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Why is Jeffco Transitioning?

picture of students with a teacher
Over the past several years, the district studied the 6 - 8 middle school model and last year decided to make the shift. This transition began with the 2017 - 18 school year, continues into the 2018 - 19 school year, and will be completed in the 2019 - 20 school year.

What is the district-wide goal?

The goal is to migrate current 7 - 8 middle schools to 6 - 8 middle school configurations district-wide.

Why is Jeffco Public Schools transitioning 6th grade students to the middle schools?
  • The opportunity for students to be in a middle school for three years minimizes the drawbacks of the two-year “in/out” transition. Three years in the same school promotes stronger engagement in the academic progress and the social-emotional growth of students by students themselves, their families, and our teachers.
  • This shift creates broader options for acceleration and increased elective opportunities.
  • In addition, it provides earlier student connections to their seven-year graduation plan (I-CAP).
  • The Facilities Master Plan supports the K - 5 / 6 - 8 configuration, as it creates consistency across the district, except where the K - 6 / 7 - 12 and K - 8 models already exist.

What are the specific reasons for transitioning 6th grade students to middle schools?
Educational Value
  • Three years to provide a variety of opportunities and pathways to assist adolescents in discovering their potential through course offerings and electives.
  • Expanded offerings of mathematics.
  • Expanded elective offerings beyond art, music, physical education; possibilities include Tech Ed, Family Consumer Science, Drama/Musical Theater, Orchestra, Band, Choir, Computer Applications, World Language/Cultures, Health/Fitness, Robotics, STEM, team sports, individual sports.

Transition Value
  • Eliminates the “transition in and transition out” two-year cycle, increasing family engagement and student "connectedness" to the school.

Social-Emotional and Developmental Value
  • During this time of developmental change, additional time and resources will be dedicated to meet the academic and social-emotional needs of students.
  • Advisement: addressing school-wide needs such as interventions, extensions, literacy, and ALPs.
  • School counselors: individual student and group counseling.
  • School-wide programming: Day Without Hate, Red Ribbon Week, anti-bullying programming, internet and social media safety, school safety, suicide prevention.
  • Principals of 6 - 8 schools in Jeffco notice a positive effect on 8th grade students, as the 6th grade presence creates a more true middle school environment.

Career Exploration Value
  • Earlier student connections to their graduation plan:
  • Career focus: Career fairs/ALP needs.
  • Naviance program: Individual Career and Academic Plan (I-CAP).
  • Expanded elective choices: matching passion with talent.
  • STEM programming at Deer Creek, Bell, and West Jefferson Middle Schools
  • International Baccalaureate Programming at Alameda 7 - 12 and Mandalay Middle.
  • Clubs and competitions such as SeaPerch, an underwater robot competition in Colorado Springs; Destination Imagination team; Girls in STEM; Spelling and Geography Bee; National Junior Honor Society.

Value of Moving with a Systemic/District-Wide Approach
  • Eliminates choice enrollment challenges.
  • A systemic move across articulation areas will enable neighborhood families to have cohesive enrollment options as they matriculate from elementary to middle school. Programming happens across articulation areas, therefore when we are thoughtful and intentional about how and when we move students. We reduce difficult choices for families and fragmentation within articulation areas.
  • Reduces challenges with specialized programs: GT, ESL, Dual Language, SED, SSN, ASD.
  • District/central support is more strategic, focused, and efficient.
  • Educational resources/texts are often K - 5, 6 - 8.

Facilities Value
  • In general, our middle schools are under capacity: the Facilities Master Plan determined our middle schools are significantly underutilized with 5,422 available seats. Many of our elementary schools are over capacity. Transitioning 6th grade students to the middle schools will create balance in our facilities. The transition will also provide the opportunity to remove 147 temporary classrooms from elementary sites.
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