Archive for Friday, February 18, 2011

Parents anxious about middle school transition

February 18, 2011


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.”


Soapbox 7 years, 3 months ago

This is a bad decision at the kids expense!

hail2oldku 7 years, 3 months ago

If you're talking about the parents getting anxious, I wholeheartedly agree. An anxious parent only adds to the kid's anxiety if any exists.

If you're referring to the change to 6/7/8 format, I couldn't disagree more. This is a great move for the benefit of the kids.

notanota 7 years, 3 months ago

No, it's a terrible move to the detriment of the kids.

notanota 7 years, 3 months ago

Kids that age should still be close to home and with younger kids instead of with older peers. Middle school is pretty awful for everyone, but the evidence just doesn't support the model.

"Research suggests that the onset of puberty is an especially poor reason for beginning a new phase of schooling."

starlite144 7 years, 3 months ago

It's how schools are all over the east coast, and they all do very well, both in education and socially.

notanota 7 years, 3 months ago

I went to a separate 6/7/8, which is one of the reasons I'm against this one.

notanota 7 years, 3 months ago

Because taking a bunch of kids hitting puberty and sticking them in a school with a bunch of older kids that have just finished puberty is a really lousy idea. It's not just physical. There are huge cognitive changes at that age. School performance drops, and peer pressure sets in. We're facilitating that and making it worse with this transition. Give them a year or two to get used to their hormones and still be the big kids and mentors to the younger kids. I'd rather we go the other way and have k-8 schools and then send them on to 9-12.

storm 7 years, 3 months ago

This reads like parents should really really be anxious because of the grades being changed in the Junior Highs. Please, just the facts....parents had an information meeting about the reconfiguration...its perfectly normal for parents to feel anxious when their student transfers to another school even a Junior High grades 6/7/8.

sr80 7 years, 3 months ago

you parents better teach little johnny and sissy how to fight over summer break,cause they got it to do in the big time school!!!!!

CeeJayy 7 years, 3 months ago

I'm a junior in a 9/10/11/12 high school and it honestly isn't that bad. I went to West my 7th and 8th grade school year but in may of my 8th grade year i moved to NC and that next year i found out I'd be entering high school i was a little nervous just because i didn't know what high school was like but i like it. I am friends with some of the freshman and sophomores the maturity level isn't the same but the older students actually help out the younger students learn their way around the school and for the most part are nice. I don't mind being in a 9/10/11/12 school its not that big of a change just more students in a building.

sr80 7 years, 3 months ago

i think you need to talk to these parents sound like you got a good head on your shoulders!! keep up the good work and don't pick on baby johnny or sissy,remember you were once like them.

CeeJayy 7 years, 3 months ago

I don't pick on the younger students at my school I try to help them out as much as I can it's a change but it's not as bad as parents make it out to be. and thanks for the compliments. As long as the students adjust to the change maturely everything should be fine just a matter of having an open mind to change.

sr80 7 years, 3 months ago

i must pick truly boring topics too post on,because i seem to be the last one all the time!!!!! i go cry!!!! boo hoo,hooo,hooooo!!!!! nobody like talk to me !!!!!

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