Proposed switch to K-5 elementary versus K-6 not ideal


To the Editor:
Snohomish School District announced a proposed Middle School Reconfiguration: moving sixth-grade students into middle school creating a 6-8 middle school and a K-5 elementary. Cited rational, “… academic and developmental advantages for our students.”

This major change warrants deep consideration. I strongly urge Snohomish parents, teachers, coaches, and others who are knowledgeable of the needs of the individual students to participate in the upcoming meetings. Meetings and other details may be found on the district’s web page.

Myself, a retired teacher and parent of a Snohomish alumni - class of 2016, personally do not favor the K-5 model. Sixth graders are inconsistent in their maturity and benefit from the stability and nurturing nature of an elementary single-teacher classroom. Additionally, I noticed the maturity of fifth-grade students is often lacking for their leadership role in a K-5 setting.

While 6-8 is the prevalent model in the United States, it is not supported by the 2007 Duke University study. Findings showed sixth graders in the elementary school behaved and performed better on end-of-year testing. Their counterparts in middle school are twice as likely to have behavioral concerns that will carry into subsequent years.

Scheduled for a school board vote in February, involvement of those who best know the needs of the students is paramount. Learning requires social and emotional well-being. Is this proposal what is best for Snohomish students?  

Margaret Beecher
Eastern Washington
Formerly of Snohomish