Even though school doesn’t begin until next week, about 185 sixth graders spent half a day in their new school on Tuesday.
“We had about 97 percent of the sixth-graders participate,which is an indication of a commitment of parents to the program,” said Beach Principal Nick Angel.
The program he’s referring to is the “Where Everybody Belongs” program, known as or WEB. It’s aimed at the youngest students entering Beach Middle School, who will begin the 2013-14 school year at a new school.
Chelsea High School has a similar program called Link Crew for the new freshman class where juniors and seniors serve as mentors during the transition from middle school to high school.
“The purpose (of WEB) is to provide a great experience for sixth-graders in this transition year,” said Brian Boos, one of three WEB teachers.
In its fourth year, the WEB program begins before the school year commences with eighth-graders serving as mentors for the newest grade of students at Beach.
Teacher Katherine McCalla said 44 WEB leaders were chosen from last year’s seventh-grade class through a selection process that took place last spring.
Then throughout this school year, the WEB leaders assist their group of sixth-grade students not only with things like finding their way around the school but also through teacher guided academic and fun social gatherings.
“I’m really proud of these eighth-grade WEB leaders,” Angel said. “It’s a special group who has worked hard to ensure a memorable experience for the sixth-graders.
McCalla said they go bowling, ice skating, have dances and attend ice cream socials together. In addition, some of the WEB leaders take an elective class that teaches them how to teach their sixth graders things such as cooperation, study habits, sportsmanship and how to ask good questions.
“We want every grade to feel like they own the building,” said Sarah Bunten, a WEB teacher.
The sixth graders are going from having 1 or 2 teachers in elementary school to having 4-6 teachers in middle school. “This is a big change,” she said.
Angel also commended the efforts of Bunten, Boos and McCalla. “These are three outstanding educators who go above and beyond in everything they do and WEB is just a part of it.”
Be sure to check out a slide show below of the 22 groups of WEB leaders and sixth-graders who participated in the program on Aug. 27. Please note that the students in orange T-shirts on the ends are the WEB leaders.