Student Controversy Over Middle School Expansion

Perspective #1

Excited About the Controversial Middle School Expansion

By: Raynetta Van, Sophomore 

Have you heard the great news about what’s going to happen to Life Academy? Aren’t you excited to have wonderful and amazing 6th graders on our campus? I don’t understand why people are all upset about having 6th graders at our campus. I do understand that we are already equally sharing the campus with United For Success Academy. But, having 6th graders, Life Academy students will be able to be role models, mentors, and we get more money for expanding our school.

Having 6th graders at Life Academy is a good thing because the 6th graders will have someone to look up to. Most of the students at Life are mature and are leaders. In my opinion, the students at Life will be role models to the incoming 6th graders. And, by Life students being a role models, the 6th graders will not be your average 6th graders. Instead, they will be more mature, and they will be more prepared for high school if they have positive, resilient, and mature role models near them.
Lastly, having 6th graders at Life Academy will give the school more money. With more money, the school can do more things. The upcoming students of Life Academy will be able to experience great trips like Point Reyes, Yosemite, and the senior trip. Also, the upcoming students of Life Academy might get to have awesome proms. Also, with money we could possibly have a cleaner and nicer school.
Perspective #2

Changing Our School’s Culture 

By: Felicia Martinez, Junior 

There will be 6-12 grade students as Life Academy. What? Why?

This will really kills Life Academy students’ high school culture. It will take away the chance for us (high school students) to “grow up.” If we are sticking around with the immature vibe of little kids, then it won’t help us to mature as dramatically because we will have little munchkins running around. If anything, I think we shouldn’t expand into 6th-12th because it won’t teach us how to “grow up,” and it will change everything about Life.

If it were up to me, I would try and get this school to expand into a bigger high school. Bring kids from different schools beside UFSA to tour our school. More 8th graders will consider coming here. If they don’t, it gives them the chance to tell family or friends about this great school.

Also, expanding to a 6th – 12th grade school would mean that Life Academy wouldn’t be as much of a science based school because the middle school will probably not be as involved with our HEALTH AND BIOSCIENCE part. And, that is what Life is all about! I mean if they change our school’s culture, they might as well change the name.

Perspective #3

We Don’t Need This

By: Makayla Tarango, Sophomore 

Are there really going to be 6th graders in our high school? Why?

I don’t see any reason why they would make our school into a middle/high school. Why not just have the middle school kids go to a regular middle school (for example United For Success right down the hall)? I’m all for kids going to a good school and getting a good learning experience, but I feel like that’s not up to high schools to deal with. I don’t understand why they want to make this change.

If they put middle school kids with us (the high school students), then that will take the focus off of us and will make our school even more hectic. It will be more challenging to get individual time and counseling for each student.

I think that middle school students would find it more helpful to be in a middle school environment rather than a high school environment because it will cause them to not focus on middle school duties and make them more distracted.

In the end, I feel that expanding to a 6th – 12th grade school is too much of a drastic change. They should of asked the students who currently attend Life Academy if we felt comfortable with the change and if we felt it would affect our learning experience.

Perspective #4

This Is Not a Kindergarten!

By: Natalia Espinoza, Sophomore 

I don’t think Life Academy should expand to middle school because it won’t feel like we’re in high school. It’s pretty much going to feel like a kindergarten on our campus. Having middle school students and high school students at the same campus is going to be awkward because the older students need quiet spaces to concentrate and have their work done. On the other hand, younger students are going to be really noisy, and they’re not going to have respect for other people while they are working.

I also have the feeling that there is going to be a lot of drama. As a matter of fact, Life Academy has been involved in drama along with UFSA’s 6th grade students. And, someone from the Life Academy community got hurt. I feel like the children are not going to be as respectful and mature with everyone around them because they are going to feel cool around older students and because they are going to try to fit in.

Another reason of why I’m against this idea is because teachers are going to make us be role models for the kids coming to our school. I don’t think that there is enough people who are willing to change the ways they talk, dress and act.

In conclusion, I’m not really exited about the expansion because younger students at a high school campus are going to create trouble between the older students and the younger ones. Middle school students are not mature enough to respect everyone around them; children make too much noise for people to really concentrate on their work. I want to point out that are a lot of people in the Life Academy community are not going to change their ways. Most importantly, we already have a lot of pressure on us, and this expansion is going to make things even more stressful. This is not a kindergarten!

Perspective #5

Can It Work Out for Both Groups of Students?

By: Brenda Sanchez, Senior 

Life Academy has been a small school that consists of 9th-12th grade students – why change it now?

I think that making Life Academy a middle school may change the effects on how they younger kids grow. Yes, they may become mature, but they need to have their fun being kids at a normal school that does not involve a high school. These young kids should have their own space. It’s already bad enough that we have to share the campus with a middle school…Why can’t the 6th grade students just go there?

The whole point of Life Academy is to be a small school, not a huge one. I came to Life Academy because it was a small school. I really liked that it was a small school because the classes or hallways were never crowded. I am glad that I won’t be here when the school expands because I would not want to have interacting with younger kids as a part of my high school experience.

However, some young 5th graders at my internship placement are very excited to be able to go to Life Academy next year. They ask me a lot of questions about the work they give us and about our other internships in hospitals. Many of these young girls are interested in learning about the medical field and working there in the future.

Basically, I just want the decision to work out for both the new 6th grade kids and the high school students.


Edited By: Eva Oliver, Digital Journalism Teacher


One comment on “Student Controversy Over Middle School Expansion

  1. Ms. Thomas says:

    These are very interesting perspectives. I have to say that when the idea of expanding to a 6-12th grade school was suggested, I was opposed. I don’t want to teach middle school. I love high school students! But, the more I’ve thought about it, the more on board I’ve become. Raynetta raises some really good points (it’s clear she wants to be a teacher when she’s an adult!). Life Academy is a good school that has had a positive impact on our community and the individual lives of our students. We have the chance to widen that impact. As a ninth grade teacher, I can tell you that a lot of my time and energy is devoted to socializing ninth graders to what it is like to be at Life Academy. I spend more time doing this than I do teaching English content. If students started with us sooner, they would already understand the culture and by the time they get to me, I could focus more on skills and real academic learning. That is exciting! More importantly, I have to comment on Felicia’s comment that we should expand our size at the high school level. I truly believe that small class size is a powerful way to reach students. Schools that have impacted classrooms have a much harder time teaching. Our class sizes have gotten bigger over the last few years. If we expanded our high school numbers only, your teachers would have more students every day, which means less time for YOU. By bringing in a new class of students, we also have to bring in new teachers, which means we can keep our teacher-student ratio as low as possible. Think about it: Life Academy has probably had a positive role in your life. Wouldn’t you want that to begin as soon as possible? Why should you have to wait to be 14 or 15 years old to find your family? I encourage the naysayers to embrace the change and think about the sixth graders as your younger siblings. You want what’s best for them, right? I want you to remember the persuasive letters you wrote to UFS students in ninth grade. At first you complained about it, saying you didn’t want to write to “little kids.” In the end, most of you felt proud of your accomplishment and realized that you didn’t need to change who you were to be a role model. You just have to be willing to open yourself to the possibility of interacting with sixth graders.

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