Archive for Thursday, April 13, 2006

LTMS looks to ease fears with orientation

April 13, 2006

Going to middle school for the first time can make many students and their parents nervous. It's even tougher if they live in a different city.

That's why Lexington Trails Middle School is planning several events to introduce students and their families to the school. From 6:30 to 8 p.m. April 18, parents can visit Lexington Trails for orientation.

Students from Mize and Starside elementary schools will visit May 3.

Before the beginning of the school year next August, students will have the opportunity to go through their schedules and practice locker combinations.

The introductory phase is becoming important at Lexington Trails, since many students are coming from outside De Soto's borders.

Lexington Trails Principal Mark Schmidt said boundary changes three years ago are beginning to change the school's population.

The changes were made because Monticello Trails Middle School on the east side of the district was being filled beyond capacity. More students are coming from Shawnee and Lenexa than in previous years, he said, and would soon begin filtering into De Soto High School.

"We definitely have more Shawnee kids in our boundaries now," he said. "They're not at De Soto High School yet because everyone already in the district was grandfathered in. They'll probably hit the year after next."

Schmidt said all Starside Elementary students move on to Lexington Trails and about 80 percent of Mize Elementary students attend his school. Before the boundary change, it was about 20 percent of Mize students.

Although the district is concerned with rapid growth in western Lenexa and Shawnee, Schmidt said next year's sixth-grade class is expected to be slightly smaller than most.

"Sometimes we'll have a dip in population, but that's just an anomaly," he said. "The year after that they'll really start taking off again."

Schmidt said students getting to know the middle school would have many opportunities to get to know the Lexington Trails community. During their visit in early August, a club of Lexington Trails students called the Ambassadors will help familiarize younger students with the school and give guided tours.

Schmidt said with any middle school family, sending a child to middle school for the first time can make parents anxious.

"For parents who have had older siblings, it's probably less of an emotional experience," he said. "If it's their first child in middle school, they tend to be a little more anxious because of the unknown."

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