Running Start students speak against school district grade reconfiguration

Puyallup School District is looking to amend its system of K-12 schools, and some Running Start students are against the proposal.

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Russ Davis

Reporter

Puyallup School District is looking to amend its system of K-12 schools, and some Running Start students are against the proposal.

Currently, the district follows the junior high model, where elementary school is kindergarten through sixth grade, junior high school is seventh through ninth grade, and high school is 10th through 12th grade.

A recent policy change proposed by the Puyallup School Board would change this to the middle school model, where sixth-graders would be moved to junior high and ninth-graders would be moved to high school. True to the model’s name, junior high schools would then be renamed as middle schools.

The proposal has drawn the ire of the district’s residents—people living in the cities of Puyallup and Edgewood, on South Hill and in parts of Summit. When The News Tribune ran an article on the issue on their website, the response was decidedly negative.

Running Start students on campus were hesitant of the idea, if not opposed.

Grace Lee, a student at Rogers High, was opposed.

“(This) will expose younger kids into an older environment too fast,” she says. “Now the levels are contained–––it should be like that.”

Jordan Pedersen, a student from Puyallup High School, also was opposed.

“It should stay the way it is,” he said. “(That) would be better for the maturity levels of the students. There’s a big gap between sixth- and eighth-graders and ninth- and 12th-graders.”

Not all Running Start students are critical, however. High School senior John Caruso was not opposed to the idea but recommended caution should it be implemented.

“I went through (a seventh- through ninth-grade) junior high and that was effective,” he says. “It’s not that big of a deal or that huge of a change, but it would really depend on how the teachers handle it.”

The Puyallup School Board stresses that the policy has not taken effect.

In fact, in a recent press release, Superintendent Tony Apostle announced that the committee studying the issue would be given another full year to present its findings and recommendations.

The committee was originally supposed to present its findings in January 2012, with the plan to possibly take effect as early as the 2012-13 school year.

With the new deadline, the new plan could be implemented no earlier than the 2014-15 school year, if implemented at all, according to Apostle.

 

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