Archive for Friday, April 16, 2010

Parents wary of moving 6th-graders

Some parents are wary of sending the students to a school full of older children.

April 16, 2010


Some Lawrence parents on Thursday night questioned whether sixth-graders were mature enough to handle moving into schools with seventh- and eighth-graders.

“My impression is that there are more social and emotional issues, more concerns about the maturity of the youngsters,” school board member Marlene Merrill said. “I hear more of that tonight than I did at any ninth-grade forum.”

About 30 parents attended the discussion Thursday night with board members and administrators at Lawrence High School, 1901 La. The district is studying whether to reconfigure its schools by moving ninth-graders to the high schools and possibly then sixth-graders into middle schools as early as the 2011-2012 school year.

Merrill said some of the questions might mean the district needs to study the issue more before board members debate the change. District officials said it could give sixth-graders more access to advanced and accelerated courses and more opportunities to participate in academic competitions, athletics, clubs and school leadership.

During the discussions, some parents said children could benefit from access to more activities.

But Dietrich Earnhart, whose daughter is a Cordley first-grader, said research has shown girls face more social pressures in middle schools and won’t perform as well in math and science.

“If the girls stayed in a sixth-grade elementary setting, then they would not have that peer pressure to try to curry the favor of boys,” he said. “It seems to be much more accommodating environment in an elementary school setting.”

Parent Megan Greene, a member of Save Our Neighborhood Schools, said the move would reduce enrollment and could jeopardize some smaller elementary schools but that was not a reason to oppose the change. She did say she was disappointed in the format of the discussion, which did not convince her to support the change.

A second forum about sixth grade will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Free State High School, 4700 Overland Drive.


Stephen Roberts 8 years, 2 months ago

I do not buy what Megan Greene is selling. She wants to protect small schools at ALL costs. Parents need to wake up to reality here. To me, moving 6th graders to middle school is a good idea. What does the rest of the state do? Aren't teachers licensed for K-5, 6-8, & High school?

Maybe USD497 will pick up some students from the private schools if 6th grade was at a middle school?

jackson5 8 years, 2 months ago

Alternatively, it may be possible that the destrict will lose some 7&8 graders. Two private schools have begun the planning stages of moving from k-6 to to k-8 in response to the 9-12 reconfiguration.

twinetowngirl 8 years, 2 months ago

I was suprised when I moved here to see that 9th was still middle school. Where I'm from grade school is K-6, Jr. High was 7th and 8th and HS 9-12. It worked well..

JohnDa 8 years, 2 months ago

Commuter - you should read Ms. Greene's statement before commenting. She states "that was not a reason to oppose the change." I wish people would only comment if they can read a full sentence.

mom_of_three 8 years, 2 months ago

A little snarky this morning, aren't we, JohnDa.

I believe most schools who have a four year high school, still have a three year middle school. If it hurt the science scores of the girls, then you would think some of those schools would have changed it back. But no one has.

Clickker 8 years, 2 months ago

By about December, most 6th graders have already mentally checked out of elementary school.

Move 'em on up!!

John Hampton 8 years, 2 months ago

We just had this discussion on the proposed move of 9th graders to the HS's. Same reasons apply here... do it. There is a reason the rest of the country has had 6-8 and 9-12 for my entire adult life and I assume prior to that as well.

The only thing hold back either of these moves should be logistics, planning and money and once those issues are worked out it should move full steam ahead.

I see no winning argument over readiness of the child or maturity levels... .if so it's only the kids in Lawrence that are afflected with the lack of maturity or readiness, which I guess explains the healthy population of helicopter moms present in the community.

Kathy Gates 8 years, 2 months ago

As the parent of a current sixth grader, if you believe there's not already incredible peer pressure for that age group, you're clueless. Sixth graders are more like seventh and eighth graders than they are like fourth and fifth graders. They're ready for more academic and extracurricular opportunities, as well as starting to physically mature.

Does anybody else wonder why we're not worried about those poor, innocent six year olds who have to go to school with big, scary twelve year olds?

