Students finishing fifth grade at North Judson-San Pierre will be the oldest in the school for two consecutive years as part of the transition to a kindergarten through 6th grade elementary. The school board recently approved the move, along with the consolidation of the middle and high schools into North Judson-San Pierre Junior High.
Elementary Principal Mike McBride says the school will look the same except for some small cosmetic changes and adds 6th grade will become the transition level. He says 6th grade students will have lockers with locks in the hallway by the gym. That’s also where their classes will meet. McBride says 6th grade students will change classes, but a bell system will not be used. The three 6th grade teachers will teach all of the core areas. He adds the specials schedule will include 6th grade art as well as times for advanced level courses like choir, band and art.
Grade levels will be combined at lunch and recess in order to go from six to four lunch hours. McBride says 1st and 2nd grades will be combined and kindergarten and 3rd graders will eat together. So will 4th and 5th grade students. The 6th graders will have their own lunch and recess period. Cafeteria space will be limited, so McBride says parents will not be able to eat lunch with their children except on special occasions.
Academic and sports teams and social activities such as an end of the year 6th grade dance will still be offered.
Dr. Annette Zupin told the school board she will continue to oversee the transition to a combined junior/senior high school as she segues from her role as principal into the superintendent’s job. She says 7th and 8th grade students will still have a mix of core classes and electives. They will be taught separately from high school students except in rare instances when a middle school student is taking an upper level class.
Zupin adds the 7th and 8th grade students will have a separate lunch period from their high school peers, but everyone will be on the same bell schedule. The 7th and 8th grade lockers will be in a separate hallway. High school activities like prom and winter ball will remain off-limits to middle school students, but the student council will be comprised of 7th through 12th grade students to reflect the new composition of the school.
Zupin says N.J.-S.P. officials have spoken with their counterparts at Oregon-Davis, West Central and Caston about combined facilities. All have assured them things will fall into place within the first year. Despite those assurances, Zupin says middle and high school officials will be extra cognizant when school starts.