Incoming sixth graders are finding that starting school a day early has helped the transition to middle school for the 200 incoming students at Central Middle School in Muscatine, Iowa.
The incoming class is the largest in recent memory, according to Principal Terry Hogenson. Students are coming from smaller schools of 200 to 400 students total to a school of 600 students. They get lockers for the first time, and have more teachers. They also change classes, instead of staying in their homeroom.
The district devised “New Muskie Day” for sixth and ninth graders as they adjusted to their new schools.
“We just want the kids to feel comfortable here at school so we’ve divided them up into their homeroom, who they’ll be with for the entire year. So they just did team-building activities, getting to know them a little bit, having fun,” said Ellen Carey, a sixth grade science and social studies teacher at Central.
One fun way the teachers welcomed new students was to divide the incoming class into houses themed by superheros – Avengers and Justice League. Those houses will remain the same throughout the year. Teachers are assigned to each house “so it kind of minimizes the different teachers that they are exposed to so that should make it a little more like the elementary, give them a little bit more stability,” said Hogensen.