Moving Up To Pinckneyville Middle School
By Mary Pederson, Counselor Peachtree Elementary


Beginning in March, fifth grade students throughout Gwinnett County start thinking about and planning to move up to middle school.  Fifth grade teachers help prepare students for the academic expectations of middle school and counselors provide classroom guidance units on social skills training.

Two emotions seem to dominate this transition time for fifth graders. These emotions are a mixture of excitement and fear.  Even though students are excited about the new freedoms offered by the middle school environment, fear plays a big role in the lives of fifth graders as they wonder and worry about making new friends in middle school. Such concerns as being accepted, maneuvering the new building at Pinckneyville, hoping the teachers will be nice, changing classes though out the day, making decisions about Connection classes such as Band or Orchestra, and keeping track of the various classroom assignments that come with six different classes occupy their thoughts.

By late February, elementary students are thinking of questions they would like answered by middle schoolers.  Fifth graders visit Pinckneyville to learn more about the school.  During this time, students get a better understanding of what to expect.  Students have fewer fears and are more excited about going to Pinckneyville.  At Peachtree Elementary, fifth grade students go through a classroom guidance unit taught by Peachtree’s fifth grade counselor, Mary Pederson.  In these lessons, fifth graders watch a video about being successful in middle school, use the Senteo system  for self evaluation to determine if he/she is ready for middle school, and enjoy a humorous power point titled, How To Be Miserable in Middle School.

Parents have many questions about middle school.  Moving up to middle school is a normal part of growing up. But, questions can be alleviated with information.  Parents of fifth graders are invited to an open house at Pinckneyville in February and get another opportunity to visit Pinckneyville for more information on May 4th in the evening.

Mrs. Pederson offers Peachtree parents an opportunity to learn more about the middle school transition through a parent meeting in March.  During this meeting, Mrs. Pederson reviews information she taught the students in the classroom guidance lessons.  Some tips for students (and parents) include:

• Get a combination lock during the summer and practice opening it so you know how to open a locker.  Save the lock for your PE class in the fall.

• Don’t buy lots of clothes before school starts. It is nice to have a new outfit for the first day or the first week.  Wait to buy new clothes. Know the dress code of Pinckneyville.

• Be sure to walk into school on the first day with all the school supplies requested by your teachers.  Supply lists are given out during registration.

• Give yourself a lot of time at Pinckneyville on the day of registration to find the classroom, meet the teachers, get the supply lists, find out about bus pick up times, and talk to friends that you haven’t seen during the summer.

• Get involved in school activities to feel connected to the school and make friends.

• Parents can help their child organize the academic day by modeling the organization of family activities on a calendar. Being organized is one of the biggest challenges for sixth grade students.  Using and reviewing the agenda book and monthly calendar on a daily basis helps students stay organized.  Planning for completion of long-term assignments is critical.

Moving to middle school is exciting and scary for the student and the parent.  Learning about the expectations of middle school can lessen the burden of these fears. Fortunately, Pinckneyville and the elementary schools work together to provide information for both the parent and students as they go through this transition process.  Parents can be involved in their child’s education by volunteering at Pinckneyville, maintaining a daily commitment to the homework schedule, communicating with teachers, and talking to their child about their classes, extra curricular activities, and friendships.


Peachtree Elementary School - IB World School 5995 Crooked Creek Road Main:770.448.8710
Fax: 770.417.2451