Local News

Tuesday, Feb 05 2013 07:59 PM

School district to discuss possible relocation of sixth graders

In an effort to address concerns over the possible relocation of sixth grade students to the main campus at Jacobsen Middle School, the Tehachapi Unified School District is holding its second unification meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 6 at 5:30 p.m. at Tompkins Elementary.

A similar meeting was already held at Golden Hills Elementary earlier this week and another is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 7 at Cummings Valley Elementary. 

The move has been a hot button, opposed by parents and even some of the school’s sixth grade teachers since the idea was introduced.

At last month’s board of trustees' meeting, district Superintendent Lisa Gilbert confirmed the district had already been looking at possible facility options and moving the sixth grade students from their current location at the sixth grade center — a collection of portable classrooms physically removed from the main campus —into one hall of the main building at Jacobsen, was discussed as an option.

"Nothing is finalized, as we are in the process of gathering input from the staff at JMS," Gilbert told the parents and trustees. "We want to consider all of the concerns and issues related to the move before making a final decision, and have plans to also communicate with the parents and ask for their input as well."

Input that will not be in short supply at tomorrow night’s meeting, as parents express the concern that the move will take away a setting that allows sixth graders a chance to adjust from the huge transition from fifth grade.

But integrating with seventh and eighth graders  isn't the only thing parents and teachers are worried about. 

They also say the move creates other issues, including congested hallways, as up to 300 sixth grade students will be forced into a single hall, while upper grades are stuffed into two.

Nevertheles, the biggest criticism of the district's decision, is that its willing to sacrifice hundreds of its own students to make way for the handful of new Abernathy Charter School students that are expected to move into the middle school’s sixth grade center when it begins instruction this coming August.

A move school officials said they had already discussed last year since space on the main campus was available.

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