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School system cancels sixth-grade experi

9 comments, 1006 views, posted 6:28 am 09/04/2007 in News by Sauramon
Sauramon has 2708 posts, 676 threads, 0 points
Jellybaby anyone ??

Staff Reporter

A yearlong experiment that held select sixth-graders in elementary school rather than moving them up to middle school is being halted by the Mobile County Public School System.

This year, St. Elmo, Holloway, Howard and Forest Hill elementary schools kept their sixth-graders. But next year, rising sixth-graders from those schools will go to middle school just as their counterparts at the system's 60 other elementary schools do, system officials recently decided.

Though the plan was touted last year as a way to help the puberty-aged students academically and socially, that has not been the case, according to a system report released recently. At the four elementary schools participating in the pilot program this year, behavior problems were up and grades were down.

"It was a good idea on paper," said Johnnita Bryant, principal of Florence Howard Elementary off Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in Mobile. "It's just that it didn't work out in reality."

Sixth-graders at the four elementary schools, on average, scored lower on the system's quarterly standardized tests, known as CRT's, than sixth-graders in the county's middle schools did, according to the report.

There was a negative stigma attached to the sixth-graders who were "held back," according to the report. And younger children at the schools tried to emulate bad behaviors and actions of the sixth-graders.

"We learned a lot of lessons from this," Deputy Superintendent Samantha Ingram told the school board at a recent meeting. The board voted unanimously to end the pilot program.

The original thought behind the sixth-grade experiment was that students would benefit by staying in the system's elementary schools, which have improved over the last couple of years.

Instead, Bryant said, the students longed to be in middle school.

"When they were our fifth-graders, they were excellent fifth-graders, but this year, we've gotten very little out of them," Bryant said. "Our children just shut down. They would not do, not because they couldn't -- we were aware they had the skills and ability -- but because they didn't want to."

It always looks so good on paper.


6:46 am 09/04/2007

cupcake queen

well yes what did they expect to get from these children.. They expect to be out of elementary school and into a new school. These children need the diversity learn how to intergrate classes and well hell at 6th grade they are no longer babies.

7:55 am 09/04/2007


i was in 'elementary' school in 6th grade. but so was everyone else in my hometown. that's just how it was. 9th grade was in 'junior high' as well.

8:04 am 09/04/2007


I went to a Catholic school from 1st to 8th grade,(maybe thats why I'm so screwed up now), then went into high school, 9th to 12th grades. I guess it differs from state to state. But then again, maybe thats why the education system is now so screwed up in this country, because the "standardized testing" came in too late.

10:55 am 09/04/2007


Out here we have Elementary (1-4), Intermediate (5-6), Middle (7-9) and High School

It gets really confusing from time to time.

11:03 am 09/04/2007


I live here now, but, NY city born and raised, thats why the difference.

4:13 pm 09/04/2007


In 1990 my school did the same thing. they moved the 6th graders to "middle school" so 6,7, and 8th graders were all together. What we got was a lot of wimpy little punks roaming the halls, and as a result policies were put in place that trumped a lot of freedoms that us "upper classmen" used to have, like open lunch and unsupervised activities. It dumbed the school down and actually held the older kids back and made the transition from 8 to 9th grade that much harder.

4:31 pm 09/04/2007


Junior school here (4-12) and secondary (12-16) after that it's up to you, either get a job, stay on for another 2 years at school, or go to college...

8:09 pm 09/04/2007


Elementary K-5, Middle School 6-9, and High School 9-12 here.

2:07 am 10/04/2007


I am a bit confused about the middle school till 9 and HS at 9. Do you have to go to 9th grade twice. Man that would suck!!!

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