Saturday, November 21, 2015

6th Grade: It's going to be OK

One of the biggest transitions a student will experience is the jump from 5th grade in elementary school to 6th grade in middle school. 

In 5th grade, you may have had one teacher... in 6th grade, you may have up to six (!) teachers.

In 5th grade, you got to use a Chromebook during class... in 6th grade, you get a Chromebook to take home every night!

In 5th grade, you were in one classroom... in 6th grade, you might travel all over the campus to find your many classrooms.

In 5th grade, you were part of a small school community... in 6th grade, the number of grade level peers has tripled!

For many of our 6th grade students, there's a time of adjustment during this transition. For our 6th grade parents, this time of adjustment usually takes a good bit longer. Occasionally, our parents will share their thoughts on the school year, reflecting on how their student's 1st year in middle school went. Below is one such email, edited only for names.

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We would like to recognize the staff at Union Middle School for the support our son received.  (Ms. Bruton, Ms. Zangwill, Mrs. Bankston, Mrs. Holmes, Mrs. Reynolds, Ms. Claire, Ms. Mantell, Mr. Barnes, Mr. Tim, Mrs. Dorazio, both Jills in the office, and Mr. Feinberg) -- I hope I didn’t leave anyone out!

We weren’t sure what to expect from the staff at UMS and were very open regarding our concerns. Our son has grown so much for the 2014-2015 school years as a 6th grader. We were very proud of him for facing his anxiety and overcoming so many obstacles.  This was the first school year where they looked forward to school (ok not always), and we, as parents, enjoyed his accomplishments like never before. Sure, in the past, there were enjoyable moments... but not like this year. Honestly, it was unexpected but greatly appreciated!

We feel it’s so important that each staff member listed above know the impact they had on our son. Their success for 6th grade is due not only to our son's hard work but especially to each and every one of you for embracing him in a positive way!  We know many of you, if not all, went above and beyond -- BOY DID HE THRIVE!!

We would like to give a very special acknowledgment to Ms. Bruton.  Without her ongoing support, I honestly don’t know what our year would have been like. She went above and well beyond for our son and was a complete blessing! Can we clone her? (Todd note: you have my permission to do so)

We could write a book and speak of the many ways we are grateful. I am sure you already know what an amazing staff you have at UMS. We will continue to celebrate the success and push through the challenges!

During elementary school, his academics were always a constant concern from the staff perspective. We didn't give up on him! With the drastic change in the staff environment from elementary school to middle school, our son didn't just survive.. he thrived. His hard work didn't go unnoticed as he made the honor roll all 4 quarters. 

Many tear of sadness were shed over the years and I am happy to say this year we shed HAPPY TEARS!!! From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU ALL FOR GIVING US THE BIGGEST GIFT ALL YEAR!!!

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As a site administrators, I love these emails. I wish more parents sent such feedback for the positive things our staff does daily. I'm also thankful for this student's experience in 6th grade. We can't promise rainbows for everyone, but it is definitely our goal. It's a good goal to have.

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