Middle School Tips And Resources

escartoon.png Dear class of 2017, 

 You are now taking on the role of leader in our school. 5th grade is a special year, here are some tips for you as you think about your year after graduation from Epiphany School. 

Middle School! What do I do to get ready?

First, if you are an Epiphany School student you are already very well prepared for any middle school in the

region. You have practiced the skills that middle schools look for in potential students. Epiphany students

are confident and capable. Of course there is still work to be done if you are going to get accepted to the middle schools of your choice. Below I have given a few tips for students and parents to get you started. 


The SSAT or ISEE? Which test do I take? Schools will list their preference on their website. Unfortunately they do not all prefer the same one, however, nearly all schools will accept either one. You do not have to take both. If you do take both be sure you understand the different strategies for each one. 

Greg Jones along with several teachers at Epiphany School offers a test prep course after school that will help you learn how the tests are structured as well as the type of questions asked. It is after school once a week through November and October.

The Visit and Interview You will need and want to visit the schools to which you are applying.

Be sure to attend the open house and the school day visit. Do remember all of your Epiphany School values, be respectful, responsible, and show confidence. Create a list of schools and open house dates. When attending an open house or visit day remember that you are not there to visit with your classmates who are also visiting. Everything you do is observed and reported back to your current teachers. You are there to learn about the school, not play with your friends. Some schools will interview you in a group with others, or maybe even on your own. Some schools will have you go through a “mock” schedule where you will be students for the day. You should be on your best behavior, but you should also have fun. Mr. Neely will conduct practice interviews with you in the fall. 

Essays This is the part of the application that you are responsible for. Each school will ask you to write something. These essays help the school get to know you and your ability as a writer. Because there is a common application for most of the schools, you will only need to write these essays once, however there are schools that will ask you to write something different.

The essay topics are meant to spark your interest and are meant to be fun to write. Be true and honest, you can have a parent edit, but keep the actual writing ALL in your own voice. 

The Handwritten thank you note: Yes, you should write one. Mention something specific about your visit day that you noticed, enjoyed, or learned. Send soon after your school day visit. 

Which schools do I look at? All of them! You and your parents need to know what is out there, look at schools that you know nothing about, gather data on these, and look for the school that is the “right fit” for you, not which schools your friends are looking at or which schools you think you should look at. Be sure to visit the website pugetsoundindependentschools.org for details on school fairs in the region. 

Revisit Days: The week after decisions are posted schools will offer the opportunity to revisit their school. If you are undecided about which school you truly want to attend, these days can be a valuable step in the decision making process. If you know which school you will enroll, revisiting is not necessary. 




How do you choose the right fit school for your child and family? Because you are an independent school parent you are likely to continue to consider independent schools. You care deeply about your child’s education and so you will look carefully at what is best, maybe it is a highly capable program in a public school nearby, or maybe it is an independent school. 

Where to begin? First remember that the application process is first and foremost for you to find the best school for your child. Unlike elementary school, middle school is not going to be about the whole family. Middle school parents need to give some precedence to what the child wants. Especially if your child is one who is taking on some of the process. 

The Process: whether you are looking at public or independent school options, there is a

process that you will follow. There will be many mileposts along the road to enrollment to middle school. Be sure to do little bits at a time. Throughout the process, you will be asked to examine your values and priorities. Be sure Use the checklist below to keep you on track and to keep you from getting overwhelmed:

Summer: begin perusing websites of middle schools in the region. Remember to look at schools that do not immediately come to mind, like Eastside Prep., Billings, and The Three girl’s schools. Create a Ravenna Account online. 

September: Register for theSSAT (if taking at Epiphany School use code 3S-4I0K-5L5H ) or the ISEE Admission exam. Choose a date in December or early January ASAP, dates fill up fast. 

Attend ES Middle School Information Night on Monday the 19th. Send in Advanced

Learning formto Seattle Public School. Check sibling deadlines. November and December are typically the “big” deadlines for sibling families. Create a spread sheet of open houses you will attend. Check out the calendar on the Pugetsound IndependentSchoolswebsite for upcoming events and Open Houses. Set up an appointment with Greg to discuss middle school options as needed. 


October and November:parents and students attend open houses. Students complete “Brag Sheet,” complete sibling applications. Students give teachers, in writing, a request to complete a teacher recommendation for each school they are applying. Parents, Many of the schools in our region use Ravenna, be sure to delegate your child’s current classroom teacher and one other teacher to complete recommendations. You can choose your child’s fourth grade teacher or Steve Ward or Lise Wolken. Teachers will not write these recommendations until December or January. Student visit days are assigned or offered AFTER the initial application is submitted. Give a signed copy of the “Request for School Records” form to Jessie Kaarbo. 

Epiphany School SSAT Test on November 19th.


December: begin mock interviews with Mr. Neely. Complete drafts of application materials. Give classroom teachers drafts of application essays for Review (optional). Consider using the winter break for essay revisions and relaxing. 

January: Send completed applications to schools no later than the 12th (deadline?).

School Visits

February: School visits. Keep notes on what schools appeal, and why, to the family. 

March: Notification on the 17th, Family Response on the 27th. Make decision, sign contract, and let schools know if you are declining offer as soon as possible. 

April through June: focus on the last months of being a 5th grader!



Helpful Resources:

pugetsoundindependentschools.org -- upcoming events, school fairs, open houses, independent schools in the region with short description, and geographic locations

nwais.org (Northwest Association of Independent Schools) – information on schools and Open Houses.

admission.org  this is the site for ssat registration and tes resources—test dates below:




            https://www.erblearn.org/parents/admissions-testing—ISEE test resources and test              dates/locations