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Middle School Conversion Frequently Asked Questions - FAQ

General

The anticipated schedule for the below schools to transition from grades 7-8 to 6-8 is:

  • Walters 2019-20
  • Horner 2020-21
  • Thornton 2021-22
  • Centerville & Hopkins 2022-23

Funding for the middle school conversions is through Measure E, the $650 million school facilities bond passed by Fremont voters in 2014. The rollout of the middle school conversions is aligned with the issuance of Measure E Bonds, which take place approximately every two years.

Bond Series Projects are scheduled so as to address priorities throughout the district in the most cost effective and efficient way. Since the bond sales determine the available cash flow, the projects cannot be accomplished at the same time. The Middle School Conversion Projects are prioritized to address the most immediate need to alleviate attendance area overcrowding. Both Walters and Horner are projected to have high enrollment growth for several years, which is why they are scheduled first. The Hopkins Middle School Conversion Project is scheduled last; it is located in an attendance area where projections show a slight drop in enrollment.

The FUSD Long Range Facilities Plan (LRFP), calls for a mix of modernization and new construction at each of the five sites, with projects selected based on 1) Health and Safety; 2) Increasing Capacity; and 3) Upgrading Technology Infrastructure. The Scope of Work varies from site to site, based on each school's own unique needs. The LRFP contains estimated budgets based on the needs identified and recommendations made three years ago. However, today's reality is that, enrollment is increasing more rapidly than expected. For example, if we built Horner Middle School to the recommendations in the LRFP, which was approved by the Board of Education in 2014, the campus would be short 300 seats for students when it opens in 2019-2020.

Design solutions will vary between school sites, depending on the site's individual needs, unique footprint and land availability. Various options have been evaluated to determine what solution is going to be most cost effective in providing the district value. In developing the LRFP, improving core facilities throughout the district or providing equity was an overarching goal.

Curriculum & Instruction

Almost all middle schools use the "Core Model" for 6th grade scheduling, where students have the same teacher for two subjects. The default core combinations in Fremont Unified will be: 
English Language Arts & Social Studies (taught by one teacher)
Math & Science (taught by one teacher)
The goal is to have the lowest teacher to student ratio as possible. This can be best accomplished through “teaming” where 2-3 teachers share fewer than 100 students (there are multiple ways to accomplish this that can be determined at the site level).

Most students in 6th grade at Middle School will cycle through four electives:  Academic Strategies, Digital Citizenship, Healthy Lifestyles, and Innovation (not particularly in that order).
Academic Strategies will provide students with skills to support success in middle and high school including focused note taking, binder organization, time management, critical reading and writing to learn skills, and goal setting and self-monitoring. This course is modeled after AVID instructional strategies and curriculum. 
In the Digital Citizenship course students will develop an understanding about media balance and the impact of media in life, privacy and security, digital footprint, cyberbullying, and the news and media literacy.  This course was developed with Common Sense Media.  
The Healthy Lifestyle course will help students develop wholesome attitudes and habits around nutrition, fitness, stress management, mental and emotional health, and setting boundaries. 
In the Innovation course students will work collaboratively to develop design thinking and creative mindsets and to discover their particular abilities, talents, and interests in hands-on projects and activities.  They will identify a problem and pose multiple solutions to solve it, use materials in unusual and creative ways to build products, work in cycles of innovation to prototype, test, and revise product, and present their problem, solution, and rationale to classmates.  

Students will have anywhere from 4-5 teachers, depending on their schedule. See example below:
English Language Arts & Social Studies (1 teacher, 2 periods)
Math & Science (1 teacher, 2 periods)
Physical Education (1 teacher, 1 period)
Electives Wheel or Yearlong Elective (1 teacher, 1 period--could change quarterly)
Special Education and/or English Learners may have an additional class (1 teacher, 1 period)

The Director of Secondary Education and middle school principals will work together to ensure that 6th grade students have their own area in the locker room that will be supervised by a teacher. Each site will schedule PE classes according to student needs and available staffing.

Student Enrollment & Attendance Boundaries

If there is space, a student will be allowed back into their home attendance elementary school. If there is no room, they can apply for an intradistrict transfer to another elementary school with an opening or enroll in Walters Middle School for 6th grade.

If a intradistrict transfer student enrolls in Walters Middle School for 6th grade, they may remain at Walters for 7th and 8th grade if they wish OR return to their home junior high/middle school until high school. If a student wants to continue in a different attendance area junior high/middle school or high school, they will need to fill out another intradistrict request form. 

Scenario: A Washington Attendance Area student transfers to Mattos Elementary in the Kennedy Attendance Area to attend the Science Magnet school for grades K-5. She enrolls at Walters for 6th grade and then decides to go back to Centerville for 7th and 8th grades (no transfer needed). Then she decides she want to attend Mission San Jose High School, so she fills out an intradistrict transfer request and, if accepted, goes to Mission for 9th grade; if denied, goes to her home school: Washington High.

