Jenny and I (and Brinky) went to Open House for the middle school Jenny will be attending next year last night. And if you’re wondering, no, I can’t believe Jenny’s old enough to be getting ready to enter middle school. It hasn’t been that long since she was born, has it? I actually said that to her in the car on the way home. “Man, Jenny, you’re getting old. Can you believe it’s almost time for you to go to middle school?” Her response? Just yes. She’s ready.
Jenny was so excited about last night’s open house and learning more about middle school, but I have to admit that while I was excited to learn more, I was concerned that middle school would just seem like such a huge change. Too much for my little girl. And for us. But I’m happy to say that I was so impressed by the school and the things they do to help make that transition easier.
- Sixth graders have a two teacher team for their core classes, rather than 4 individual teachers for those classes (language arts, math, science and social studies). They spend the majority of the day with those two teachers, and those teachers really get to know their students.
- They are mostly isolated from the upper grades. Their classes are in separate pods. They don’t eat lunch with upperclassmen. They don’t have lockers in hallways with upperclassmen. As one of the teachers pointed out, eighth graders look a lot more like men and women than little sixth graders, so it’s better to keep them separated early on, and I think it helps the school with their attempt to limit bullying.
What are we most excited about for middle school?
- Electives! We’re excited to talk with Jenny about what classes she wants to take outside of those core classes. She has to take PE and a language, and she says she wants to take French. Neither of us took French, so Lee’s ready to learn some French with her.
- Getting straight A’s! The reward for getting straight A’s is a trip to the mall. You can guess that Jenny’s already motivated to get right on that. There was a constant focus on the fact that it’s cool to be smart.
- Clubs and extracurricular activities! Jenny can’t believe there’s a limit of only four extracurricular activities. She wants to play sports, do battle of the books again, maybe yearbook, art club, Lego club, student council, honor societies, and who knows what else. Pretty much anything we saw. I just hope all those activities don’t end up requiring her to stay after school every day, requiring a middle of the afternoon pickup.
What are we not ready for?
- 7:00 school. There wasn’t much focus on the fact that middle school starts an hour earlier than elementary school. That’s early, isn’t it? Not much talk about how we’re supposed to get her to go to sleep earlier at night and be ready to get on the bus at 6:20.
- 7:00 school means 10:00 lunch. Again, that’s early, isn’t it? But I guess she’ll be home an hour earlier too and eat her real lunch then.
- Middle school social activities. Jenny will want to attend every sporting event and anything else she can attend. I know that’s a good thing, but life will be even busier than it already is.
- 1,200 students. That’s how many kids are in the middle school Jenny will attend. There were 500 kids, in 5 grades, in my high school. There are 600-something kids in their elementary school for 6 grades. 1,200 kids in 3 grades. That’s huge to me.
- Having kids at two different schools (and a baby). Next year will be our first year experiencing life with kids in different schools, if you don’t count the years when Reagan was in daycare and Jenny was in elementary school. And they won’t be in school together again until Jenny’s senior year of high school!
Overall, the open house made me feel more ready for the middle school transition, which I honestly wasn’t expecting. But I still can’t believe Jenny will be in middle school next year.