P-8 schools, by nature, offer a smaller middle school experience for students and differ from larger, more traditional middle school settings. Below are some important facts about 6th-8th grades in a P-8 setting:
• The new school in the Anthem community was originally planned to be an elementary K-5 school. Given the large enrollment numbers that currently exist at Rocky Top, the district chose to secure land and plan a large enough building to support a P-8 school. This decision was made, not only in service to the Anthem community, but also in the interest of addressing the middle school overcrowding that is occurring in the northern part of the district.
• A four round 6-8th grade allows us to offer all core and elective classes (Math, English Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, Art, Music and Physical Education)
• Final elective offerings will be determined after multiple community engagement sessions. The new school will receive allocations to provide PE, Art and Music, just like other schools in Adams 12, but other potential electives will be determined through a community engagement process in the spring.
• The average number of middle school students at other district K-8 schools (STEM Lab, STEM Launch and Hulstrom K-8) is about 260 students. Most middle schools at a P-8, run four rounds, as is currently planned at Thunder Vista. This allows for about 120 students per grade level at 6th, 7th and 8th grade and usually leads to an enrollment range of 300 to 400 students in these three grades.
• There is not necessarily an ideal middle level enrollment number. Instead, what matters is the intentional planning, commitment and culture that a strong staff creates for kids, in partnership with families.