The Joplin School District will offer its annual Sixth-grade Academy later this month for students making the transition to middle school. This is the third year the district has offered the program.
“Sixth- and ninth-grade are two of the most challenging transitions in school,” said Jason Cravens, director of instructional services for the district. “What we wanted to do is use that time to build positive school culture between teachers and kids, and kids and kids, and give them those survival skills as sixth-graders.”
Students will be able to get their schedule for the fall, learn how to use their lockers and planners, find out the rules and expectations of middle school, and meet fellow students, teachers and principals. They will also learn about student council, physical education, elective classes, lunch procedures, clubs and sports.
“One of the big changes from elementary to middle school is the fact that they change classes every hour,” Cravens said. “They have to be familiar with the school and familiar with seven different teachers in a day where at the elementary school level, they’re with maybe three or four teachers. Having that schedule transition and a bigger environment, you have feeder schools with kids from other elementaries.”
Cravens estimated that about half of all incoming sixth-graders typically attend the academy.
The program also includes free breakfast and lunch for each student.
The academy will be held from 8 to 11:30 a.m. from Tuesday, July 31, through Friday, Aug. 3, at East, South and North middle schools. Students who sign up are not required to attend all four days, but are encouraged to since each day will offer different programming.
The first day of school for the Joplin School District is Aug. 15.
Registration forms can be found online at www.joplinschools.org. Students can register up to the day of the event, but administrators encourage early registration.