Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Dear Catholic School Board:

August 18th, 2010, Promulgated by Ink

My name is Ink and I am a product of the Catholic school systems.  It seems you need a little input from students.  Here is mine.

I am an advocate of the K-8 school system.  Having experienced it, I can vouch for its benefits.  Eighth graders, who are now big fish in a fairly little pond, realize that they have to set the example for the whole school–including highly impressionable kindergartners.  Frequently, they remember being the little children themselves, looking up to the eighth graders as the coolest people EVER.  Another thing that comes along with the K-8 system is usually a few little privileges given to the junior high, who in turn realize they must earn these privileges by setting wonderful examples for everyone else.

Another thing needed in a Catholic school system is stability amongst the elementary schools.  There are nine years from kindergarten through eighth grade, and many pivotal development points within those nine years.  Children make and break alliances and friendships, laugh and cry with classmates, and by the time nine years are up, the class is a family.  Even newcomers who did not make the entire long nine-year journey are welcomed into the family of the graduating eighth grade class.  I, personally, can remember a little tidbit about pretty much every single one of my eighth grade classmates, and I have not heard from the better majority of them in over three years, since I now live several states away from them all.  I bet I could pick them out of a lineup, too, even after three years of little-to-no contact.

The inherent problem with the K-6/7-12 system is that sixth graders are still twerps.  I was a sixth grader.  Boy, was I a twerp.  I still remember those days…  Anyway, sixth grade is a lot like freshman year of high school.  Students at that age are twerps and need to be mentored by older students, who know the ropes and will help them along.  In a K-8 school, sixth graders look up to the seventh and eighth grades.  In a K-6/7-12 model, sixth graders really DO rule the coop.  That is the equivalent of freshmen ruling (socially) the high school.  It generally does not work.  Also, in the 7-12 half of the model, the seventh and eighth grades are typically set off from the senior high school.  This simply encourages the twerpiness developed in sixth grade and does not allow seventh and eighth graders to develop responsibility and the idea that they are the example to the rest of the school–at least, not until they are seniors in high school, by which point in time they have had three years of being picked on and are probably rather bitter about it.  Yes, senior high students pick on the junior high students.  They are little, obnoxious, and easy targets.  They really need their own pond in order for them to come into their own so that they can hold their ground upon entering high school.

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