Dear Fourth Grade and Fifth Grade Parents,
As you may recall from reading the school’s strategic plan last spring, this upcoming fall the Fifth Grade will move into the Middle School, creating a Middle School composed of Fifth and Sixth Grade students housed largely in Benefield Hall and Seventh and Eighth Grade students housed primarily in Fleming Hall.
Leigh Toomey, Middle School Director, and I will host separate parent gatherings this month for rising Fifth Grade and Sixth Grade parents in order to share information regarding the Middle School for the upcoming 2021-2022 school year. This is an exciting programmatic change for the school community, and we want to make sure that you are fully informed regarding this new opportunity for your family. Mrs. Toomey will follow up with you regarding details for your respective grade-level parent meeting.
This concept of a 5-8 middle school is not a particularly new or original idea for Frederica Academy or for independent middle schools in general. In fact, I headed a bisected fifth through eighth grade middle school at Brookstone School in Columbus, Georgia, over thirty-five years ago, and that model worked extremely well. Several of our teachers and administrators have also had similar positive experiences.
This model was explored for some time at FA, but it was never quite the right time to implement the plan with the series of leadership transitions in recent years. In the fall of 2019, a cross-functional team was created to explore and study the concept of moving Fifth Grade to Benefield Hall. After a series of productive discussions, a task force was appointed and charged with developing a detailed plan, with the bulk of the work done by a group of Middle School faculty and staff headed by Mrs. Toomey.
The twofold goal of the upcoming meetings is to share the specifics of the proposed program with parents and to reassure everyone in the rising Fifth and Sixth Grade classes that this model will only enhance each child’s school experience and that no signature programs or experiences will be diluted or eliminated. The task force has worked very hard these past few months to ensure that this will be true. Academic programs, faculty, facilities, athletics and the arts (including the Fifth Grade play) will all be addressed at the meetings as well as any questions from parent attendees.
Again, please look for Mrs. Toomey’s letter of invitation coming to you within a day or so. There is limited COVID-compliant seating in the Terry Thomas Room, so please RSVP as soon as possible so that we can accommodate all interested parents. Thank you.
Scott L. Hutchinson
Head of School