This spring I learned that several 4th-grade students have an interest in attending WMS next year. Typically, our Yale students transition downriver at the end of 5th grade. However, with the new Woodland Middle School offering such a positive experience for grades 5-6, providing opportunities we don’t have the capacity for at Yale, they are considering spending 5th grade at WMS instead of Yale.
In order to inform families making this decision, I held a parent meeting on April 13th to answer questions and give them general information about WMS. On June 8th, I followed up by providing the 4th and 5th grade students a school tour of the WMS campus. They had an opportunity to walk through the 5th/6th grade Yellow Hall, see the lunchroom, gymnasium, and a few classrooms. The general consensus is the school is BIG and an exciting place. During the tour, our students were able to meet key building support staff and Mr. Hall stopped in to introduce himself to the kids and answer questions.
Both our PTO president, Brenda Nelson, and school counselor, Mrs. Dee Ray, joined us for the tour and informed the kids what the transition to WMS would look like if they decided to transition in WMS as 5th graders. By June 15th, we hope to have a pretty good idea about which students plan to stay at Yale and who will transition to the middle school in Woodland. This will help us make informed placement decisions and ensure they know what to expect in the fall.
This transition is always a bit challenging for our students whether they make it in 5th or 6th grade. However, I notice that when our kids start at a building at the same time other students in the district are making the switch, they feel more part of the group. Previously when Yale students have transitioned in 6th grade, they tended to feel like they were joining a group that already had formed and they were known as the “Yale kids” joining the school. I am optimistic that if our 4th grade students transition as 5th graders, they will feel more like WMS students at the start of the school year.
For those who still wish to enjoy the small and quiet campus at Yale for another year, we look forward to their return and Yale and will continue to provide the small school multiage classroom experience for them there.