Sixth Graders in Middle School
Opportunities Expand for Sixth Graders
Posted on 10/31/2016
Cross Country is one sport sixth graders can join.

Sixth graders like Joshua Ryder got something new this year: class choices.

This fall, sixth grade moved into Central Kitsap’s middle schools. With the move came expanded options, including two electives.

transitioning to the new middle school model

For Joshua, picking electives was easy. His first choice was Aviation Classroom Experience (ACE). It made him remember how much fun he had using a flight simulator in third grade. He’s also in band. “For me, it feels like in middle school you get to do a lot more than in elementary,” Joshua said.

The sixth grade move is the last major milestone of Central Kitsap School District’s transition to a grade 6 through 8 middle school model. The structure inside middle schools changed. Teachers began to team up by grade instead of subject. Middle schools adopted new strategies to ease transition and build positive cultures.

Along with electives, sixth graders also have a half-period to get help, catch up on homework or join enrichment activities. “The move has gone remarkably well,” said Executive Director of Secondary Teaching and Learning Franklyn MacKenzie. “Students have really taken advantage of all the new opportunities available to them.”

Many sixth graders had good things to say about their first month in middle school.

Maddy Goble got excited about joining cross-country running. Sixth graders can join a sport three seasons a year. “We get to go to meets, it’s really cool,” she said. After that, she recounted her school’s first-place wins at recent meets with pride.

And many students like Joshua, enjoy their electives.“The electives are meant to be engaging, fun, connecting and inspiring,” said Ridgetop counselor Steve Lee. “We want something that just hooks you. Even if there’s just one class that hooks a kid, they’ll come to school.”

Elijah Lopez is excited about diving in to his favorite subject. “I never got to do a lot of art in elementary,” Elijah said. He’s now in an introduction to arts & crafts class.

Recently, Joshua’s ACE class learned about air pressure. His ACE teacher, Barbara Bromley is one of the many sixth grade teachers who followed students into the middle schools.

Bromley and a longtime volunteer invited students to hop in a trash bag as they sucked all the air out. Joshua, like his classmates, couldn’t contain his giggles as he got shrink-wrapped. Students could more easily feel air pressure as the bag pushed down and stretched against their bodies.

Joshua said he mostly doesn’t miss elementary school. “It’s fun to go from (an elementary) that does a lot to go to a (middle) school that does even more—and have more fun,” Joshua said.