Local News

Wake Students Learn Basics Of Middle School Life

Posted August 13, 2002 3:47 a.m. EDT

— Last year, Wake County created a task force to study why test scores were slipping between elementary and middle school. This year, middle schools have new strategies to help kids make the transition.

Before they open a book, some sixth-graders at Apex Middle School are learning how to open a locker. This year, teachers are helping students transition from elementary to middle school by teaching them the basics. Students learn how to find their classrooms, how to keep track of homework assignments and how to open their lockers.

"Really, we need a couple of days for them to get acclimated to what it's like to be in middle school before we can really hit the math and the reading," teacher Jerry Krajnak said.

"You get used to your teacher and he explains more things to you, and he helps you out a lot," sixth-grader Cierra Brown said.

Last year, Wake County created a task force to study how to make the transition smoother after test scores fell between the fifth and sixth grades.

"We found it to be across every school in Wake County," said Apex Middle School principal Sue Tripp, a member of the task force. "It's just more support. Accepting the fact that this is a huge transition and providing them the support they need."

Once kids get the basics down, classroom time will be used to help students who are having trouble in certain courses. The other students will use the time to study electives outside their core curriculum.