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School Grades

Elementary School Expert Advice from Barbara Potts

Q: Are there any advantages to K-2 grades being in a separate school from the 3-6 grades -- as opposed to a K-6 grade system where all the children are in a neighborhood school?

A: There are both advantages and disadvantages to having schools set up in a K-2 and 3-5 or 3-6 configuration. Children in a K-2 school seem to feel confident in their setting and don't have to worry about being around "big kids" who could pick on them. It's also easier to tailor programs and services to the children when there is a narrow range of ages.

On the other hand, it's difficult for children finishing second grade to move to a new school; this type of move is easier for older children as they finish fifth or sixth grade and move to middle school or junior high. Schools that have a wider range of grades (K-5 or K-6) are frequently able to get more services for gifted children and for those who need additional academic help.

There are several websites you may want to check for specific research information. Look at the National Association for the Education of Young Children (www.naeyc.org), the National Association of School Psychologists (www.nasponline.org), or the Educational Resources Information Center (www.askeric.org) for links to research study results.

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Barbara Potts has worked as an elementary school counselor for many years. She has a BA in psychology from Wake Forest University, and an M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.


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