A new schedule for sixth graders eases middle school entry and makes the transition from elementary to middle school smoother.
“We want a better transition for the students,” said Le Mars Community Middle School Principal Steve Shanks. “We want the students to feel like they belong here.”
There will be longer class periods and students will have more time with teachers to work on assignments and classwork.
According to Shanks, the current middle school schedule is similar to high school, with nine 42-minute periods.
“There is just a really big gap between what sixth graders do and what the middle school does,” Shanks said, “And the transition from fifth to sixth is larger than it should be. We think we can make the transition better.”
Administrators and teachers looked at research on what makes successful middle schools.
“We’re implementing some of those research-based programs so the transition is better,” Shanks said.
The schedule means sixth graders will start their school day differently than the rest of the middle school.
Sixth grade students will start at 8:25 a.m. with a daily advisory period, 22 minutes long.
“We look at this time as giving the students team building skills, a chance to get to know one another and set academic and social goals,” Shanks said.
The concept is similar to home room, but happens at the beginning of the school day.
“We want to to have a good, safe place for students to start their day,” Shanks said. “The teachers and students will discuss what will be going on during the school day.”
Class time for core subjects of math, literacy, science and social studies will be 67 minutes each day, compared to the 42 minutes the seventh and eighth students will have.
The longer class time for those core subjects will give teachers the opportunity to go in depth and then review subject matter with students each day.