College for Clarion area? Philosophical discussion of what is best for children. ::

CLARION, PA (EYT) — The idea of ​​a Clarion Area Middle School was not prompted by a single incident, but has been under discussion for nearly a year by administration, according to Clarion Area Superintendent Joe Carrico.

Questions were raised recently at a working session of the Clarion Area School Board.

Sixth graders would be included in a middle school consisting of sixth, seventh, and eighth graders in an existing wing of the Clarion Area High School building on Liberty Street.

“We’re not in a crisis or a catastrophic situation that requires getting rid of staff or closing a building, which is kind of nice,” Carrico explained. “It’s a philosophical discussion about what’s best for children.”

“We’ve been looking at it administratively and with focused conversations with boards and teachers for probably a year now,” Carrico said. “We’re getting to a point where we’re getting very comfortable recommending that we move to a college model.”

Carrico said the discussions sparked further discussion and the idea has also been shared with the school board, but the concept is still under review.

“We haven’t gone to the parents yet and we haven’t met our faculty yet,” Carrico said Wednesday morning in an interview with “Administratively, we said we recommend it, and we think it’s a good idea. That was it.”

The college would be housed in the old wing of the original high school which included a central office. The sixth, seventh, and eighth years would be housed in the wing. Students would be separated and there would be no mixing with upper secondary students.

“The interaction would be very low and wouldn’t include scheduled classes with the high school kids, or they wouldn’t have lunch with the high school kids, and stuff like that.

“It’s best to have these kids in a middle school model. Instead of having 11 and 12 year olds in elementary school, you would have them in middle school. We can accomplish this simply because we have a planned physical space and can achieve it. »

The administration is working to use existing infrastructure for the wing, according to Carrico. Special courses, mainly in art, music, health, physical education, technology, industry and industrial arts would be included. The three sixth form teachers would be transferred to the new wing.

“We try to use all of this as best we can internally. We’ll see, and that’s the goal, but we don’t make promises.

Carrico said the process for the wing is for the administration to say they recommend such a program.

“We’ll be talking to the board once more in February and pending approval at that time, we’ll start our in-depth drilling with like-minded professors, start working out the details, the detailed schedules, as well as the deals, lunches, and transportation.. We’ll be spending the whole spring working on these items.

According to Carrico, there is no doubt in his mind that the arrangement is best for sixth graders.

“We think this is going to benefit sixth grade immensely… academically, socially and emotionally. That’s why we do it; we think it’s a good thing for 11 and 12 year olds to be with 13 and 14 year olds, rather than being in a building that’s really designed for third and fourth year.

The revamped and improved guidance counselor office will include a separate counselor for grades six through eight.

“Kids will have options here like esports, clubs and activities. Middle class teachers can work together on academics. This is what guides our thoughts.

“We met the primary people yesterday, and it was very cordial and some good points were raised. I’m meeting the parents next week and (will) share a PowerPoint presentation.

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