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Value of a K - 8 Education

Catholic School EducationThe United States is virtually the only nation where elementary school students spend time in a middle or junior high school before entering high school. The curricular and non-curricular benefits of a K-8 school have been written about in multiple studies and newspaper articles. This is what educators, parents and nationally respected research institutes have concluded about the advantages of the K-8 model:

Curricular Benefits

  • Studies have found that 8th graders in K-8 schools score significantly higher than those in middle school on standardized tests of achievement in reading, mathematics and science.
  • Attendance, dropout rates and student test scores are better for children attending K-8 schools than for those in traditional middle schools.

K-8s Are the Place Where Everybody Knows Your Name

  • Teachers in K-8 settings are accustomed to teaming, planning together and working with the same group of students. They are also trained to teach elementary students and bring a student-centered approach to their teaching.
  • Children in K-8 schools are able to experience the comfort and stability of familiar surrounding and staff for an eight or nine-year period.

10-14-Year-Olds are Children

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  • Forces in today's society are pushing 10- to 14-year old children to grow up fast. Because they have fewer children in that age group, K-8 schools are in a better position to remind children, parents and the entire community, that these are still children and should be treated as such.
  • The configuration of grades 6-8 actually works against the needs of young adolescents. Ten-year old children are at their most vulnerable when ejected from the stable school environment to which they are accustomed, and asked to navigate a new school and a new succession of adults while they are still learning to negotiate with each other.

Greater Parent Involvement, Leadership Skills and Higher Self Esteem

  • Parents are more inclined to stay connected to and involved in K-8 schools than in middle schools - a factor that correlates highly with student success in school. Too frequently, parents disconnect when a child graduates from a K-5.
  • K-8 settings provide the ideal environment to begin fostering leadership in adolescents. Older children serve in many capacities and undertake service projects, while younger children have someone to look up to.
  • Students in the K-8 school show higher self-esteem and confidence and a healthier adolescent development.

Sources: American Association of School Administrators (AASA); National School Boards Association (NSBA); Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory (NWREL); Deseret News (Marjorie Cortez); Philadelphia Education Fund (Keith Look)  

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