Students share thoughts on middle school proposal

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Ninth grader Tyler Berry smiled for a picture with elementary students of McAuliffe Heights.

Dr. Thomas Otto made a proposal at Altoona School Board meeting on Jan. 5. One main part of the proposal is that the junior high be changed to a middle school, moving ninth grade to the high school.

Teachers in the junior high received word of the proposal the day after the meeting, but many students have not been informed. The Altoona Mirror published a story on the proposal Jan. 6. The district board meetings are also open to the public and anyone can get more information about school district discussions.

The school district board closed Wright and Washington Jefferson elementary school last year. Students from the closed schools had to fit into existing elementary schools. Then, overpopulation became an issue. To help with overpopulation issues, Otto made a proposal to move ninth grade to the high school and sixth grade to the junior high building.

“People have said the high school is crowded enough,” eighth grader Emilie Ainsworth said, “It’s going to be too crowded.”

New accommodations would need to be made so the students and teachers would all have room to learn and teach. Jan. 20 will be the first meeting about the approving matter of the proposals.

Eighth grader Nick O’ Dellick was only first informed about the proposal for the purpose of this interview. Many other students have also not been informed about this possible change.

“I really don’t want to go to the high school,” O’ Dellick said. “I wouldn’t fit in with the older kids there.”

Some students feel it’s a good idea to make these changes, as schools are set up this way in other districts around Blair County if they have not always gone to Altoona school district.

“I feel prepared to go to the high school,” Ainsworth said. “I went to high school before moving here, and I liked it much better.”

“It can be a good and bad idea,” eighth grader Morgan Fleck said. “It’s good the elementary school kids can have room but then the high school will just become overcrowded.”

“I would really like to go to the high school next year,” Fleck said, “I won’t have to be stuck with the same people all day.”

“I don’t really want to go over to the high school,” fellow classmate Sydney Berish said. “I’m too small to be over there.”

Some kids like the idea of being in the high school and getting out of the junior high, although they don’t like the idea of the sixth graders moving here.

“They get kind of annoying,” Berish said. “ They are too immature to be with kids so much older.”

Are you in favor of changing the junior high to a middle school?

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