The Edmonds School District said it is over capacity in its K-6 elementary schools, and future projections make the situation even more serious.
In the spring 2018, the district’s enrollment committee recommended that the district reconfigure the current grade structure, moving 6th grade students from elementary to middle school. While it would be the best fit for overcrowding issues, the district now needs to determine if it’s also the best fit for the students.
in a school district newsletter sent to parents and the community last week, Westgate Elementary Principal Jennifer Braille noted she 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,” she said.
An earlier move to middle school could give 6th grade students more access to advanced academic options as well as electives and specialized programs, the district noted.
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,” Yuhan said. “They need a sense of community that takes time to build.”
The Association for Middle Level Education — a national organization dedicated to the education of adolescents — points out that students ages 10-15 years old 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.”