Red Wing High School welcomes eighth-gradersRed Wing's eighth-graders officially went by a new name Tuesday.
By: Mike Longaecker, The Republican Eagle
Red Wing's eighth-graders officially went by a new name Tuesday.
"Welcome, high school students," Principal Beth Borgen announced to the school's new eighth- and ninth-graders during lunch Tuesday.
The eighth-graders' new distinction caps a series of major changes approved last year by the Red Wing School Board. Reconfiguration at district buildings now has all fifth-graders attending Twin Bluff Middle School and eighth-graders at the high school.
The plan aimed to free up space for smaller class sizes at the district's two elementary schools.
But for eighth-graders, the change means getting used to a new way of life.
"I just feel really short," eighth-grader McKenzie Lampman said with a laugh.
Still, she and fellow eighth-grade friend Claire DuRose said they already preferred the high school setting to their old haunt - Twin Bluff Middle School.
The same went for Marcus Warrington.
"It's an upgrade from the middle school," the eighth-grader said.
He and a group of friends at lunch said teachers went out of their way to make the youngest students feel welcome. For some, that included an ice-breaker activity where students gave each other shoulder massages.
Eighth-grader Nick Meyer said activities like that helped ease some pre-school butterflies.
"(It's a) big school," he said.
Changes also brought a brand-new block scheduling system to both the high school and Twin Bluff. At the high school, that meant attending three 80-minute class periods.
That might take some getting used to, the students said.
"I don't like the 80-minute classes," Meyer said while friends nodded in agreement.
The new schedule includes a half-hour advisory period, where students spend time tackling different activities.
Language arts teacher Jillyne Raymond welcomed students into her 10:55 a.m. advisory period, where she explained how the class would feel like a study hall on Mondays and Tuesdays. On Wednesdays, students meet with the teacher to review their grades.
"That ... is a huge piece of why we have the advisory program," Raymond told the students, who are grouped into classes based on their responses to an interest inventory that pairs them with appropriate teachers.
Thursdays allow for study time, she said, and Friday periods call for what teachers dub SSR: silent sustained reading.