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Letter to Junior High School Families - Changes to Junior High Program
Posted 5/16/19

May 16, 2019

Dear Junior High School Families,

A junior senior high school offers many advantages.  Our students have access to unparalleled acceleration, enrichment, and remediation opportunities; typically, found only at other comprehensive high schools.  With these opportunities, there are also challenges. The key is to develop programs that meet the social emotional learning needs of our 7th and 8th graders, while maintaining academic rigor and high expectations across all grade levels.  As such, we want to make you aware of some exciting changes to our junior high school programming.

  • We are implementing separate lunches.  With an adjustment to the bell schedule, 7th and 8th grades will now have their own lunch period, but remain on the same 4-period class schedule.  

  • English, math, and physical education will be year-long courses.  The transition from 6th (self-contained) to 7th (4-period day) can be a challenge.  Making English, math, and physical education year-long more closely mirrors the 6th grade experience, yet provides for subject-area teachers who specialize in those subjects.

  • We are incentivizing 7th and 8th grade students to gather on the lower campus.  We are improving facilities and activities on the lower campus as a means of “drawing” 7th and 8th grade students to the lower campus.  This includes turning Room 9 into a student union/hangout.

  • Additional staff will be located on the lower campus.  We are adjusting staff such that their offices will be located on the lower campus.  This increases supervision throughout the school day.

  • We are adding staff.  We have created a new position - Family and Schools Together (FAST) Coordinator.  This position will be housed on the lower campus and will provide critically needed services to families; especially, with regard to social emotional learning, attendance, student discipline, and healthy living.

  • Golden Sierra Peer Advocates will be connected with 7th graders.  Our Peer Advocates, who have received state-wide recognition, will now be connected with our 7th graders.  Our Peer Advocates specialize in working with students on issues such as bullying, problem-solving, peer pressure, and healthy life-style choices.

  • The first week of school will be dedicated to orientation.  We are utilizing the 1st week of school to completely orient all students to Golden Sierra.  This includes textbook distribution, information technology accounts, mapping the school, setting behavioral expectations, and all things specific to Golden Sierra.

  • We are adding an activities bus.  So that students can better participate in after-school activities, including sports, we are adding an activities bus for transportation in the early evening.  This will be a simplified route that includes stops in Coloma, Cool, and Georgetown.

This is not an exhaustive list.  There are many other more detailed improvements being made for the coming year.  In general, we are working hard to ease the transition from 6th to 7th grade and to better connect our junior high to Golden Sierra.  We are excited about the changes and are certain students will benefit.  We look forward to working with each of you in the coming years as we partner to provide Excellence in Education.

Thank you,

Jeremy Meyers