Some people feel that the elementary school years are the most important, I suggest that all the middle grades are pivotal in the development of our children. Their middle school experience will chart the waters for all future academic successes or failures. I suggest the the best placement for your child in in a K-8 environment. In this article i share some sound educational research that support my premise.This is a summary report from the Center for Education Reform: The K-8 Solution: The Retreat from Middle Schools. Excerpts: Middle schools, for one, have been called the “weak link” of public education. According to researchers, the transition to middle school is often a difficult one for students, and during these years, there is often a problem with discipline, absenteeism and low test scores. This seems to be a well-designed study, looking at student achievement over ten years for students in K-8 vs. elementary /middle schools (k-5 and 6-8 or k-6 and 7-8) in New York City. Education researchers began looking at the middle school model and comparing it with the K-8 schools. They found that there are benefits to the latter model. Some of these benefits are: o Safety – Parents and children feel safer in a K-8 school as they become older because they are secure in their location and enjoy continuity. o Engagement – Studies have shown students do not suffer the same motivational
declines in schoolwork and extra-curricular activities when they stay in a K-8 school. Discipline problems and absences also are reduced.
o Achievement – Research has shown that students do not experience the same academic declines when the middle school transition is eliminated.
The results find that older K-8 schools do perform significantly better than Middle Schools, and that this advantage is adequately explained by the two school type’s differing student and teacher populations, differences in average grade size, and the extra school transition that Middle School students must make from elementary to the middle grades.
When the Middle School model was first established, it was with the notion that by isolating those middle grades years, the schools would be perfectly suited to handling both the academic and emotional needs of those early adolescents to which they would cater.
Parents often praise the greater sense of community that they feel exists in K-8 schools, and several studies have noted the stronger relationships that seem to exist between students, between teachers, between students and teachers, and between parents and teachers in K-8 schools. That K-8 schools are often closer to home in terms of travel is also an aspect that parents appreciate, and that the schools are then even more of a local neighborhood school adds to their greater sense of community. In addition, parents also like that the longer grade span allows for families with several children to have siblings in the same school for longer periods of time.