It wasn't as much that our daughter changed personality (any more than the normal pre-teen I know everything now attitude) but that the school she was in was not in the least bit prepared to handle the needs of middle schoolers.
There is more than targeting kids who are flunking multiple classes and hoping the rest are treading water. You need to create an atmosphere where students respect the faculty and the school's rules, not mock them or ignore them. Students who repeatedly flunk tests...wouldn't teachers catch that as a red flag? No instead they weight the homework and give extra credit assignments to make up for the test scores.
Our daughter now goes to a middle school where there are rules that are followed by all, students and staff. And consequences when they don't! My daughter is the one who told me this...she was so happy! I could see that there was a huge sense of relief in her. It was really troublesome to her to see kids getting away with breaking rules at her old school. (maybe it's being a cops kid)
I truly knew we had done the right thing, when she came home the 2nd week of school and told us that she had switched classes. I was surprised, but curious. She told me she asked to switch her science class to a different period because the kids in her 4th period were too noisy and didn't get their work done. She didn't want to get stuck with lab partners anymore that didn't do their work.
I was so proud that she felt she could stand up for herself. This is what we have been teaching her. We know she had asked to do this once in her other school, with no results. This time, in this new school, her teacher listened to her and her reasons. By the end of the day, she was switched! I was so impressed with my daughter, but also for the teacher and the school for supporting my daughter.