Summer has been a very busy time preparing the former American River Charter School to be the “new” middle school, ready to accept the 200 students from both Georgetown and Northside schools on Aug. 21.
The final weeks before the start of the 2012-13 session had many workers finishing irrigation for the new sod to be laid among the reconfigured asphalt walkways. A large shade cover will be hung over one end of the campus to provide an outdoor covered area with tables.
Kevin Ahern, principal at Golden Sierra High School (on the hill above the middle school), has been studying and researching “middle level education” for many months now. “This school will be its own entity and not a miniature of the high school,” he said.
While the students will have full use of the high school gym and weight rooms, there will be separate lunch and bell schedules.
Seventh graders will have opportunities for introduction to a foreign language, woodshop, music, percussion and “Project Lead the Way.” Eighth graders will also be offered foreign language as well as drama, small engines and “Project Lead the Way.”
Spearheaded by the non-profit group of the same name, Project Lead the Way is a national organization committed to encouraging more students to go into STEM-based education, such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Electives at the new middle school will be available every quarter, and a team will be working on AVID (Acceleration Via Individual Determination) to help at-risk students with study skills.
Teacher Angela Schroeder, prepping her classroom for history and English, said she “wants the students to be prepared for an amazing program. I’m excited about the intimate campus with students having the opportunity to know others well,” she added.
Everyone involved in the process of preparing the program is very upbeat and positive and agrees that this is a “great configuration” for the middle school students. The focus is for student outcomes to be successful and measurably excited about learning. Student enrollments have been increasing every day.
A very impressive concrete walkway goes up to the high school building. According to several sources, this ramp can be seen from space (Google Earth).