Archive for Monday, January 25, 2010


In transition: Teens weigh in on pros, cons of moving ninth-graders to high school

January 25, 2010


Lawrence’s system works, so don’t change a thing

By Alex Wendt

To most people outside Lawrence, sixth-graders are considered part of middle school, and ninth-graders are in high school. This is a system that every other town in Kansas uses … except Lawrence.

And this has been perfectly acceptable for a number of years now, which gives us no reason to change it. Many current ninth-graders don’t see a reason for change, either. Kristina Rasmussen, a ninth-grader at West Junior High School, says, “I’m kind of borderline not liking it because my sister will be in high school with me.”

But having a sibling in high school with you isn’t the only reason to dislike changing the school system. Jenny Gottstein, also a ninth-grader at West, says, “I don’t think that that should happen because I don’t think sixth-graders are prepared for junior high.”

It’s true. The age difference between a sixth-grader and an eighth-grader is great. Now, the difference between a freshman and a senior isn’t as obvious, but it’s still there. This can open up new doors for bullying and more awkwardness than usual when first transferring to middle or high school.

We shouldn’t have to succumb to what the rest of Kansas, and most of the United States, for that matter, is doing with school systems. The current system worked perfectly well before, and it can work equally well for many years to come if it isn’t changed.

There is even a group on Facebook rebelling against this potential change. It is (fittingly called) DON’T TURN WEST JUNIOR HIGH INTO A MIDDLE SCHOOL!!! So far it has more than 100 members, and that’s only from one junior high school. It’s safe to say that the middle school idea isn’t well-liked among many students.

— Alex Wendt is a West Junior High School ninth-grader and a member of Angle, the Journal-World’s teen advisory board.

Mature environment would benefit freshmen

By Noah Nunn

Schools are facing mutiple problems at present, and it always seems like the problems are exacerbated to the point where they’re even worse than before. We have the recession, which is causing budget cuts, but there’s also the point of moving ninth-graders up to the high school.

Nobody will be surprised if as soon as someone says “ninth-graders” and “high school” in the same sentence without the word “shouldn’t” or “not” that someone, somewhere, will growl and grumble in disagreement.

But shouldn’t the ninth-graders be moved up to the high school? Of course there’s the matter of space (which can always be amended by building more room or temporarily importing trailers until an adequate decision can be made), but in the long run, the decision of moving the ninth-graders into a new building will be socially beneficial.

Hannah Middleton, ninth-grader at Central Junior High School, says, “Even though we’re high schoolers, we are stuck in a middle-school setting with people of a middle-school mindset. That tends to rub off — at least I’ve noticed — and that contributes to ninth-graders not taking their schoolwork as seriously as they would in a high school setting with a more mature group like what’s expected of us.”

This is a valid point, as I typically hear during classroom quarrels between the teacher and a student: “Well, I’m still in a junior high building, so it doesn’t count.” Grades are already counting, but the students are still in the junior high setting and thus don’t have the proper motivation.

The longer the advancement of students to the high school is delayed, the more egregious the situation will become.

— Noah Nunn is a Southwest Junior High School ninth-grader and a member of Angle, the Journal-World’s teen advisory board.


kansaskate 5 years, 8 months ago

All I can say is that I could hardly handle 3 years in the same high school building. I was ready to pull my hair out after two. I can't imagine having to look at the same walls and (lack of) windows for Four. Entire. Years. Gives me chills just to think about it.

imamomma 5 years, 8 months ago

We are the last town to have jr highs. I went to school here and enjoyed my 3 years at Central. But I have seen K-8, and I have seen K-5, 6-8 then 9-12. We will just have to see...

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