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Should ninth-graders be moved to the high school level in Lawrence?

Asked at The Merc, 901 Iowa on October 28, 2009

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Photo of Jean Ann Stoneking

“Absolutely. They will mature faster, I think, and enjoy the benefits of being in high school.”

Photo of Ione Unruh

“Yes, because when the kids reach the ninth-grade level, they need to be in that other environment with the older kids.”

Photo of Bob Garrett

“Yes, I believe that ninth-graders should be at the high school. I’ve lived in many towns with middle schools and they seem very ready to be at that next level.”

Photo of Gregg Anderson

“Yes they should; my wife is a junior high educator and she thinks ninth-graders are ready for high school and sixth-graders are ready for middle school.”


Nikki May 8 years, 6 months ago

  1. Baker Bob rules! Great Harvest has the best bread!
  2. Yes, 9th graders should be in high school. They have high school classes, and some would be able to take even more challenging classes if they had the environment. And in this town where sports are everything it seems, you could even play high school sports easier.

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 6 months ago

well yeah they should be in the high school buildings, they aare highschoolers so why not put them where they belong.

puddleglum 8 years, 6 months ago

of course they should be. I was in 9th grade and it was a high school level, so we were in a building with other high school students. makes sense, doesn't it?

Matt Warman 8 years, 6 months ago

Do they teach panhandling at the high school level?

pace 8 years, 6 months ago

Yes, more the two schools should be divided by grades, 9th and 10th. in one, Jr. and Sr. in the other.

ohgeeze 8 years, 6 months ago

Yes!!!! 9th to high school and 6th to the junior high. Do it!

Ricky_Vaughn 8 years, 6 months ago

I think Gregg Anderson's comment says it best:

“Yes they should; my wife is a junior high educator and she thinks ninth-graders are ready for high school and sixth-graders are ready for middle school.”

missmagoo 8 years, 6 months ago

I think in most other places in Kansas this is the case.. 6th-8th grade is middle school and 9th-12th is high school. I had no idea it wasn't that way here?

Mel Briscoe 8 years, 6 months ago

^^^ neither did i until i became a blogger on this wonderful, informative site! :D

supernik 8 years, 6 months ago

9th grade is highschool - yes they should be in the same school...

Linda Aikins 8 years, 6 months ago

My schools were so small, we had K-8 in one building, and 9-12 in the other.

1029 8 years, 6 months ago

Maybe they should let kids take a year off after 8th grade and then enter high school in 10th grade one year later. They could use the year off to read books and study and make their brains more ready for the challenge of high school. Because they are too old for junior high, yet too young for high school, this is clearly the best solution to this ages-old dilemma of what to do with the 9th graders that nobody wants to teach.

mommymoore3 8 years, 6 months ago

I am ok with 9th graders going to the high school. It's the 6th graders going to Junior High that scares me.

mom_of_three 8 years, 6 months ago

I don't recall anything traumatic as a freshman in a four year high school. Still can't believe Lawrence hasn't done it yet. I don't think Blue Valley (?) has four year high schools yet, but is working on it, however, they let freshmen play high school basketball after their junior high seasons are over. Would be nice experience for our freshmen.

labmonkey 8 years, 6 months ago

We should move 12th grade to college. Students would have to pay for their senior year, and would be less of an educational cost burden to the state. Damn, I just solved two of the state's budget problems!!!

momof2ku 8 years, 6 months ago

Boy would my 8th grader be bummed not to get to be the big person on campus for the 9th grade year in Junior High. Maybe they will wait a couple of years. I think some 9th graders are immature to be hanging with seniors.

Mel Briscoe 8 years, 6 months ago

i agree, mom of 3... 9th graders in high school is not traumatic at all. for those folks who think that they are too young for high school-- i'm wondering where THEY went to school?... i honestly can't fathom still being in middle school at that age actually. i personally would've hated that-- especially knowing pretty much all of the other 9th graders in surrounding communities got to go to high school and i was still stuck back w/ the munchkins.

as for middle school, when i was a kid here in salina junior high was only 7th and 8th grades. about 8-9 years ago they bumped the 6th grade students up to middle school. at first i wasn't really for it... but my kids have done okay w/ that format. they keep the 6th graders pretty much in their own little "quad" and they don't intermingle w/ the bigger kids very much (if ever).

Hop2It 8 years, 6 months ago

Lawrence will be the ONLY district in the state. (The other few remaining districts that currently have the older configuration have plans in place to change.)

