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Is Moving 6th graders to Middle School an Option?

Is Moving 6th graders to Middle School an Option?
Posted on 03/11/2019

Sam Yuhan, principal at College Place Middle, says "Middle school students need to feel they belong."The numbers are clear: Edmonds School District is over capacity at the elementary level and future projections make the situation even more serious. In the spring of 2018, our Enrollment Committee made the recommendation to reconfigure the current grade structure, moving 6th-grade students from elementary to middle school. It would be the best fit for over-crowding issues, but the District needs to determine if it’s also the best fit for our students.


Jennifer Braile, Westgate Elementary Principal, has worked as a teacher and administrator at elementary, middle school, and junior high (7th-9th grade) levels. Our 6th-grade students are ready for the high academic expectations that are incorporated within the middle school environment.


An earlier move to middle school could give 6th-grade students more access to advanced academic options as well as electives and specialized programs. “We have a large group of 6th graders from College Place Elementary who take advantage of the proximity and already utilize our school and benefit from the additional time and opportunities,” said Sam Yuhan, principal at College Place Middle. “It’s great to have them on our campus for band twice a week, and it would be wonderful to be able to offer them more options”


Moving 6th grade to middle school would also increase the time before the students’ next transition, from middle school to high school.  With a 7th and 8th grade model, half of the students are coming and half are going in any given school year. “Middle school students need to feel they belong. They need a sense of community that takes time to build,” said Yuhan.


The Association for Middle Level Education, a national organization dedicated to the education of adolescents, points out that students ages 10-15 need educational programs that serve their unique developmental needs. That is, students at this age need educational programs that are developmentally responsive, challenging, empowering, and equitable.  

“The leap between 5th and 6th grade is towards applying skills and going deeper in content areas,” said Sherwood Elementary Principal, Christi Kessler. “We are working to support our 6th graders move towards this depth of knowledge and prepare them for the rigor of middle school.”

Edmonds School District will continue to examine the idea of a change to our middle school model from all angles before making a decision, and we’d like your input.
Please take our online survey at bit.ly/ESD6thGrade and look for additional information and further opportunities to provide input in the future.  

Any potential changes would not impact the 2019-2020 middle school configurations, but would be considerations for future school years.

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