Northwest Elementary School

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CMS programs ease 5th graders transition

Central Middle School hosts a variety of activities to help District fifth graders and their families learn more about the transition to the middle school.

Through programs like Family STEM Night, an Ice Cream Social, an Orientation Night, and tours of the school, incoming students are able to see and learn more about CMS from numerous angles.

“The transition activities we plan help to prepare our students for their new school,” CMS Principal Rita Sparks said. “Taking a ‘test run’ enables our future students to visit the school and become familiar with staff and students in different settings.”

EPSD 124 Superintendent Dr. Robert Machak feels that the establishment of transition programs is vital to the success of incoming middle school students.

"A cornerstone of a quality middle school is a safe, inviting environment that is supportive of all kids,” he said. “Our fifth-grade students gain confidence with each visit to Central so that, by the time school starts in August, as sixth graders they can really feel like Central is their school." 

In January, Central’s STEM Night offered a look inside the school’s science, technology, engineering and math curriculums through hands-on stations for District students and their families. In February, CMS’s Ice Cream Social gave students the chance to ask questions to current Central students about what the transition was like for them.

CMS hosts its 5th grade orientation program from 6-7 p.m. on March 27. On this night, staff is on hand to answer questions and rooms are set up to discuss academics, sports, club opportunities and other aspects of the school.

Central holds tours for fifth graders on April 27, when students are bused to Central throughout the day for student-run tours while classes are in session. The fifth graders are given a “CMS Cheat Sheet” before they leave.

 Finally, days before school starts in August, CMS hosts a Meet the Teacher Night for sixth-grade students only, which gives the soon-to-be Panthers the chance to follow their schedule, get their locker, and practice their combinations.  

“Our goal is to help the students feel more confident and in control for the first day of middle school,” Sparks said.