Grade-Level Realignment: A Journey of Discovery to Improve Transitions Between Schools

Amy Evans
Jon Frey

In 2014, citizens of Columbus, Nebraska approved a bond issue to build a new high school in the community. Columbus Public Schools is now moving forward with a plan to transition 9th-12th grades to the new high school building in December 2016. The current 6th-8th grade middle school, in addition to 5th grade classrooms currently housed in elementary buildings, will leave their present locations and transition into the vacated high school building in August 2017.

Historically, based on NeSA reading and math scores, Columbus has experienced a decrease in student proficiency from 5th to 6th grade and from 8th to 11th grade. This drop in proficiency accompanies the physical transitions that take place from elementary school to middle school to high school.

We propose that in order to better support our students through these transitions, we gather baseline data on satisfaction with the school climate, increase articulation between grade levels and tailor the learning environment to increase student engagement through positive reinforcement and visual representations of a positive climate. 

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