Moving 6th Grade to the Middle School

Moving 6th Grade to the Middle School

Moving 6th Grade to the Middle School

Sixth grade, currently in our elementary schools, is moving to the North Hills School beginning in the 2020-21 school year.

Below is a list of frequently asked questions as we work to make that transition. A transition committee made up elementary and middle school teachers and members of the elementary school parent-teacher organizations will work with administrators throughout the 2019-20 school year to continue to plan for a seamless transition.

FAQs

For 2019-20

Will there be separate visits to the middle school for 5th and 6th grade?
Yes. For the 2019-20 school year, fifth- and sixth-graders will tour the middle school on separate days as follows:

  • Highcliff Elementary
    • 5th Grade Visit: May 11, 2020
    • 6th Grade Visit: May 4, 2020
  • McIntyre Elementary
    • 5th Grade Visit: May 12, 2020
    • 6th Grade Visit: May 5, 2020
  • Ross Elementary
    • 5th Grade Visit: May 15, 2020
    • 6th Grade Visit: May 8, 2020
  • West View Elementary
    • 5th Grade Visit: May 14, 2020
    • 6th Grade Visit: May 7, 2020
Will 5th and 6th grade families be invited to the middle school for an open house?
Yes. Families of current fifth-graders (incoming sixth-graders) can attend a parent meeting and tour of the middle school on April 29, 2020. Families of current sixth-graders (incoming seventh-graders) and can attend a parent meeting and tour on April 30, 2020. Incoming eighth-grade families can also attend the open house on April 30.

Will there be separate end-of-the-year celebrations for 5th and 6th grade?
Yes. Fifth and sixth grades will have separate in-school celebrations or recognitions at the end of the 2019-20 school year as follows:
  • Highcliff Elementary
    • 5th Grade Recognition Ceremony: May 26, 2020 at 12:30 p.m.
    • 6th Grade Recognition Ceremony: May 27, 2020 at 12:30 p.m.
  • McIntyre Elementary
    • 5th Grade Celebration: May 26, 2020 at 10 a.m.
    • 6th Grade Celebration: May 27, 2020 at 10 a.m.
  • Ross Elementary
    • 5th Grade Bridging Ceremony: May 27, 2020 at 1:30 p.m.
    • 6th Grade Bridging Ceremony: May 27, 2020 at 9:30 a.m.
  • West View Elementary
    • 5th Grade Graduation: May 26, 2020 at 9 a.m.
    • 6th Grade Graduation: May 27, 2020 at 9 a.m.
Students will be permitted to leave for an early dismissal following the program but should report for any scheduled school days that occur after the program date.

Will 5th graders also attend the middle school’s musical preview day?
Yes. Both fifth and sixth grade students will be invited to attend the middle school musical preview day on January 29, 2020. In subsequent years, fifth-graders will be invited as a transition activity.

Will 5th graders be part of Student Council in 2019-20?
Yes. One set of officers for both fifth- and sixth-graders will be elected in each elementary building.

Will 5th graders be part of bus patrol in 2019-20?
Yes. Bus patrols will be selected from a combined pool of fifth and sixth grade applicants in each elementary school.

Will there be a separate 5th grade Track and Field Olympics and Wellness Day?
Yes. It’s scheduled for May 7, 2020 (rain date May 13, 2020). The sixth grade Track and Field Olympics and Wellness Day will be held on May 6, 2020 (rain date May 12, 2020). All students will receive t-shirts from the parent organizations at each elementary building.

What is being planned for 5th and 6th grade field trips in the 2019-20 school year?
For 2019-20, fifth and sixth grades will have separate field trips selected by grade level teachers at each elementary building and funded by the parent organization who will set the budget limits. Beginning in 2020-21, fifth grade will have a field trip selected by the fifth grade teachers in each elementary building and funded by the parent organization. 

Will 5th graders go on the Camp Lutherlyn field trip?
No. The field trip to Camp Lutherlyn is part of the fourth and sixth grade science curriculum. Students in fourth and sixth grades will participate as dictated by the curriculum.

Will 5th graders participate in a buddy program? 
The buddy program (pairing upper grade students with students in lower grades) is a school-specific and class-specific activity offered as determined by teachers.

Will 5th graders be able to participate in morning announcements?
Yes. Both fifth and sixth grade students will have the opportunity to participate in morning announcements in the elementary buildings for the 2019-20 school year.

Will Ross Elementary 5th graders be able to participate in the Yearbook Committee?
Yes. For the 2019-20 school year, both fifth and sixth grade students will have the opportunity to participate in the Yearbook Committee.

Will parties, picnics and swim parties be held for 5th graders at the end of the school year?
Parties, picnics, swim parties, etc. occur after school hours and are parent-sponsored.

Will West View 5th graders participate in the annual Veterans’ Day Parade?
The Veterans’ Day Parade is a West View activity for sixth grade students. West View administrators and teachers will determine the future of this event.

Will 5th graders participate in Highcliff’s RED Night?
Yes. RED Night will be offered to both fifth- and sixth-graders.

Will 5th graders participate in Highcliff’s Boys’ Night?
Boys’ Night is a Highcliff PTO evening event. Plans will be determined by the Highcliff PTO.

