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Education Reform

Office of School Board Member November 4, 1998
Board Meeting of November 18, 1998

Mr. Demetrio Perez, Jr., Vice Chair


A significant number of constituents have been raising concerns relative to sixth grade students attending middle schools. Sixth Grade students are usually eleven years of age and parents/guardians have expressed apprehension of having their children attending school with seventh and eighth graders.

There are currently 25 elementary schools which house a sixth grade, while all but three middle schools contain grade six. A degree of confusion exists in the elementary schools which house sixth grade with these students being an elementary school setting, while their instructional program is one that follows the middle school curriculum.

There is need to review and update all available relevant data with respect to the relative merits of the currents patterns of placements of sixth grade students. There appear to be differences between the experiences of sixth graders in elementary schools and those of sixth graders in middle schools in Miami Dade County. The experiences tend to differ grammatically with respect to retention rates and rates of disciplinary action, both of which seem to be much higher for middle school sixth grades. Differences appear to be much less dramatic for achievement test scores and measures of self-esteem, which apparently either do not differ or differ slightly in favor of the elementary schools settings. Studies of student’s experiences over time have indicate that the differences between students exposed to the two types of sixth grade settings disappear by the time they have reached the eighth grade.

Because of the concerns expressed by parents/guardian and student achievement comparisons of students attending sixth grade in an elementary school or a middle school, the Superintendent of School is directed to provide an update on the feasibility of placing sixth grade back into an elementary school setting.

The update feasibility study should include, but not be limited to, a longitudinal comparisons of achievement data of students who have completed sixth grade in Miami-Dade County Public Schools under different, matched grade level configurations, e.g., K-6-7-9, K-5-6-8. The study should also include other schools related factors, such as a student’s services data, which reflect dimensions of a well-balanced school experience for children in the sixth grade age range, as well as fiscal implications and student’s demographics and the relation to overcrowding. 

It is intended that this feasibility study be conducted at no additional cost to the district.


That the School Board of Miami-Dade County, Florida, direct the Superintendent to explore the feasibility of placing the sixth grade back into the elementary school and report back to the School Board at a Board Meeting no later than July, 1999.