by Lisa Tome
Mason Martin invested in his own future.
Martin, an incoming sixth grader at Rising Sun Middle School, bought a combination lock and spent some of his time this summer learning to open it. "I tried it at my house with a lock. And then I came here and got it (a locker) on the first try," said Martin.
John Leo, another incoming sixth grader, also found success. Using a mock schedule and a map, Leo was able to navigate the middle school building and locate a specific social studies classroom. He also found where he will be having lunch, physical education, and other classes.
"I'm excited to come to middle school. It's cooler here," said Leo.
Both Martin and Leo were part of one of the Jump Start sessions held with a goal of helping incoming students adapt to life in middle school.
"Jump Start provides an opportunity to ease the transition to middle school. It eases the anxieties about being in a new building and a new grade. They're fearful of that locker. They are afraid it will take too long (to open) and they will be late for class. We teach the layout of the building and the locker. That eases the transition," said Rising Sun Middle assistant principal Travis Benner.
Students also got the chance to interact with two teachers. Veteran Language Arts teachers Michelle Korn and Trish Miller lead Jump Start. Benner said that is key, because all students in sixth grade will be assigned one of those teachers during the school year. "The students can build an early, positive relationship with them. Building relationships is key," said Benner.
The projected numbers are that 220 students will enter sixth grade at RSMS this year. About 175 of them attended Jump Start programs.