5th to 6th Grade Transition

UPDATE: June 23, 2017:

6th Grade Ice Cream Social.  The tradition continues!  We will be hosting our annual Ice Cream Social for incoming 6th graders on Wednesday, August 30, 4:30-5:30.  All incoming 6th graders (and their parents) are invited to attend this fun event.  There will be a get-to-know the school scavenger hunt and other community-building activities.  We recognize that this is the first time that all our incoming students will be transitioning away from their local neighborhood elementary school and join the larger, regional middle school.  We value each of our incoming 6th graders as an important part of our school community.  Therefore, we hope to have as many of the 6th graders there as possible.  

April 10, 2017 Letter to All 5th Grade Parents:

Dear 5th Grade Parents / Guardians,

We are so excited that your child will be attending Mt. Ararat Middle School next year!  Believe it or not, it is now time to begin planning for this move from 5th to 6th grade. We recognize that this is an important and dynamic transition as your child moves from the local, “neighborhood” elementary school to our combined, regional middle school. Our goal is for all students and parents to experience a smooth and enjoyable transition.  We want to share our plans for the many things we have in store to make you and your child feel welcome and an important part of our positive and amazing school community.    

Incoming 6th Grade Parent Night on April 25:  Our process begins with an invitation to the parents of all 5th grade students to meet at the Orion Performing Arts Center at Mt. Ararat Middle School at 6:00 pm on the evening of Tuesday, April 25th.  For parents who have a child enrolled in special education, you are invited to meet with Tanji Johnston, Special Services Coordinator, at 5:30 p.m this same evening to hear about services at the Middle School.  That special services meeting will take place in our Learning Commons on the second floor.

This evening provides an opportunity for you to hear about the Mt. Ararat Middle School experience. We will focus on the transition and placement process, the middle school approach to teaching and learning, and what “a day in the life” of a 6th grade student looks like.  We will begin our program for all parents at 6:00 p.m. in the Orion Performing Arts Center at the Middle School before dividing into two groups and moving to classrooms in the 6th grade neighborhood.  Prior to this evening, we encourage you to review our School Profile and Team Descriptions on our website.  

Please understand that this evening is intended primarily for parents and guardians.  Students will be involved in transition activities at other times. For example, the Middle School counselors will be visiting with every 5th grade classroom in the weeks following the parent/guardian meeting to give information on the transition to students.  Counselors will bring current 6th grade students with them to the elementary schools so incoming students can hear about middle school from both students and adults.  If you do need to bring your children with you on April 25, we ask that you please keep them with you at all times.

Regarding Team Placement:  As a school we make the decision about where to place your child in 6th grade.  The team that your child is placed on as a 6th grade student will, in nearly all cases, determine their 7th and 8th grade team, as well (see “Team Descriptions” link above to learn more).  As part of this important process, we gather information from every 5th grade teacher about your child.  We also welcome you to share any pertinent information to help us in the placement process.  This information may include:

  • Information about your child’s learning style

  • History of past successes and challenges in previous years’ of schooling

  • Whether your prefer your child to be on a looping or non-looping team in 7th and 8th Grade

If you wish to provide input in your child’s placement, please write a letter to me with the above information by May 19th.  You can mail this letter to me.  You can also attach it an email, but we ask that it is a PDF with your signature on it, as a copy will be placed in your child’s cumulative education file.  

We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday, April 25th for the first step in welcoming your child to our school. Please do not hesitate to call me if you have any questions.


Joshua Ottow


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