Middle School Grade Configurations
PALMDALE SCHOOL DISTRICT FACILITIES MASTER PLAN:
MIDDLE SCHOOL GRADE CONFIGURATIONS 2017-2018
WHY IS PSD MOVING 6TH GRADE INSTRUCTION FROM ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TO MIDDLE SCHOOL?
First and foremost, this shift allows for greater academic opportunities for our students. Students attending sixth grade in a middle school environment have access to a broader range of electives, including Project Lead the WAy, Robotics, ASB, band, AVID, and other enrichment classes.
Core classes are taught by content specialists, and math and language can be moe closely aligned to target students' abilities. Accelerated options like algebra are available, and science includes more lab work.
PSD piloted the middle school configuration this year, 2016-2017, and found students enjoyed the opportunites presented to them, including intramural sports, honors courses, and two elective each semester.
Through the Palmdale PROMISE, stakeholders agreed that to fully engage our middle grade students, we had to allow more timeto build the sense of belongingness and connectedness for both students and parents. Aditionally, stakeholders asked for middle schools to provide students with the skills necessary to succeed in high school and beyond and to do this by developing STEAM Academies.
WHAT IS THE IMPACT (POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE) ON STUDENTS COMPLETING SIXTH GRADE IN A MIDLE SCHOOL AS OPPOSED TO AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL OR A KINDERGARTEN THROUGH EIGHTH GRADE (K-8) CAMPUS?
Benefits of 6-8 grade configuration:
- Sixth-graders are taught by content-area specialists for each subject
- Sixth-graders have access to science labs, STEAM electives, and a variety of other opportunties that allow them to pursue additional interests
- Students will have increased opportuntiy for differentiated instruction, including advanced or accelerated classes in strength areas, and placement in classes co-taught by a content-area specialist alongside a learning specialist (Sp Ed Teacher) when students struggle
- Students will also have increased options for extracurricular and enrichment activities
- All students will prepare for the middle school transition at the same time
- Students will have additional support provided by middle school counselors and social emotional learning specialists to help them with challenging middle school issues. These middle school resources are new this school year (2016-17), and will continue
WHEN WILL SIXTH GRADERS MOVE FROM ELEMENTARY TO MIDDLE SCHOOL CAMPUSES?
All current fifth graders will start the new school year, 2017-2018, at their assigned middle school.
WILL MY CHILD HAVE TRANSPORTATION TO AND FROM SCHOOL?
If your child receives bussing as a Special Education student, the bussing will continue unless otherwise noted in the IEP. OUr current Board Policy offers bussing to middle school students who live beyond the two (2) mile mark "as the crow flies."
CAN WE CHOSE TO SEND OUR CHILD TO A MIDDLE SCHOOL OTHER THAN THE ONE ASSIGNED?
Yes. You do this through the Open Enrollment Process. Open Enrollment applications are available on-line at our Palmdale School District website or you may obtain an application in the Student Services Department located at 39139 North 10th Street East, Palmdale, California. 93550
There are five (5) different middle schools to choose from, each having their own specialized academy focus. Additionally, each school has over thrity (30) electives for your child to choose from and during this past year every student will receive at least one elective course with most enrolling in two electives.
Below is a list of the middle schools and their corresponding academy:
- CACTUS MIDDLE SCHOOL MEDICAL HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY ACADEMY
- DAVID G. MILLEN MIDDLE SCHOOL LAW & GOVERNMENT ACADEMY
- DESERT WILLOW MIDDLE SCHOOL FINE ARTS, SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY ACADEMY
- SAGE MIDDLE SCHOOL SPACE & AERONAUTICAL ACADEMY
- SHADOW HILLS MIDDLE SCHOOL ENGINEERING & DESIGN ACADEMY