By Ali Lasell
Iam excited for more Jeffco sixth graders to have the opportunities those in the Chatfield, Evergreen, and Conifer area already experience.
After much discussion and 12 community forums in Spring of 2016, Jeffco Schools is beginning to move ahead with the middle school model in August of 2018. This greatly increases the benefits for our students. A three-year experience means more choice for students. Currently, Jeffco sixth graders attending middle schools with the 6-8 model participate in two or three electives each day, while those in the K-6 model have one elective each day. During my 26 years as a middle school teacher, I saw firsthand that electives are key to keeping students engaged. Content areas are also critical, and in the 6-8 model students are taught by content specialists who have the benefit of planning with other experts at all three grade levels with more resources. In addition, sixth graders have access to lab science, and all accelerated students attending a 6-8 model can take advanced math classes, such as algebra and geometry. Finally, a three-year experience brings greater stability, avoiding back-to-back transition years for our students.
One of the biggest keys to making this transition a success will be our elementary school teachers. I hope to see them choose to make this move. This does not require new certification to teach sixth grade. Teachers with 25 college credits in a content area are considered “highly qualified” in that subject to teach seventh and eighth grade.
As a sixth grade teacher back when Adams 12 transitioned to the 6-8 model, I saw what a positive change this was for our students and our educators. I look forward to more consistent experiences for Jeffco sixth graders, and a stronger middle school experience for all.
Ali Lasell is 1st Vice President for the Jeffco School Board. Questions for this guest writer or suggestions for future guest writers should be sent in to Guy@NostalgicHomes.com