Students, administrators explain transition from elementary to middle school at orientation

By Matthew Bernat | Jan 18, 2018
Photo by: Matthew Bernat Wareham Middle School Principal Dr. Peter Steedman addresses parents at a fifth grade orientation held Thursday.

New schedules, higher academic expectations and the transition from elementary to middle school were discussed at a recent fifth grade orientation. But there was one topic on most parents’ minds: what are the sixth and seventh graders like?

“You don’t have to worry about the older kids,” fifth grader Hannah Milne assured parents at Wareham Middle School’s auditorium Thursday night.

Principal Dr. Peter Steedman led the event with help from some fifth graders who fielded questions. Steedman said expectations are higher for fifth grade students compared to fourth graders. He didn’t let parents take his word for it, however.

“We do more work for assignments,” said fifth grader Patrick Tripp. “But we have about the same amount of assignments. Teachers want us to develop better writing, math and science skills.”

Steedman added the transition doesn’t happen all at once, and there is time for teachers to ease students into the new curriculum.

In addition to academics, parents expressed concerns about fifth graders mixing older students and the potential for bullying. In the middle school, fifth grade classrooms are all in one wing and older students aren’t allowed there, students explained.

Regarding transportation, students from fifth grade through high school seniors all share buses. Patrick said fifth grade students are seated near the front, followed by sixth and seventh graders. High schoolers are all assigned seats in the back.

Administrators also explained that the day’s structure will be different for middle schoolers compared to elementary students. Grade five students are assigned a homeroom teacher and will be part of a two teacher team of about 40 to 50 students. They will teach English, math, science and social studies. Students also take one term each of either physical education, art, music and health.

On a lighter note, Hannah touched on lunch, saying that there are three lines in the cafeteria. And it doesn’t matter which one students pick because “they’re all delicious.”

Fifth grade students Patrick Tripp and Hannah Milne answer questions from parents of current fourth graders. (Photo by: Matthew Bernat)
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