Middle Grades Improvement
The past two decades have seen a shift from preadolescents attending junior high schools to their attending middle schools. But the change is more than just semantic. Junior high schools, acting as little high schools, were impersonal places. Today's middle schools try to help the whole child, academically and socially, at this transitional point in their lives.
Research consistently identifies the middle grades as one of a few crucial crossroads in the American system of public education. In short, middle grades students either acquire the knowledge and skills they need to achieve in high school and beyond, or they fall critically behind and struggle to overcome intellectual underdevelopment for the rest of their educational careers.
But recently, critics claim, schools have become too soft around the middle. NAEP scores and reports from other education groups across the country point to less emphasis on academics and more on young adolescents' developmental characteristics.
The key to a successful middle school, proponents say, is a healthy focus on academic results, not just student development. Foundations and community groups nationwide are working to involve citizens in middle school reform--at a time when many districts witness an exodus of students from public to private schools after the sixth grade.
The following links demonstrate the work being done to make middle schools more effective.