For 2020-21

What will the daily schedule be for 6th graders in the middle school?
At the middle school, each sixth grade student will have English, mathematics, science, social studies, lunch, a trimester elective [STEAM/art/computer science], and music [chorus/band/orchestra] three days per week split with physical education two days per week. The English and mathematics courses are 84-minutes in length whereas all others are 40-minute periods. Sixth grade will follow a school within a school model. Partner teachers’ rooms will be located next to one another for the students’ core subjects.  Grade level teachers will teach English and social studies or mathematics and science.

Will 6th graders still follow a 6-day schedule in the middle school?
No. The middle school follows a 5-day schedule as detailed above.

How will 6th graders be scheduled in the middle school?
Sixth-graders in the middle school will be scheduled the same way seventh- and eighth-graders are scheduled. Students will not be grouped by their elementary school.

With 6th grade have teams?
Yes. We anticipate there being 16 sixth grade teachers at the North Hills Middle School in 2019-20. Most likely, teachers will be grouped into four teams of four teachers.

Will 6th graders change classes with the 7th and 8th graders?
No.

Will 6th graders be in their own "wing" in the middle schoool?
Yes.

Will 6th graders eat lunch with 7th and 8th grade?
No. Each grade will have its own separate lunch period in the middle school.

Will 6th graders have gym with 7th or 8th graders?
No.

Will bus routes change with the addition of 6th grade at the middle school?
No. While bus routes can always change from year-to-year, families should not expect any major changes as a direct result of sixth-graders in the middle school.

What will the GATE program look like for 6th graders in the middle school? Will it be the same as it is in the elementary schools?
No. The sixth grade GATE program in the middle school will look similar to the seventh grade GATE program. Seventh and eighth grade GATE includes strength and interest-based projects and activities aligned with Gifted Individualized Education Plan (GIEP) of each student. The GATE teacher establishes GATE time for students as well as collaborative time with content teachers.

Will 6th graders still participate in the Wonders of Wonders presentation?
Yes. The Wonders of Wonders presentation is part of the sixth grade curriculum.

Will there be a back-to-school event for rising 6th graders before the 2020-21 school year?
Yes. A back-to-school social will be held for students entering sixth and seventh grades on August 5, 2020 from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. Students will have the opportunity to explore their new school while on a scavenger hunt through the building. The event will also feature food trucks, games and activities, a spirit wear sale and more. Orientations/curriculum nights will be held for all grades (sixth, seventh and eighth) in August of 2020 like they currently are for seventh and eighth grades.

What will music look like for 6th graders in the middle school?
Sixth grade music in the middle school will look like seventh and eighth grade music. Students will have their choice of band, orchestra, chorus or general music, and that course will be scheduled opposite of their physical education course. As a result, sixth-graders in the middle school will have significantly more music classes than sixth-graders currently have in the elementary schools.

What will happen to events like the 6th Grade Band Tour and nursing home orchestra performance?
The band tour and orchestra performance will continue to be sixth grade events. As it’s been, the sixth grade band will visit the elementary buildings in May and the sixth grade orchestra will continue to visit a nursing home to perform.

Will 6th graders have recess at the middle school?
No. Recess is only held in our elementary schools. Sixth-graders can participate in an intramural sports club which meets during homeroom in the gym.

Will 6th graders be able to participate in middle school clubs?
Yes. Sixth-graders can participate in all clubs currently offered at the middle school. View the complete list.

Will 6th graders be able to participate in middle school club sports?
Yes. Sixth-graders can also participate in club sports when that club’s governing body permits sixth graders to participate. The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League (PIHL) permits teams to carry sixth-graders on their roster, i.e.

Will 6th graders be able to participate in middle school interscholastic sports?
No. Per the National Federation of High School Sports and the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA), school-sponsored athletics begin in seventh grade. Sixth-graders can participate in club sports when that club’s governing body permits sixth graders to participate. The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League (PIHL), i.e., permits teams to carry sixth-graders on their roster. Sixth-graders will also be able to participate in community sports as they currently do.

Will 6th graders be able to participate in middle school dances and activity nights?
Yes.

Will 6th graders be able to participate in middle school plays?
Yes.

Will 9th graders still be in the middle school play?
No. After the 2019-20 school year, the middle school play will be for grades 6-8. High schoool plays and musicals will be for grades 9-12.

Will 6th graders take field trips in the middle school?
Yes. Field trips occur in the middle school and are sponsored by fundraising. Teachers decide on field trips and they can occur by class, by team or grade-level. The eighth grade class has historically taken a larger class to Washington, DC, Hershey Park or Kennywood.

Do parent volunteers chaperone field trips in the middle school?
No. In general, parents do not attend student field trips.

Is there a PTA, PTO or PTSO in the middle school?
No.

Dates to Remember

April 29, 2020
What: Parent Meeting and Tour
Who: Incoming sixth grade parents/guardians

April 30, 2020
What: Parent Meeting and Tour
Who: Incoming seventh and eighth grade parents/guardians

August 5, 2020
12-7 p.m. 
What: Welcome to Middle School Back-to-School Social 
Who: Incoming sixth- and seventh-graders 
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