To start another fight, this will also most likely mean that we will be the only school district not to allow 9th graders to compete in all high school athletics.

Mel Briscoe 8 years, 6 months ago

momof2ku, just wondering, when you were a freshman in high school (assuming you were in a district where HS was 9-12), did you ever hang out w/ the seniors? first of all, what seniors want to be seen hanging out w/ freshman?? lol when my brother was a senior i was a freshman and he acted like it was horrible just giving me a ride to school or marching band practice, let alone actually chilling and spending any extended time w/ me or my friends. lol maybe that was more because i was an annoying little sister (who wasn't too fond of him and his friends either, btw) moreso than me being a freshman at the time. but i honestly can't remember ever seeing freshman and seniors socializing. and i recently had a senior (one of my children just graduated last year) and i don't ever remember him even making mention of freshmen, let alone spending any time w/ them.

spiff 8 years, 6 months ago

Wild guess: they asked the 4 oldest Merc shoppers they could find.


sgtwolverine 8 years, 6 months ago

I can honestly say this is the first time I've heard of this sort of configuration -- here in southern Michigan, ninth grade has been high school for as long as I can remember.

So...yeah. Make the move. I'm not sure why you wouldn't.

Jennifer Phythyon 8 years, 6 months ago

The school system I was in had grade school (K-6), junior high (7-9) and high school until I was a senior. That year, after adding additions to the high school, we switched a a middle school system with 6th-8th graders at middle school and 9th-12th graders at high school. Halfway through first semester, 50% of the freshmen were failing their classes. The seniors were all called to an assembly with the faculty who asked for our help tutoring the freshman. Of course we all warned before school started not to haze the incoming freshmen and sophmores.

I am not sure what is better but I do know the school system needs to be aware of socoal adjustment issues and have plans ready to address them.

FYI, this was in Green Bay, WI in the late 1980's.

Mike Wagner 8 years, 6 months ago

Does anyone know why lawrence has to be different than every other school system in the state, on everything!?

sugarmagnolia 8 years, 6 months ago

was it a requirement that you had white hair to answer this question?

Mel Briscoe 8 years, 6 months ago

LOL @ mult. :P

i don't have white hair and i have posted several responses in this thread... i guess that was a jab at the fact there are some old sonsaguns up in here-- myself included. i graduated in 1986 so yes, i guess that makes me one of the older bunch. cool. i wear that badge w/ honor. dagnabbit.

like i posted earlier, i honestly don't remember having very much interaction w/ ANYone who was a senior when i was a freshman... male or female. i had a couple of electives in which there were a sprinkling of seniors but we didn't pal around. and the senior "men" didn't bother us freshman chicks.

i went to a fairly large school-- large as far as kansas standards go (not as far as chicago or L.A. standards go tho). there were about 1,000 kids, give or take, in our school at the time. now that same school has about 200-300 more than that and my sons haven't made alot (if any) mention of freshmen getting harrassed by upperclassmen. i'm sure it has happened at some time or another but nothing noteable.

suesay 8 years, 6 months ago

In my western Kansas hometown, and at the other 3A schools in the area, gradeschool is K-4, middleschool is 5-8, and highschool is 9-12.

9070811 8 years, 6 months ago

Being in 9th grade at junior high sucked. To put it simply.
There are more opportunities in high schools. A lot of us wanted to play sports or compete in academic competitions at a level where we had more time to advance. For example, in debate, as sophomores, we were novices at FS. This put us at a disadvantage because we could only compete against novices. So, once we were juniors, we could compete any level, some restrictions applied. Most likely we completed against 3rd year debates (those who started novice as a freshman.) It was more challenging but it also made us entirely exclusive. If freshman wanted to complete, they were allowed; but only through bureaucratic means. This may seem like a minor piece of the puzzle to some, but I feel that it is applicable to many academic and athletic opportunities.

Not mention school spirit, which is a healthy concept. By your 3rd year you've grown to love your highschool, but you don't get that 4th year to live it out.

As 6th graders you have almost fully grown out of the elementary system; most activities are not mature or stimulating enough for you age and maturity level.
The same holds true for 9th graders.

The whole 14 year old in a school with an 18 year old isn't as big of deal as some think it may be. Rarely would they share classes. Even so, an administration would stress respect among peers to help close the gap to create a safe environment.

suesay 8 years, 6 months ago

Oh, and at our junior high, you'd enter in the front doors, the principal and office staff were straight ahead, 7th and 8th grade lockers and classes were down the hall to the right, and 5th and 6th grade were down the hall to the left... Not really any interaction between the two groups.

