Columbia Junior Highs in Final Week

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COLUMBIA - Columbia Public Schools will let out for the summer this week. By next year, there will be three new middle schools added to the district. In the fall, the district will transition to only having middle schools.

Jefferson Junior High, Oakland Junior High and West Junior High will all be middle schools in the fall. Right now, eighth and ninth graders attend the three junior high schools. In the fall, eigth graders will be a part of the middle schools and ninth graders will be attending the district's high schools.

Students at Jefferson Junior High believe this change makes sense.

"I think it is right, that is where ninth graders are supposed to be," ninth grade student Zach Logan said.

While teachers agree this is a logical change, some still feel there is an advantage to using the junior high system.

According to Jefferson Junior High teacher Kathy Steinhoff, junior high allows ninth graders to have "the chance to nurture that responsibility and leadership before moving into high school."

Nearly 50 percent of Jefferson Junior High's teachers will either be transferring to different schools or retiring. Assistant Principal Deborah Greene said most of those who are moving schools will be teaching at nearby high schools. Greene said this is because the teachers are more high school-oriented. The number of principals and assistant principals at Jefferson will also drop from three to two.

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