If you’re reading this, it’s a pretty good chance you’ve gone through middle school.
And if you have, you know it can be hard. It’s a cauldron of big emotions as children start experiencing the emotions that will take them into their teens.
This is one reason Tomball Independent School District has both intermediate schools and junior highs. Intermediate schools serve fifth and sixth graders while the junior high campuses serve students in seventh and eighth grade. While unconventional — most sixth graders attend school with seventh and eighth graders while a small majority of elementary schools go through sixth grade — having this split campus is beneficial to healthy development and continued learning for pre- and early teens.
Starting in fifth grade and continuing onto sixth, children start experiencing changes in their bodies. Fifth graders are on the cusp of childhood and adolescence — and still enjoy many of the same activities and relationships they did as fourth graders — but it’s as if gaining an extra digit to their age gives them an apparent confidence that is manifested in how they interact with their peers, teachers and family. As these fifth graders transition into sixth grade, their emotions become stronger. They may seem confused, rebellious and mature but still childish. They also begin to gravitate more toward their peers, and peer pressure becomes a powerful force.
A smaller school environment — such as might be found at a campus serving only two grades — allows teachers and staff to better monitor how children are feeling and interacting, helping them smooth over the rough patches. Without exposure to older seventh and eighth graders, fifth and sixth graders could feel freer to indulge in the silliness of childhood they sometimes feel at that age. It better allows them to move into adolescence at a slower, less pressured pace than if they went to school with older children. And conversely, having their own school — rather than being grouped with younger elementary children — gives them that independent, “grown up” feeling children of that age often cherish. A bonus for fifth graders attending a school such as Tomball Intermediate — which serves Amira — is that they can participate in band, choir and orchestra, which are often not offered on an elementary level.
Conversely, a seventh and eighth-grade campus gives those students a welcome feeling of separation from childhood as they continue their move to adulthood. These young teens and pre-teens have their own unique issues as their bodies, minds and even personalities continue changing, and staff dedicated to those particular changes is a distinct advantage to a healthy adolescence.
Students of this age are eager to explore interests, and schools such as Grand Lakes Junior High that serves Amira offer a broad range of classes, from theater, art, dance, orchestra, choir and band to cheerleading, basketball, track, swimming, volleyball and football. Students can also participate in a range of clubs and school-sponsored social activities.
The unique approach of Tomball ISD places it at the top of the list of Best School Districts in Harris County, according to Niche.com, earning a coveted A+. In Texas, the district ranks No. 14 out of 1,018 reviewed by the site. It also ranks as the best place to teach and the district with the best teachers in the Houston area.