The Mesquite (Texas) district plans to build a $53 million middle school campus that will enable the district to house all of its sixth-grade students in middle schools.
In a column in The Mesquite News, Superintendent David Vroonland writes that by constructing a ninth middle school campus, Mesquite can create a uniform grade configuration at elementary and middle schools. As of now, five middle schools have only seventh- and eighth-grade students, and the other three middle schools house grades six, seven and eight.
Vroonland says a committee studying the issue recommended adopting the 6-8 middle school model, and the school board agreed. The grade configuration will put Mesquite's program in line with Texas standards.
"Our state education standards are aligned by grade levels, and 6-8 is considered middle school," the superintendent says. Through our change, [Mesquite] middle schools gain more closely aligned resources, instruction and programming to benefit students. Our sixth-grade teachers will join forces at the middle school level to collaborate and share best practices."
Another reason for the change, the superintendent says, is the additional time students will have on middle school campuses.
"That extra year offers more time to enjoy school ownership and pride and better prepares students for their high school experience," Vroonland says.
In addition, elementary schools will benefit by freeing up space that was dedicated to sixth-grade classrooms so that prekindergarten programs can be expanded.
The district expects to break ground next spring on the $53 million middle school. The 1,200-student facility is scheduled to open in 2018.
VIDEO from WRA Architects: Schematic design of Mesquite's Middle School #9