Swimming up Stream
Ms. Cornelius over at A Shrewdness of Apes picked up on my previous post about high school transitions. She links to a wonderful article about how a school is trying to solve the difficult transition between middle school and high school. I had mentioned the idea of a week of "camp" to help students transition. A commentor on Ms. Cornelius's post related this to the week of orientation that many universities do and to the newer efforts to have students take classes during the summer.
First, though, we must admit that too many of our school districts do not do a very good job of streamlining the flow of students from one building to the next. For instance, a group of students may start out at Feel Good Elementary School. After spending K-5 together, they join Poverty Elementary School and Rich Side of Tracks Elementary School at We'll Pass You Middle School. Meanwhile, We Don't Care Elementary School and You're Not From Here Elementary School get together at We Don't Have the Renovation Money Middle School. Both middle schools move students along through the eight grade. Many of the students have been together since elementary school, but at the least, have been together for three years.
Then, when it is time to go to high school, districts take 3/4 of the We Don't Have the Renovation Money Middle School students and send them to Way Downtown High School. 1/4 then go to Every Room with a View High School to join the full population of We'll Pass You Middle School.
Confusing? Yes. The middle schools and the high schools don't communicate. Some students benefit from district lines, while others are shipped off to join students they've never attended school with.
I really do like the idea, especially after writing this confusing and muddled post, of having all ninth graders attend a week long orientation. It is unfortunate that it would get in the way of the parents' lives. Seriously.