9070811 8 years, 6 months ago


Are you aware that 9th grade is highschool?

And that 9th grade level should stay at 9th grade level is exactly what will happen? 9th grade isn't switching would just be moving to more appropriate environment.

scott_andrews 8 years, 6 months ago

As a graduate of Southwest Junior High and Lawrence High School it was nice having 9th separate from high school. In 9th grade you're unable to drive (unlike the rest of high school) as well as not really mature enough to be around 18 year old kids who are ready to move on to either college or the real world. As stated by another poster, do you really want your 14 year old daughter around 18 year old men?

As far as sports and academia go, LHS and FS were more than willing to drive a bus to southwest to pick students up for sports for their respected high school team. Students at southwest also had AP math and science classes at their disposal that were of the same if not better quality with smaller class sizes.

Last but not least, why would you add an extra 300 kids to a pair of already jam packed schools. LHS was barely large enough to hold all the students when I graduated in 2004. Imagine 300 more cars on 19th between Naismith and Kentuky at 7:45 in the morning.

9070811 8 years, 6 months ago

You're right the 9th grade level is at the 9th grade level, so what kind of leveling are you talking about? No one is moving levels, the 9th grade levels are moving buildings aka schools. I don't think you read my comment correctly. And your comments read poorly.


West never had buses running from FS or LHS.

Mel Briscoe 8 years, 6 months ago

and since when are 18 year old males "men" in anyone's eyes but their own? lol

Mel Briscoe 8 years, 6 months ago

musb, if you are deliberately trying to confuse you are doing one helluva good job.

truthseeker4 8 years, 6 months ago

No, the current system is the way to go or they should have a separate ninth grade school as they do in other states. There is a vast difference in maturity between a 14 year old and 18 year old and not so much between between a 14 year old and a 12 year old. If its not broke dont fix it and cause overcrowding and additional tax dollars to be spent. They just cut bus funding for some elementary students why spend the funds on a non issue. I thinks this is possibly a ploy to beef up the high school teams, like wrestling etc. Once again money spent on sports instead of the safety of little children. Where are the studies proving this is a better route academically.

Hop2It 8 years, 6 months ago

trusthseeker4.... starting this year, 9th graders will wrestler with the high school teams. It IS a safety issue because it wasn't safe to have 9th graders wrestling 7th graders.

mom_of_three 8 years, 6 months ago

I was in a class to be in the first freshmen in high school, in a 5A school. Freshmen lockers, and lockers of all, were separated by grade. Don't know too many seniors who would be taking classes with freshmen, so limited interaction except at lunch, or band, before or after school when everyone was leaving. Tried drama and band with lots of upperclassmen, and no problems. The only problem we had is if we went down senior steps, which no one could do but seniors. I survived high school there, don't remember being harrassed by seniors of any sex and don't remember it being unpleasant. It wasn't traumatic at all.
Then I went to another high school which was 3A/4A and a 4 year for many years before i got there. I remember being a freshmen in a class with juniors (transfer issues), and I was helping them with their homework! No biggie whatsoever. Gym class had freshmen through seniors, including track, band, etc. and no bad experiences, (except with a guy my own age, but that's another story). It was a natural progression, because 9th graders are in high school, as far as permanent records go. And we were told then that it was because 9th graders maturity is more at the high school level than with 7th and 8th graders.

mom_of_three 8 years, 6 months ago

by the way, the 5A school still had a freshmen football team, basketball team, etc., unless you were good enough to make jv or varsity.

maxcrabb 8 years, 6 months ago

Get ready to rebuild Lawrence High to accommodate the new students on top of the growing enrollment rates...

Hop2It 8 years, 6 months ago

Hang around the junior high sometime. I have some scary news for those of you with with daughters. Many of those 9th graders also greatly resemble men.

Mel Briscoe 8 years, 6 months ago

true true, hop. my son is a sophomore and is 6 feet tall w/ broad shoulders... he was pretty much the same size a year ago.

i also agree w/ what mom of 3 said... i just don't see how 9th graders in the same building w/ 12th graders poses any real risk or problem. i am like her, i went to a 5A school that was 9-12 and had no problems w/ upperclassmen when i was a lowly freshman.

and i especially agree w/ autie. c'est la vie.

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