One school district is planning to have sixth grade academies ease transition to middle school for younger students.

Soft SkillsDecatur City Schools will create sixth grade academies at three middle schools next year, segregating sixth graders from the older students.  The idea is to make the transition easier for elementary students.

“This will eliminate a lot of fears parents and students have and create a buffer to make the transition easier,” said Brookhaven Middle School Principal Anita Clarke.

Sixth grade academies are not new to education but have not caught on in Alabama.  Decatur City Schools have considered the idea before.

In the past, Decatur invited fifth graders to tour the middle school, and held an orientation. But many parents have felt that this is not enough, and welcome the change.

While there are challenges to creating the academies, such as classroom space and transitions, there is confidence that those challenges can be met.

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