Turns out the anticipation for leaving elementary school is no different after fifth grade as it is following sixth grade.
For the parents, anyway.
“She’s my baby,” said Linda Jadlow, and she wasn’t talking about the 4-week-old sleeping beside her in a car seat Thursday night in the auditorium at West Junior High School. “I love the change, just because that’s what I grew with, but she’s still my baby.”
The “change” she’s talking about actually involves Jadlow’s other daughter, Alexa, and the hundreds of other fifth-graders in the Lawrence school district who will graduate from elementary school this spring and then enroll in reconfigured junior high schools — to be known as middle schools — as sixth-graders for the fall.
It’s a reconfiguration that’s been in the works for more than a year, will send all ninth-graders onto high school campuses for the first time in Lawrence and will continue to spur transitions in the coming months: teachers relocating, programs adjusting, perhaps even school names changing.
But during Thursday’s Parent Information Night at West — a scene repeated at South and Southwest junior highs, and one that already had been conducted Tuesday at Central Junior High School — Jadlow and dozens of other moms, dads, grandparents, brothers and sisters had a chance to learn what prospective middle schoolers should count on: advisory periods, core classes, exploratory classes, elective classes, extracurricular activities and more.
“If we do it right, it serves as a bridge to get from the elementary level to the high school level,” said Myron Melton, principal of West.
Unlike years past — when only a single grade level of students would be new for the coming year — the 2011-12 newbies will span a full two-thirds of each school. Next year’s sixth- and seventh-graders alike will be choosing electives for the first time, using lockers for the first time and, well, giving twice as many parents and guardians reasons to break out the baby pictures, wondering where all the years have gone.
The numbers may change, but parents’ feelings apparently don’t.
“Mom is apprehensive,” said Sarah Plinsky, referring to herself in the third-person before West’s session for parents of incoming seventh-graders. “It’s hard to see your kids grow up.”