Monday, January 22, 2007

Taking the Middle out of Middle school

A really excellent article, part of a series, in the NY Times today about middle schools (6-8) versus K-8 versus 6-12.

This article covers the bases for me. It points out two main ideas:
-what may work for one child may not be the best thing for another and,
-what, in the end, makes the real difference is smaller class size and personalization.

Going to a huge middle school like Eckstein or Whitman or Washington could be quite startling to a 5th grader at a 400-seat elementary school. From my experience, many kids do really well and enjoy a new group of kids, a new school building and being treated as an older student. But I can see benefits to all 3 kinds of schools.

My first reaction to a 6-12 academy was no way because I wouldn't want junior/senior boys around 6th/7th grade girls (I've got boys so this is no slam against boys). The point that succeeds for me is the carrying the idea that you are working towards being ready to go to college and that a student would see the succession of work towards that goal. Middler schoolers can be dreamers and often don't get with the program until late 8th grade year. It can almost be too late then for good study habits and catching up for high school level work. I could believe seeing others working towards college and seeing, for example, the names of colleges where students had been accepted posted outside the office would open a middle schooler's eyes.

1 comment:

Beth Bakeman said...

The TAF Academy plans to follow the 6-12 model. I hope they successfully get one off the ground. I'd be very interested in seeing the impacts both of the focused, rigorous, integrated curriculum and the 6-12 grade grouping.