The sixth graders of Cordova may be gearing up for a big change 

With enrollment on the rise and limited classroom space, the Cordova School District is considering moving its sixth grade class from Mt. Eccles Elementary to Cordova Jr./Sr. High School. 

This topic was initially opened for discussion at a Jan. 15 joint MES/CHS Site Council, where administrators and community members mutually shared their questions, concerns, and ideas. The discussion included several hypothetical solutions to create adequate space for classrooms within the elementary building, such as moving the library to the basement or moving the district office off site. The idea of using portables was also suggested to allow temporary space for students in case future enrollment doesn’t increase as anticipated. 

“I came away from the meeting feeling like there is a strong push from the administration to move the 6th grade to CHS — but I have some concerns about this plan,” Cordovan parent Malani Towle wrote in a letter addressed to the school board. In her letter she requested that this subject be added to the school board’s meeting agenda for further discussion.  

She went on to say, “I hope that we can work together to find a long-lasting solution that preserves a developmentally appropriate learning environment for our incoming and future sixth grade students.”  

The School Board will deliberate on the issue further at its meeting at the end of the month. 

While some parents expressed excitement that their younger students would be able to experience a more rounded academic experience with electives and advanced classes at the high school, it doesn’t sound like this will be the reality for the sixth grade if the proposal goes through. They would most likely still be in a single classroom with a single teacher, without access to the benefits of the rotating schedule that the rest of the high school follows. Currently, seventh and eighth graders have multiple classes with one teacher, but still change classes for electives and special classes. Doing the same for sixth grade brings up the issues of staffing and logistics. 


Another point of discussion was the fact that there is a large variation in maturity when comparing sixth graders to teenage students, and parents asked what potential measures could be put in place, if any, to keep these groups separate. Participants also pondered the question of whether there would be optional Fridays offered to the sixth grade class. Seventh through 12th graders do not currently have to attend school on Fridays, a policy that used to be in effect at the elementary school as well. Mt. Eccles changed back to a traditional five-day school week after giving optional Fridays a try.  

A survey conducted among students by fifth grade teacher Gretchen Carpenter showed that her current class was generally excited about the potential location change, and were mainly concerned about locker sharing, and no longer having a traditional recess break. 

In Cordova School District Superintendent Alex Russin’s report submitted for the Feb. 14 school board meeting, he stated:  

“Next steps are to further discuss some of the ideas brought forth during the site council meeting and to assess a number of variables, including middle school models within the context of staffing needs, school climate and connectedness as it relates to potential student movement or staying in place, and cost factors in creating additional space in either building for a growing student population.” 

The next school board meeting is scheduled for March 20 where the sixth grade discussion will be an agenda item.