Hopkins Junior High has been designated as the site where all students that would like to continue in dual immersion will attend. Since Hopkins will be the last junior high to convert into a middle school in 2022-23, the following criteria have been put in place:

Spanish Dual Immersion (SDI) 6th graders are currently housed at three different sites. The intention is to create one unified Spanish Dual Immersion elementary school. Sixth graders will remain at the new school location until Hopkins transitions to a middle school.


If they wish to continue in dual immersion, Mandarin Immersion Program (MIP) 6th graders will remain at Azevada until Hopkins transitions to a middle school. Sixth grade students not in the immersion program will matriculate to Walters in 2019-20.    

Mattos students that live in the Kennedy Attendance Area (KAA) will attend Walters just as all other KAA 6th graders in 2019-20.

Students that are attending Mattos on an intradistrict transfer from another attendance area may either attempt to return to their home school attendance area if there is space in a 6th grade classroom or attend Walters.

Unlike the dual immersion magnets, the Mattos science magnet currently has no middle school counterpart. However, staff is developing a Board proposal to consider turning Walters into a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) middle school so that Mattos students may have a pathway similar to the immersion students.    

Sports, Study Trips, & Extra-Curricular Activities

There is not a district norm for science camp. Some schools send students in 4th, 5th, or 6th grade and some don't participate at all. Director of Elementary Education, Debbie Amundson, conducted outreach, research, and meetings to discuss whether Science Camp would move to 5th grade or stay in 6th grade when we move to the middle school model. The Middle School Instructional Task Force accepted the following recommendations:

  • Science camp is currently optional and will remain so; schools/teachers are not currently required to attend; those who want to go will continue to follow the current process by filling out a request for a Study Trip
  • In the transition year, schools may want to send both 5th & 6th graders to camp
  • Elementary schools may want to consider sending 5th graders after we make the transition to middle school
  • 6th grade teachers at a middle school can request a study trip for science camp and work with their principal to coordinate it if they wish to attend

There is not a district norm for elementary or junior high sports teams. Some schools involve students in a variety of grade levels and some don't participate at all. Currently, at most junior high schools, student selection for sport teams (basketball and volleyball) are based on grade level. Sometimes sites will have an A and a B team; other times they will divide it based on grade level.

Many factors will be taken into consideration when it comes to lunch scheduling. Some schools will be able to serve and supervise all students during one lunch period and some will need to have 2 or 3 periods. Each staff will determine this as they vote for their bell schedules each spring (per FUDTA Collective Bargaining Agreement 7.1.1)

School Climate & Student Connectedness

In order to introduce incoming 6th graders to the middle school environment, each school will host an orientation event called WEB (Where Everybody Belongs). Staff leaders at all junior highs were trained in the 2016-17 school year with plans to launch WEB for incoming 7th graders at every site in August 2017. WEB will replace the former site-developed orientations for incoming students and will be paired with MAZE days where students pick up their schedules and turn in forms. 8th graders will be trained to mentor the 6th graders. WEB will be open to all students and will be cost-free to families. For more information about the WEB program, please click this link

All 6th grade students will have access to the various clubs and athletic programs that are offered after school. They will also be able to play on intramural teams during lunch time which will empower them to feel part of the community. 

COST (Coordination of Services Teams) meet once a month to discuss any social or emotional issues that need to be addressed. With the assistance of Academic Counselors, any 6th grade issues will be addressed in a timely manner.

Communication & Community Outreach

The district developed a Middle School Instructional Task Force (MSITF) in summer 2015 comprised of parents from each attendance area, elementary and junior high school teachers, administrators, Measure E Bond personnel, and classified staff. The team met for two years to discuss how to design the instructional program to best integrate 6th grade students onto campus and create a research-based best practices middle school model for staff, students, and parents. In addition, the team visited model middle schools to study different programs. 
Additionally, District staff, the Fremont Unified Board of Trustees, and site construction committees frequently meet to discuss middle school conversion progress.

A presentation to the Board was made in May 2016 with initial MSITF recommendations. There was an updated Board presentation on May 24, 2017 to discuss final instructional model recommendations and the development of a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) magnet at Walters.
Walters Middle School: Two Parent Open Forums were held in spring 2016, and another was held on May 15, 2017 at Walters Junior High School. Two parent meetings were held in the Kennedy attendance area; one at Mattos on March 15, 2017 and one at Walters on April 10, 2017 and this presentation was shared at the Walters Parent Open Forums
 
Horner Middle School: Five Parent Open Forums are scheduled for Fall/Winter 2019.  The information presented at each meeting will be the same, so feel free to attend whatever meeting works best for your schedule.  


Grimmer Elementary School: October 22, 2019 @ 6:30 pm
Hirsch Elementary School: October 29, 2019 @ 6:00 pm
Weibel Elementary School: November 12, 2019 @ 6:00 pm
Green Elementary School: December 3, 2019 @ 6:00 pm
Warm Springs Elementary School: December 17, 2019 @ 6:00 pm
We will continue to do outreach to parents, students, and staff throughout the conversion planning.