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School board addresses 6th grade schedule

Zappone believes sixth grade should return to elementary school

Staff writer

Peabody-Burns High School social worker Sarah Grout presented changes to the PBHS and Peabody-Burns Junior High School class schedule Monday to the USD 398 Board of Education.

In the first year of making the schedule from scratch, Grout said one of her primary goals was accommodating sixth graders in junior high. To give the class an environment more akin to elementary school, they will have their own band, physical education, and lunch classes. Some courses were combined to give sixth graders more time with one teacher.

Although it is instituted for all junior high levels, the addition of a second language arts class should help sixth graders assimilate to state requirements, Grout said.

“We’re trying to create an elementary environment,” Grout said.

Board member Tony Zappone also wanted to talk about the sixth grade.

“They don’t belong there,” Zappone said.

Grout said that the transition for sixth graders in their first year at the junior high has been difficult.

“Going from one teacher, all day, to moving classes every 40 to 50 minutes, it’s an adjustment for these kids,” Grout said.

She added that the change has not been the norm for the class and that teachers will work harder to educate fifth graders on simple experiences, like finding a locker, which should help the transition.

Zappone said he was against the move from the very beginning two years ago and suggested the grade move back to PBES. Board members Shayla Clark and Glen Parks said they were also not fans of the sixth grade being at PBJHS. Parks cited athletic concerns with students not being able to participate in recreation league and junior high sports at the same time due to junior high regulations.

With accommodating sixth graders, Grout also talked about several new classes.

New classes include: 21st century journalism and expanded project based learning. Classes offered through interactive digital learning are health science 1, meteorology, and human body systems.

While the board did not vote on the class schedule, with the item up for vote in May, it did approve the 2012-13 calendar.

Last modified April 12, 2012

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