7th Graders at MHS is a Positive Note



Seventh graders should not be treated like the Black Plague.
After the unanimous vote by Coos Bay School District board members on Monday, Dec. 1, speculations rose about their decision to reconfigure schools to be two, possibly three, K-6 campuses and one 7-12 campus.

Students, parents and staff alike have opinions and misconceptions about the change. Some people believe the seventh graders may bring a better atmosphere for the eighth graders, but others believe upperclassmen could have a more difficult time adjusting. However, they should not worry about what comes of the decision as of now.

Even if social dynamics were taken out of the equation, financial issues still prove a key factor in the process of this reconfiguration. In order for it to happen, the school board would need to offer a bond to the community. It would need to be voted on and passed, thus raising taxes in order to pay for the remodeling or building of structures on the school campuses.

The school board tries to take the community’s best interests at hand when voting on these issues. It is likely they would become extremely educated on the situation in order to thoughtfully vote for the reconfiguration. Although they were ridiculed for the decision of eighth graders attending Marshfield High School, it proved to be a valid decision over the last four years. The same will ensue if seventh graders attend Marshfield.

Community members worry about the separation between seventh graders and high school students. The same worries arose when eighth graders were moved to the high school campus, which is why Pirate Hall was mainly used for the younger grades at first. The people of the Coos Bay School District should be aware, however, that a big part of the plan is to move both seventh and eighth graders to the Harding building. In that case, the younger students in more advanced classes would be able to walk to the high school. Other than that, the high school and middle school classes would not come into contact with one another.

Despite the social issues brought into thought, the overall reconfiguration would be extremely beneficial to students. Seventh and eighth graders should naturally be in contact with each other, and the reconfiguration makes that possible in a better setting. Had the schools turned into K-8 programs, the middle school students would not have the same developmental processes at an elementary school setting as they would have in a closer middle school level. If they are able to attend school close to the high school campus, then more occupational classes are offered, such as woodworking and manufacturing. These courses have proved beneficial to students, and if they are able to start at a younger age it will be even better.

With a decision that enormous, much thought would need to be put into whether or not the choice would be beneficial enough for the community as a whole. Currently the seventh and eighth graders are not attending the same school, which is not how it should be working. Seventh and eighth graders should be together because the way they develop and interact with each other; they go hand in hand.

Even though this process may not take place for several years, it does not mean it should not be discussed and taken seriously. A change of some sort is inevitable. They are meant to better develop the community, and this is a step in the right direction.