Marquand-Zion School District has decided to add a middle school for its 6th, 7th and 8th grade students.
Currently students are going straight from elementary school into the high school without the middle school stepping stone, and members of the school district's administration feel the guidance in between is needed.
Marquand-Zion High School Principal Sabrina Doublin said administration, counselor and teachers all felt like this would be in the best interest of the students.
"We have some phenomenal high school teachers, but that is what they are. They are high school teachers," Doublin said. "They are not middle school teachers and sometimes students struggle with adjusting to the way high school teachers teach and think and the way they give instructions because it's really different than the way elementary teachers give that instruction."
Doublin said what they would like to do is to keep the students in a more structured atmosphere for three more years with teachers who are more suited to middle school needs.
"It will give them a little more time to have that very structured intense instruction on the level that will transition them from elementary to high school without being put in a sink or swim situation," Doublin said. "Another factor leading to the change is that we feel it will help raise MAP scores. More times than not, scores seem to go down when students transition from 6th to 7th grade."
The school plans to use the room where business class is now and turn the FACS room into two rooms. This will provide three classrooms which will be used for the 6th, 7th and 8th grade home rooms.
Doublin said Ray Forshee will be teaching reading and science and will provide a familiar face to the students during this transition.
"Mr. Forshee is a very strong teacher," Doublin said. "He's got the elementary background, but he also has background in other areas. For him to be willing to go on this adventure with us is just wonderful. We appreciate that because we feel like he is going to step up and help us structure this in a way that can really be successful not only for our students but for the teachers involved."
Doublin said Forshee will be able to incorporate public speaking and computer literacy into his reading lessons to help the students become more accustomed to giving presentations in front of a class.
"We will get a good strong teacher in for math and language and if they are young, not that I am saying Mr. Forshee is old, but if they are young Mr. Forshee has the experience to mentor and help that teacher and make it successful."
Doublin said as the district continues to perfect its plans, it will have bridges to cross but will figure them out, and having Forshee there will help.
The middle school bell schedule will run the same as the high school, and Doublin will be principal for both schools.
When asked about the budget, Doublin said the district would have to hire a new teacher but thanks to Superintendent Scott Blake and his phenomenal job, there will not be a strain on the budget. She said he knows what to cut and what to add and where to add is in humans.