Easing the Transition to Junior High
Mexico Junior High is home to 6th, 7th and 8th grades. But, some teachers noticed a rude wakeup call for 6th graders, so the proposed change hopes to ease the strain on students.
"Hopefully, to help our students, the bottom line is to reduce dropout rates and to get all students reading on grade level," explained Superintendent Lloyd Little.
The superintendent and other educators believe the middle school plan offers students more supervision and an easier transition to junior high. The model combines 6th grade teachers in teams and rotates students through four classrooms for two-thirds of each schoolday. The district would pay for the program out of its rainy day fund.
"We don't want to drop below 10%," Little added. "But, you know, we've got to start carefully monitoring that money to make sure that we're maximizing our dollars to improve student instruction."
Little said the Mexico district has $3.7 million in its rainy day fund. He said the district had middle school 10 years ago, but dropped it because of staff and budget cuts. If the school board passes the proposal in May, the middle school model will start in the fall.
Little also wants a computerized reading program called Fast Forword, where students work 50 minutes a day for 8-12 weeks. He said nine out of every 10 students who used Fast Forword gained 1-2 years of reading ability. Little wants to start that program right away.