Recently there have been comments concerning the middle school model as it exists in the Tacoma Public Schools. In the 1980s, I served on the ad hoc committee that looked into making changes and many models were investigated.
The primary reason for changing was to implement a four-year high school plan that would make a better curriculum focus or flow for students. In adopting this plan, the complexion of the junior high schools would be affected.
One of the complaints then was having seventh graders with ninth-graders, not a good meld of ages. Very interestingly, this is the same complaint voiced by a letter writer (TNT, 9-300, except the grade level has now shifted down to sixth and eight grades. The problem becomes a “relative” one, and over the years could continue to shift down.
The reality of the situation is to not lose sight of the original intent: making high schools four-year programs. For almost a century, grade schools were first through eighth grade, all in the same building, with a modicum of success. An excellent example of a middle school model is grade schools K through sixth, with the middle schools seventh and eighth, followed by four years in high school.
Maybe this is a model to be explored, leaving the original intent of four-year high schools.