How would you feel as a little kindergartener walking into your first day of school next to an eighth-grader three times your height? This is how it will be for Howe Magnet School students now moving into Central Park Middle School, and also for King Magnet School, which will be expanding to a K-8 school next year.
Grouping this large range of students is a mistake. The range of maturity levels of students in this school would be colossal. You’re putting young children who are still learning manners and the very basics, with older children from all different walks of life.
Should younger children be exposed to the constant slamming of lockers? Or the trivial fights between older students? How can they keep the two different environments from colliding? The one environment would be understanding and child-friendly for young children, the other harsh with no exceptions for the older students. Eventually it cannot be avoided any longer and chances for young children to be exposed to more adult-like situations will become more frequent.
Maturity levels will be pulled in both directions, but I think students overall will be less mature. Middle school was created for a reason. It is three years of transition from being babied to learning to handle more and more on your own. By keeping all these students together, the older students will not get the full experience of learning to accept their responsibilities.
Coming in as ninth-graders to the high school, the students will be thrown into a shark pool of students. How will these students survive if they had not gradually learned how to mature and be responsible? I think the younger students around the older ones in the K-8 buildings will have a negative effect on both sides.
A one day visit to the high school for eighth-graders or a week long orientation during the summer will not be enough. These are just small glimpses into the high school. You will not know until you are there and you experience everything for yourself. High school is worlds away from elementary school. High school prepares you for college, as middle school prepares you for high school. Middle school is a significant enough step up from elementary school to be beneficial to students, I know from experience.
The combination of all these grades is an unnecessary change. This will hurt the students in the future. This is too much of a hassle for everyone, students and teachers, with not enough pay off in the end. Is the possibility of a slight raise of state testing scores really worth messing with a child’s natural transition through schooling?
Lena LeGere is a sophomore at Schenectady High School