As milestones go, the gearshift from elementary to middle school is a major one. Passing periods, locker combos and (gasp) no recess, oh my! A different building is maybe the least of the differences.
That’s why DMPS does Success 4 Sixth, a transitional primer for 6th graders-to-be, the cohort whose horizons are on the verge of serious expansion.
Wednesday it was Callanan’s turn to welcome and reassure its incoming class.
“We’ve done this orientation program for 10 years now,” said Jennifer Stalder, the district’s SUCCESS Elementary & Secondary Supervisor. “Participation levels vary some from school to school, but overall about 50% of new 6th graders take part.”
In small groups, students toured the Callanan campus, inside and out, mapping their new routes. They went on scavenger hunts, played Family Feud and Kahoots (a game-based learning software) and engaged in other fun exercises that will enable them to sail safely through the daunting straits of 6th grade.
No one ever regrets taking advantage of the sneak peek. They’re the ones who will hit the middle school halls running, figuratively speaking, on Opening Day – which is only three weeks away (gulp)!
SUCCESS is located in a majority of district elementary schools and all of the secondary schools. SUCCESS Case Managers in each building develop relationships with students and families to facilitate coordination of resources in the areas of education, health, and human services. Students are referred to the program based on the DMPS Early Indicator System (EIS), which identifies students deemed at risk of dropping out due to poor attendance, behavior, poor grades or low achievement scores.
Success 4 6th is available to all students as they arrive at a key crossroad in their educational development.
In one morning session of Family Feud, the Supreme Team took on The Superstars. Data gleaned from actual surveys of 6th grade students were the basis for a friendly competition about subjects like necessary school supplies, preparation for schooldays and effective strategies for making new friends.
Meanwhile, another friendly competition was going on in the hallway between teachers and students to see who was faster at safecracking locker doors.
The students looked and sounded ready. Seldom was heard an apprehensive word. All that’s left now is to clear the clutter of summer maintenance and remodeling projects from the halls and classrooms so there will be room for the 7th and 8th graders too. August is upon us!
A new school year is always a transition and a fresh start for all concerned, but that’s especially true in 2018-19 as DMPS implements new bell times at all levels. If everybody just follows the confident example of the 6th graders across the district who already have the tumblers falling into place on the right combinations for middle school success, hey, we got this.