The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

May 4, 2013

Middle school is a challenging time for students

— DOTHAN, Ala. (AP) — Middle school represents a major time of transition for students, as they adapt to more rigorous coursework and time management demands, all while they're going through various developmental and socialization changes.

Many students who did well in elementary school seem to hit a brick wall when it comes to academic growth in these years, but getting them to push through these problems is essential to avoiding bigger academic and discipline problems in the future, including dropping out of school.

"What schools are trying to do is help students become independent thinkers," said Peggy Fillio, a Southern Regional Education Board improvement specialist. "If they don't, they'll live with their parents until they're 30."

Dothan's middle schools appear to be bucking the trend toward lower performance in middle school years, as test scores for middle school students have risen steadily in recent years. Overall, the gap between fifth and sixth grade reading and math scores on the Alabama Reading and Math Test are minimal, according to Southern Regional Education Board statistics. The SREB says 92.98 percent of Dothan fifth grade students scored proficient or better on state reading tests, as opposed to 92.5 percent of sixth grade students. SREB figures say 94.99 percent of Dothan fifth grade students scored proficient or better on state math tests, as opposed to 80.55 percent of sixth grade students.

This is no accident, according to Southern Regional Education Board specialists who have been working with the local school system to improve middle schools. SREB specialists have been providing local middle schools with leadership and instructional training for school leaders and principals and have also been implementing other programs to help local middle schools appeal to student interests.

Maria Johnson, assistant principal at Beverlye Magnet School, said students face a number of challenges when they come to middle school. For starters, students are going through physical changes linked to puberty causing difficulties in behavior. Socialization changes are also occurring, as parents become less important to students and their peers become more important.

Text Only
State and Nation


Which foreign crisis is the biggest threat to the security of the United States?

None of the above
     View Results
AP Video
Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast New Sanctions on Key Sectors of Russian Economy Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee