Beavercreek Transition to Middle Schools

PRIDE Recommendations and the Middle School Concept

Several references link the PRIDE (People Representing Interest in Developing Education) reports to proposed changes in the middle school structure and curriculum. As noted at the January 7, 1998 PTO meeting, PRIDE did not mandate a "middle school concept."

The following list contains items which the PRIDE Committee did speak to, as documented by links to the PRIDE reports, Beavercreek School Facilities and Preparing for the Future.

The following community preferences were identified in Preparing for the Future:

The same report notes specific preferences for middle school level: The PRIDE report Beavercreek School Facilities notes that additional classroom space is required for students in advanced-level classes. The report also discusses the Middle School Concept, although no mention is made of extensive changes to curriculum and structure beyond placing grades 6-8 in the same building.

Can the Middle School Concept Deliver?

There is little reason to believe middle schools will encourage strong academics. The National Middle School Association admits that achievement results are "mixed." Most studies of achievement in middle schools look at poor-performing districts where average levels of performance would be a welcome improvement.

Because of teaming and additional team planning time in the middle schools, class sizes will be 25 to 30 students per class. There is less flexibility in a middle school to provide the preferred class sizes of 20 to 25, since another entire team of teachers must be added rather than individual teachers. Also, core subject teachers will not be available to teach more than one grade level.

Similarly, foreign language teachers can not also teach core subjects, since membership in the core team is full-time. Also, para-professionals, curriculum development specialists and other support personnel required by the core team may leave little funding left for foreign language.

Computer literacy and technology for delivery of instruction may suffer due to increased class sizes. To maintain one computer for each five students, a 30-student class requires one more machine than a 25-student class.

Finally, the demands of evaluating, developing, and integrating curriculum on an ongoing basis may limit the availability of teachers for extra-curricular activities, such as academic clubs and teams.

Hence, without more funds per-pupil, the middle school concept will likely result in larger classes with less individual attention, fewer opportunities, and fewer resources available to each student.

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