March 14, 2023
The jump from fifth to sixth grade can be filled with anxiety for students and parents.
However, the Fairview Park City School District tries to make the process as easy as possible with programs and information designed to help everyone in the family before the first day of school in the fall.
“We slowly trickle information out so that it doesn’t get lost in the sauce,” Chris Vicha, principal of Mayer Middle School and Fairview High School said. “We provide an overlapping and tiered scaffolded approach to information flow. If we just threw everything at parents at once or waited until August, the anxiety would build all summer long.”
One of the first events scheduled yearly is the fifth grade parent information night, typically organized in February.
“The meeting is scheduled to inform parents of the academic options,” Associate Principal of Mayer Middle School Heather Kaminski explained. “There is advanced and regular Math and English. And then the kids also have options when it comes to music. So it’s more to set [parents’] minds at ease. It’s about hearing from me, from [school counselor] Mary [Cory] and Chris [Vicha].”
The parent night presentation was revamped to simplify the information at this initial meeting. The school then releases a more detailed document later in the spring with information about Mayer Middle School.
“I wanted them to have a resource in terms of what we look at when we’re grading, what are the benefits behind the Summit platform, and what the building expectations are,” Kaminski added.
Fifth graders also visit the middle school the same week as the initial parent meeting. They tour the building and attend a question-and-answer session led by sixth-grade student ambassadors.
“I think it’s really cool because those kids, it’s still very raw for them - they are still living it,” Vicha said of the sixth-grade ambassadors. “They’ve only been here a semester. These are kids who, 18 weeks ago, were right where the fifth graders were. So for the kids, I think that’s huge.”
The week before school starts in August, incoming sixth grade families can tour the building and pick up schedules during pre-planned days.
“They are kind of unstructured days where kids can come in, get their schedules, and walk the building to get comfortable,” Kaminski stated. “It’s a good time for them to learn the building. And then we wrap back around one more time with the parents with sixth grade orientation.”
Sixth-grade orientation is the final piece of the information puzzle in August. Students and parents can ask questions and receive detailed information about the middle school and what they can expect moving forward.
“When they come in August, we know that the schedules are set, and we’re confident that for 98% of those students, there won’t be any changes on that first day,” Vicha said. “It leads to a very well prepared and successful transition experience throughout that first week of the kids being at the middle school.”
Parents with questions about the transition to sixth grade are encouraged to contact the middle school main office at (440) 356-3510. More information will be made available to parents this spring on what dates schedule pick-ups and sixth grade orientation will be scheduled in August.
Click here to view the presentation from Fifth Grade Parent Information Night on February 7, 2023
Click here to view "Making the 5th to 6th Grade Transition" from Mayer Middle School