Keep the 5th graders at Merriam Ave School





The Newton Board of Education will be voting on whether or not to move the 5th grade students to the antiquated Halsted Middle School for the 2014/2015 school year. This pending decision was brought to parent’s attention just 3 weeks ago, and has not been properly researched or planned. We ask the Board of Education to keep in mind the following:

More than 40 years of National Middle School Association research studies show that 10 and 11 year olds are NOT mature enough to handle the pressures that exist from older students. Developmentally, students in grades 6, 7 and 8 have more in common in terms of physical, psychological, social and intellectual development than do those in other age-grade combinations. Fifth grade students typically have not yet reached early adolescence. Fifth grade student's developmental level is more closely linked with students in grade four.

Grade level configuration determinations should not be determined based on a desire to increase the preschool population, but the foundation of an educational program that is student-centered and meets the needs of young adolescent learners.

While 5th grade was in the Halsted Middle School previously, a referendum was passed to build an addition to the existing elementary school and move the 5th grade back to the elementary school. This was decided by the voting members of our community. Clearly it was done so for a reason- it is the best learning environment for our young children.

The Newton Board of Education has yet to release any educational impact studies and has not presented any educational advantages of a 5-8 middle school configuration existing within the walls of an outdated building that is nearly a century old, with limited facilities, a limited life span, no field space, and limited access for students with disabilities.

There are other viable options that should be considered, including moving the preschool to Project Self-Sufficiency, or even Halsted. Preschoolers do not require the same facilities currently available to our k-5 students, i.e. science lab.

We strongly oppose moving 5th graders into the Halsted Middle School. Please keep academics, and the k-5 children, at the forefront of your decision-making process.

Discussion

  • Virginia V. Salmon As a middle school teacher who taught 6th, 7th, and 8th graders, I know that 5th graders are not emotionally prepared to handle the stresses of middle school. All students deserve to feel loved, protected and confident in their school surroundings.

  • Jennifer Geuther The middle school is not the appropriate place for 5th graders, developmentally or educationally.

  • Dawn Callahan dawnmatt32@gmail.com

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