Can you believe that it’s almost that time of year again? Time to pick out new folders, sharpen pencils, open new notebooks and cram it all into that backpack. Here at Lift For Life Academy, we can’t believe the summer break has gone by so quickly. While most of our students have been away, we’ve been hard at work getting ready for the new year.
Lift for Life Academy will be bringing in 85 fresh new faces to our school and we can never wait to meet them all, which is why we do a 6th grade transition. Every year, we bring in our new students for 4-5 weeks in the summer to get to know them. We spend the days learning about who they are, what they have to say and where they are academically. It’s a chance for us to get a jump start on the school year.
Over the years what we’ve learned is that 6th grade can be one of the most challenging years for our students. Students come to us from all over the St. Louis City area and for a number of reasons. Some come from private schools because parents can’t afford the tuition anymore, some come from other charter schools because they haven’t gotten the right fit and still others come looking for a better academic experience. The reality for many of our students when they first enter Lift For Life Academy is that they are testing below their grade level academically. Our 6th grade transition is a chance to get a jump start on the catching up that these students will have to do in the next three years to be ready for high school.
Katrice Noble, Lift For Life Academy Principal, once interviewed some of our students to see what it was that stalled them in their educational experience. Thinking she was going to receive vague answers about lack of motivation, she was astounded to hear students speak about specific teachers and specific moments in their past that convinced them it just wasn’t going to get any better. That trying wasn’t worth it.
It’s taking the time to talk to the students, to delve into what’s holding them back that makes Lift For Life Academy rise above the rest. This year, we’re going even further by creating a 6th grade center that will allow our teachers to focus additional energy on our incoming class. Class size will be smaller for this grade level, with 15-16 students per teacher and students will have a 5 core rotation that will allow for 2 communication arts classes and 2 math classes. We will also have a literacy aid dedicated solely to this grade level. We know that having more resources means making even more gains during this first year.
So, while we can’t believe it’s coming up so soon, we’re ready, we’re dedicated, and we can’t wait for the school year to begin!