TUSD to offer elementary option for 6th grade in 10 schools

6th graders in Tucson Unified School District will be able to remain in elementary school on 10 campuses next year, with officials saying they hope the curriculum improves achievement and student behavior.

Students in Tucson’s largest district have been attending 6th grade at middle schools, and some schools will continue to offer that option.

The elementary schools taking part in the change are Banks, Collier, Davidson, Gale, Henry, Lynn/Urquides/ Soleng Tom, Steele, Vesey and Whitmore.

The TUSD Governing Board approved the change in October and Tuesday evening will get an overview of what the curriculum will look like. 

The plan is to maintain a bell schedule around six periods with class changes. This will allow students to take electives in addition to the core requirements.

A 2007 study by Duke University showed students who attend sixth grade in an elementary-school setting experience fewer behavioral problems and better academic achievement than those who attend middle schools.

Other benefits the district claims the K-6 system provides are expanded parental choice and students to start changing classes in a familiar environment,

On the other hand, district officials point out that 6th grade students who attend middle schools may have better facilities along with more electives, increased athletic options, more social interaction and a greater emphasis on responsibility and self-sufficiency.