Are 6th Graders Ready for Junior High?

By: Tyler Hailston, James Huyck, Eric Carney, Emily Jackson and Nicole Jordan

The Herkimer Central School District is currently structured with the 6th graders as part of the Elementary School. However, the Herkimer Elementary School is slowly running out of space to fit all of the K-6 students, so it has been proposed that the 6th graders be moved to the High School. The proposal that the 6th graders move to the High School generates many questions, including: Is there enough classroom space? Will the maturity rate of the 6th graders increase? And how will we keep the 6th graders separate from the high schoolers? The Journalism class decided to meet with Superintendent Mr. Miller to discuss the topic.


Teachers at the High School also have their own opinions about bringing the sixth graders up the Jr./Sr. High School. Based on a quick survey, it seems that  many of the teachers have doubts about this change.  One teacher expressed concerns about classroom space. When we brought this up to Mr. Miller, he said that we actually have more space in the High School, but it is still undecided as to what part of the school the 6th grade classrooms and lockers will be located in.  Additionally, Miller said moving the students to the High School will also allow the kids to have more opportunities and electives available. For instance, students will be able to join more clubs at the high school than are currently available at the elementary school. Some of the electives that the 6th graders could choose from may include foreign languages, health, art, and even online courses. If the 6th graders do become part of the high school, they will not be able to participate in the school sports teams until they are in 7th grade.


One teacher who was not comfortable with the idea said she was concerned that the transition would shorten the 6th graders’ childhoods.  The University of North Carolina School of Medicine says that introducing kids at a younger age to a more mature atmosphere may cause problems including the introduction to drugs, bullying, depression, and possible sexual situations. These problems could have major effects of the welfare of the children. However,  Mr. Miller believes children already grow up at a faster rate due to strong advances in technology. He also believes that the younger kids will be separated enough from the upperclassmen, and that more mature relationships and actions are caused by mixing diverse ages, which will be avoided.
Miller also clarified this is only speculation because many other things need to go into the process to make this possible. He would like to see this transition completed as early as September of 2018.


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