John Hampton 8 years, 2 months ago

I too am the parent of a sixth grader.... who really needs to be in Junior High, both from a physical and mental development standpoint... a Junior High of 6th to 8th Graders.

avoice 8 years, 2 months ago

“If the girls stayed in a sixth-grade elementary setting, then they would not have that peer pressure to try to curry the favor of boys,” he said. “It seems to be much more accommodating environment in an elementary school setting.”

Such ideas are common to people who have not had either a 6th grade girl or 6th grade boy yet. Which building they are in makes little difference. Sixth graders are well into focusing on "dating" and forming cliques. Parents are the ones who feel more comfortable about the elementary setting, because it allows them to think their kids haven't grown up yet. But they have!

gr3sam 8 years, 2 months ago

Moving 6th graders is a mere subterfuge to close grade schools and avoid closing one Jr. High. Subtantial research shows great harm in messing with K-3 students. It cannot seriously be questioned. Closing grade schools is the ultimate goal of some school board members and, apparently, Dr. Dolt. This must be stopped if this community cares about kids. The way to stop it is calls, letters and at the polls in the next election. Let's stop this foolishness now!

britt408 8 years, 2 months ago

Hey guess what, hormones happen whether they are in elementary or junior high, so that doesn't really matter. As an elementary teacher, I believe that 6th graders should be in a junior high, which is how it is at most Kansas schools. They feel like they don't belong in elementary anymore, think they're too cool, and during this time in their lives, frankly a lot of them just need the rude awakening of junior high.

PennyBrite 8 years, 2 months ago

I would like to hear what all the teachers of 6th graders in Lawrence think.... and yes, I think some of the parents are in the dark about their own 6th graders but the teachers know what's really going on..... how about it 6th grade teachers? Tell us what you think!

Chris Golledge 8 years, 2 months ago

I'm wary of moving 6th graders as well. The ones that are holding still are a lot easier to deal with. Wait, I might have misunderstood something...

crissamber 8 years, 2 months ago

I'm currently a Lawrence High School student, before coming to LHS, I was attending a school that had 6-12 in it, given it was a very small town, but when you think about the consequences... You have 12 year olds hanging out with 18 year olds, you have illegal relationships, its pretty disgusting. My old school didn't have open lunches either, and that is going to be an issue for the ninth graders who are coming to LHS, they aren't mature enough. The other day, I witnessed 10 graders spitting on a substitute and making fun of her to her face, that isnt very mature and they are in high school for goodness sakes, how do you expect the ninth graders are going to be. I was told this school year has had the worst sophomores in years.

Stephen Roberts 8 years, 2 months ago

Johnda- I did read her comments but I believe not matter she says, protecting the small schools still influences her and the SONS group more than they want to admit it. I can read full sentences but I was also at the meetings hearing Meagan and the SONS group speak.

BTY- I wish people would post their research. research can be flawed. There is so much that goes into the assumptions and controls groups.

My kids are not affected by the decision. I am just waiting for the boundaries to change. We need that really bad.

GardenMomma 8 years, 2 months ago

So when they move 9th graders to the high schools and the 6th graders to the junior highs, how many elementary schools will be closed?

And, if the rest of the state/country/what-have-you is doing it, that is justification for our district to do it too? Sounds like you could apply the argument "if the rest of your friends are jumping off a bridge...."

Aren't Lawrence's academic scores better than the rest of the state? I thought our school children scored near the top of the state. So, if our school system is working to EDUCATE our students and that shows in better test scores, why change it? "If it ain't broke, why fix it?"

What's broken that needs fixing?

FormerTiger 8 years, 2 months ago

Commuter - interesting that you were "hearing the SONS group speak" because SONS didn't speak - people were there to get information, ask questions, and find out why the rush on this when there have been no plans proposed for the 6th to middle move. SONS wasn't there.....people who participated with SONS were, and they were asking specific questions about how such a move would impact education in Lawrence, their own children's education in particular.

Stephen Roberts 8 years, 2 months ago

FormerTiger- I apologize, I will need to explain. I heard her and other members of the SONS group speak at the school board meetings and at one of the junior high schools about the budget. I will make sure I keep you in the loop.

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