Transition program benefits upcoming middle school students


Program helps with middle school transition

By Chase Jordan - [email protected]



Angelique Young speaks to upcoming sixth-graders at Union Middle School. (Chase Jordan | Sampson Independent)


Future sixth-graders at Union Middle School participate in the Summer Bridge Program with Media Specialist Debra Malahias. (Chase Jordan | Sampson Independent)


Upcoming Union Middle School students learn about different learning styles from Angelique Young, a teacher from Sampson County Schools. (Chase Jordan | Sampson Independent)


The Summer Bridge Program provides learning opportunities for future Union Middle School students. (Chase Jordan | Sampson Independent)


At the end of August, Ronnie Powell and Abigail Wettig will become middle school students. For many, the new journey comes with the jitters of going to a bigger building and having more responsibility.

“We usually have two classes, but now, we’re going to have about seven,” Ronnie said about the prospect of being a rising sixth-grader at Union Middle School (UMS).

But thanks to a new transition program, the school is already a familiar place for the former fifth-graders from Union Intermediate School.

“I feel pretty calm and I don’t feel scared,” Abigail said.

UMS completed its first Summer Bridge Program. The purpose is to help students with the transition to the next level of their education. It began Monday and continued through Friday. Principal Theresa Melenas expressed how the program is beneficial to students.

“A lot of times, that transition is really difficult for students,” Melenas said while walking through the halls. “Their grades tend to drop and they do poorly, at least for the first semester. That’s a trend nationally.”

During the program, students learned about middle school expectations, taking notes, organization and classroom schedules.

“They’re not in one classroom anymore, like they were in elementary school,” Melenas said.

Team building and pre-assessments were also a part of summer bridge. Melenas said she wants to make sure students are in the right places at the beginning of school.

“And more importantly, it’s just a time for them to get into the building, so they won’t be scared or intimidated when they get here on Aug. 29,” Melenas said.

Angelique Young, teacher and AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) coordinator, added that there’s a proverbial cliff when it comes to testing.

“They’re scoring well in the fifth grade, but when they get to sixth grade, there’s a plummet in the test scores,” Young said.

One of the lessons Young taught involved three learning styles — auditory, visual and kinesthetic learning, where students learn best through physical activities.

“When students know how they learn best, they are empowered to take responsibility of their learning,” Young said. “If I’m standing up here and talking, and you’re a visual learner, you’re getting nothing out of a lecture.”

But that’s probably not the case for the visual learner who receives the information and produces notes with key words underlined and circled along with coloring. Through this process, Young said all three learning styles are used. She said the learning ways are used throughout the classrooms, but it’s the responsibility of the student to use whatever works best for them.

“If you need to go home and do a little pocket chart or write notes on a flashcard, you need to do that,” Young said.

Funding was made possible through the Simple Gifts, a program which funds educational opportunities in the community. Janet Taylor, a language arts teacher, wrote the grant proposal with the assistance of Young. They researched and learned about the program format. At the end of next school year, they hope to see a positive effect among the Summer Bridge students. About 50 students registered and funds were used for bus transportation and school supplies.

“We are excited about it and we hope that it continues,” Young said about the program aiding future sixth-graders. “When they step in on day one, they’re going to be very comfortable. We’re going to be happy about that.”

Angelique Young speaks to upcoming sixth-graders at Union Middle School.
(Chase Jordan | Sampson Independent)
http://clintonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_Transition_1.jpgAngelique Young speaks to upcoming sixth-graders at Union Middle School.
(Chase Jordan | Sampson Independent)

Future sixth-graders at Union Middle School participate in the Summer Bridge Program with Media Specialist Debra Malahias.
(Chase Jordan | Sampson Independent)
http://clintonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_Transition_2.jpgFuture sixth-graders at Union Middle School participate in the Summer Bridge Program with Media Specialist Debra Malahias.
(Chase Jordan | Sampson Independent)

Upcoming Union Middle School students learn about different learning styles from Angelique Young, a teacher from Sampson County Schools.
(Chase Jordan | Sampson Independent)
http://clintonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_Transition_3.jpgUpcoming Union Middle School students learn about different learning styles from Angelique Young, a teacher from Sampson County Schools.
(Chase Jordan | Sampson Independent)

The Summer Bridge Program provides learning opportunities for future Union Middle School students.
(Chase Jordan | Sampson Independent)
http://clintonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_Transition_4.jpgThe Summer Bridge Program provides learning opportunities for future Union Middle School students.
(Chase Jordan | Sampson Independent)
Program helps with middle school transition

By Chase Jordan

[email protected]

Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.

Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.

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