DCPS Launches Sixth Grade Academies to Ease Center Faculty Transition

1000’s of sixth graders began their first week of center college navigating a brand new surroundings and setting the stage for a chapter of their tutorial profession that’s targeted on talent constructing, socioemotional growth, and the shaping of a profession trajectory. 

With the launch of D.C. Public Faculties’ (DCPS) sixth grade academies, younger folks at practically a dozen public center faculties can fulfill these objectives with the assist of an assistant principal, together with quite a few academics and employees members who’re devoted to giving them the perfect sixth grade expertise. 

Kwynn Turner, a sixth grader at Stuart-Hobson Center Faculty in Northeast, mentioned she’s wanting ahead to thought-provoking courses and subject journeys that may assist her faucet into her inventive aspect. 

“I hope I can have a superb yr studying all that I would like,” mentioned Kwynn, an aspiring sport designer. “Younger folks have a superb creativeness and [we want teachers to know] we’re occupied with what’s on our thoughts once we’re daydreaming. We take the knowledge [we learn] in school and undertaking it.” 

DCPS Officers Introduce Sixth Grade Academies at Stuart-Hobson Center Faculty

On Aug. 29, Kwynn counted amongst dozens of sixth graders who converged on Stuart-Hobson Center Faculty’s gymnasium for a pep rally that commemorated the launch of DCPS’ sixth grade academies. That afternoon, the Stuart-Hobson Center Faculty Panther Band performed a few electrifying numbers and cheerleaders executed a dance routine. 

Each performances set the tone for commentary from college and District officers, together with a volleyball and tug-of-war competitors. 

Audio system included DCPS Chancellor Dr. Lewis D. Ferebee, Stuart-Hobson Center Faculty principal Eric Fraser, Andral Hills, the sixth grade academy vice principal at Stuart-Hobson Center Faculty, and Kennedy Starke, a seventh grader who gave sixth graders gems of recommendation and phrases of affirmation. 

College students additionally heard from Greg Dohmann, DCPS’ director of sixth grade academies. 

Dohmann, former principal of Johnson Center Faculty Academy,  is main a staff of sixth grade academy assistant principals who’re working at Stuart-Hobson, Brookland Center Faculty, Eliot-Hine Center Faculty, Hart Center Faculty, Jefferson Center Faculty, Johnson Center Faculty, MacFarlane Center Faculty, Ida B. Wells Center Faculty, John Philip Sousa Center Faculty, Kramer Center Faculty and Kelly Miller Center Faculty.  

Every month, Dohmann will meet with these assistant principals, all of whom have expertise as directors within the D.C. public college system, to debate how greatest to chart a path to, what he described as, elevated attendance, vital development in math and studying proficiency, and college students’ sense of belonging. 

A method that Dohmann identified includes working with households to make sure that sixth graders obtain constant messaging between college and residential about assignments and expectations. 

“Center college is probably the most essential [time] when college students are most weak, opinions of friends imply greater than something, and once they take possession of their schooling,” Dohmann mentioned. “We’ve got to ensure now we have that transition. That is yr one, a time to raise greatest practices.” 

A Couple of Sixth Grade Academy Assistant Principals Define Their Imaginative and prescient 

DCPS’ sixth grade academies construct upon its sixth grade summer time bridge program, throughout which rising sixth graders and employees members set up relationships by subject journeys, staff constructing workout routines, college scavenger hunts, and displays about highschool. 

This yr, 1,400 sixth graders at 11 DCPS Title I faculties are enrolled in a sixth grade academy. 

The transition from elementary college to center college has been described as probably the most vital shift for college students in Okay-12 schooling, as a consequence of expanded campus measurement and course load, altering interactions with academics and new tutorial expectations. This stage has been designated by the American Psychological Affiliation as a interval when younger folks develop decision-making talents and make extra inferences about their world. 

At Stuart-Hobson, Hills has set her sights on figuring out college students’ areas of energy and making certain that they’ve mastered algebra by the eighth grade. She mentioned that Ferebee, Dohmann, Fraser, DCPS tutorial superintendent Harry Hughes, sixth grade academics and oldsters are a part of a staff that may pour into college students from each angle. 

Hills, previously a Rigorous Instruction Helps Fairness (RISE) principal at Turner Elementary Faculty in Southeast, advised the Informer that fostering a relationship with college students will lay the muse for the outcomes she hopes to realize in her position. 

“When college students are cherished, they’ll soar to greater heights,” Hills mentioned. “This begins with connecting with college students every day [with] a real check-in to find out about their night time and plans. They’ve imaginations [so] we’re aligning their strengths to their objectives to allow them to compete in a world market to design revolutionary expertise that may proceed to assist us.” 

At Johnson Center Faculty in Southeast, Rashida Younger has comparable objectives for her sixth graders. 

Younger, the sixth grade academy assistant principal at Johnson Center Faculty, advised the Informer that every sixth grader will likely be paired with a Panther grownup champion. Moreover, every sixth grader could have a possibility to hitch a Future Prepared Academy that takes them by both an arts, sports activities administration or STEM pathway. 

For Younger, such assist will higher make sure that college students are outfitted with the instruments wanted for tutorial success whereas in center college. Areas of focus embody rising in-seat attendance and scholar development in math and studying, and seeing to it that extra college students have a way of belonging, as expressed in what’s referred to as the Panorama Survey. 

“One widespread barrier sixth grade college students typically expertise coming into center college is making new buddies and lack of organizational abilities. In understanding this, collectively my staff deliberately deliberate Unit 0 to advertise constructing and sustaining wholesome relationships, self-efficacy, and we’ve integrated morning hallway huddles to construct neighborhood,” mentioned Younger, a former DCPS Related Faculties supervisor. “These previous 4 days have been wonderful to look at as our keen sixth graders start to thrive utilizing methods their academics have embedded of their classes utilizing the Chief in Me curriculum.”