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When does middle school start?

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Middle school comes after elementary school and before high school
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When does middle school start? After elementary school and before high school

Middle school is the contemporary name for junior high school. When does middle school start? It usually starts in sixth grade. At some schools this school includes the freshman year (9th grade), which in the majority of schools is considered high school.

Students attend this school after elementary and before high school. The students transition from spending all day in one classroom to changing classes and must deal with several teachers during the course of the day, instead of one.

This concept was first put into action in 1950 by a school in Michigan. It hosted sixth through eighth graders. The movement toward middle schools hinged on beliefs that sixth graders are socially and intellectually mature enough to leave elementary school.

Many sixth graders are experiencing puberty, which is the first step toward adulthood. There is a vast different in sixth graders and fifth graders, who are pre-pubescent.

Junior high originally consisted of seventh and eighth graders and sometimes ninth graders. However, that structure changed in the early 1960s in many school districts.

The new configuration included seventh through ninth grade or sixth through eighth grade or fifth through eighth grade. Many educators thought ninth graders should be in high schools rather than in the in-between institution.

The arrangement changed because of childrenís early maturation in the mid-twentieth century. Children were, and are, reaching puberty at age 11 whereas in the first decade of the twentieth century puberty didnít take place until a child was 12 to 14 years old. Research reveals puberty is starting four months earlier every decade.

The student transitions from primary education to secondary education in a physical environment that often combines elements from elementary school as well as high school. Children are exposed to what is familiar to them from the past as well as to new experiences.

Some of these schools stand alone. Others are on the same campus with the high school or elementary school. There is a distinct division between the different levels of school and this is done purposely.


Middle school occurs simultaneously with puberty. Most students are going through this physical transition. During puberty, the brain has periods of growth as well as plateaus at this time.

Teaching at this level is challenging. Learning can be difficult for children going through physical changes as intense as those experienced during puberty.

Kids deal with social-, emotional- and sexual maturation and try to make sense of norms and values. They may challenge adults as a result. Resentment of authority figures is typical as are fluctuating emotions and undue concern about appearance.

The youngster wants independence but remains dependent in many ways. He is in the process of developing self-concept. This is a dicey period in life for children and their parents.

Junior high bridges the fissure between elementary and high school. When at this mid-point, the student moves away from childhood while learning techniques and acquiring knowledge and social skills that are further honed in advanced grades. The role of the teachers in junior high is to teach academics and nurture the children emotionally and socially.


The goal is to encourage students to become more independent and self-directing. Students learn decision-making and communication skills, respect for others and ways to cope with the ever-increasing demands placed on them. Teachers promote good citizenship skills and encourage independent study.

Middle school is a time of change. Some children struggle during this period of their life. Some don't. Parents should continue the same level of involvement with the school that they engaged in when their child was in elementary school.

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