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Archive for Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Administrators say much work remains to transition sixth, ninth graders

Grade-level changes challenging, but administrators praise board’s decision

Lawrence High School catcher Kristen Bell, right, bumps gloves with her teammates as the Lions get pumped up before the first of two games against Leavenworth on Tuesday at LHS. From left are Jamie Jarrett, Mallory Reynolds, Lauren Massey, Lauren Byrn, Kelsey Kilburn, Kasey Waite, partially obscured, and Bell. The movement of ninth-graders from junior high to high school will allow freshmen, starting this fall, to participate in all high school sports, whereas before they have only had access to certain sports like softball. The actual movement of ninth-grade classes into LHS and Free State will occur in the fall of 2011.

Lawrence High School catcher Kristen Bell, right, bumps gloves with her teammates as the Lions get pumped up before the first of two games against Leavenworth on Tuesday at LHS. From left are Jamie Jarrett, Mallory Reynolds, Lauren Massey, Lauren Byrn, Kelsey Kilburn, Kasey Waite, partially obscured, and Bell. The movement of ninth-graders from junior high to high school will allow freshmen, starting this fall, to participate in all high school sports, whereas before they have only had access to certain sports like softball. The actual movement of ninth-grade classes into LHS and Free State will occur in the fall of 2011.

April 27, 2010

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Work just beginning for school shift

The work is just beginning for the Lawrence school district as it prepares to move sixth and ninth graders. Administrators believe the change will benefit students. The move will not go into effect until 2011. Enlarge video

One day after board members voted to modify the makeup of every Lawrence school starting in 2011-2012, administrators said they still have plenty of work to do to implement the change.

“There are some adjustments. We will not have business as usual. It’s not going to look like a mini junior high school,” Southwest Junior High Principal Trish Bransky said Tuesday.

Bransky and other administrators and teachers will be seeking input in the next year from students and parents as the district moves to four-year high schools and sixth- to eighth-grade middle schools.

High school and junior high administrators also praised the board’s Monday decision, saying it would give both ninth-graders and sixth-graders access to more courses and activities.

Currently, students in seventh through ninth grades attend junior high. And students in kindergarten through sixth grade attend elementary school.

“One of the big benefits of having ninth-graders here is having all this rich curriculum that we offer, and we want to make sure the students have an opportunity to experience our curriculum,” said Matt Brungardt, principal at Lawrence High School.

With more students, he said, the high schools would be able to offer more courses. Brungardt said the high schools also should see more interest in foreign language, visual and performing arts, physical education and career and technical education courses.

Due to budget cuts, district leaders opted not to offer ninth-grade German in the four junior high schools next year but they have said it would return in 2011.

“Getting students to a four-year high school is going to give us a comprehensive high school,” Brungardt said.

Board members also on Monday voted for next year to move athletics for ninth-grade students up to the high schools, meaning freshman will be able to participate at the high school level — on varsity teams if they are good enough — in all sports instead of just a few.

Bransky said teachers at Southwest Junior High on Tuesday were already generating ideas to help plan the change. She said middle schools administrators will be looking to create smooth transitions for students — opening the school to sixth-graders for visits and letting sixth-graders know what to expect.

She said in middle schools, sixth-grade students will also benefit from access to more activities, clubs and courses. In science classes, for example, they have more opportunities to work in a lab setting.

“I think by sixth grade, children are ready for a broader view of the world and more varied experiences that a middle-level program can provide,” Bransky said.

Comments

texburgh 3 years, 11 months ago

"Due to budget cuts, district leaders opted not to offer ninth-grade German in the four junior high schools next year but they have said it would return in 2011."

This will very likely not happen. With German out of 9th grade next year, students will only enroll in French or Spanish - kids enroll in foreign language in the 9th grade and many only study it for two years. Kids rarely start foreign languages in 10th grade.

When the 9th grade gets up to the high school, these administrators and the school board will argue that there is no interest in German based on the prior years' experience and it will not come back. Look for German to have only German 1 and 2 in the future, eventually withering away and disappearing.

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mom_of_three 3 years, 11 months ago

And one of the last ones in the NATION to have 9th graders in high school.

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bendover61 3 years, 11 months ago

You will now have 4 grades in schools built for 3. They will have to bring in portable classrooms, and a few years down the road people will complain about the over crowding. A bond to expand the high schools will be voted on and passed and taxes will go up. All because we are the only district in the state without 9-12 in the high schools.

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smercer 3 years, 11 months ago

p>GreatSchools.org rates k-12 schools across the nation on a 1-10 scale.
Why would we want to move 6th graders from Woodlawn Elem. (7/10) a year early to CJHS (1/10)?

http://www.greatschools.org/search/search.page?search_type=0&q=blue+valley&state=KS&c=school to see how the Lawrence schools stack up with our neighbors in Johnson County.

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PFC 3 years, 11 months ago

"What I really believe is happening is the subtle movement of many pieces of a puzzle to complete a picture already developed by the administration."

Already developed? Yes. Subtle? No.

The state testing data show that 6th graders in elementary school academically outperform 6th graders in middle school.

The district is seeking input? What a joke. More like tolerating input before they do what they had already planned to do.

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Kontum1972 3 years, 11 months ago

hmmmm.....did they put this to a public vote or was this the bullwinkle theory ...HEY ROCKY WATCH ME PULL A RABBIT OUT OF MY HAT!

ROCKY: ....again Bullwinkle?

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lettingoffsteam 3 years, 11 months ago

"High school and junior high administrators also praised the board’s Monday decision, saying it would give both ninth-graders and sixth-graders access to more courses and activities." As the parent of a sixth grader, I can confirm that she already has plenty of access to activities. In fact I think there are too many outside activities for younger kids now, which take the focus away from preparing academically for the next level! I don't believe they need more courses, or more activities at an age when they are going through a critical developmental milestone. If this is the main reason they moved the sixth graders (and I don't believe that it is), this was a very misguided decision. What I really believe is happening is the subtle movement of many pieces of a puzzle to complete a picture already developed by the administration.

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RKLOG 3 years, 11 months ago

"Due to budget cuts, district leaders opted not to offer ninth-grade German in the four junior high schools next year but they have said it would return in 2011. "

2011 is next year. Did you mean next Fall, or 2012?

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