From Captain America: Patriot #4

This story is set in 1950.  While the middle school concept had been created by then ( the very first middle school in the United States was designated that very year), it would be many years before it caught on throughout the country.  At that point, it would have been far more likely that Cap was looking for West Lake Junior High.

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Yes, I went to a junior high (in the early 1970s). It wasn't called a middle school until years after I left.
I'm not sure why there was a switch from "junior high" to "middle school." I mean, yeah, a middle school is the school in the middle but what was wrong with junior high?

The main idea is that young adolescents need to have a different structure than just a smaller version of high school.  The main difference is a team structure, which divides the school into smaller units, in order to enable the teachers to get to know the students better.

 

(in R/L, most of my career has been as principal, helping make the change from junior high structures to middle school ones.)

 



Cavalier said:

I'm not sure why there was a switch from "junior high" to "middle school." I mean, yeah, a middle school is the school in the middle but what was wrong with junior high?
I went to a junior high, but my school district was the only one around that had it. The surrounding districts have middle schools. They were actually different schools and had different grades. My junior high was grades 7-9, and the middle schools are 6-8.
Travis Herrick said:
I went to a junior high, but my school district was the only one around that had it. The surrounding districts have middle schools. They were actually different schools and had different grades. My junior high was grades 7-9, and the middle schools are 6-8.

It's one of those things that no-one thinks much about---unless he moved around a great deal in his youth---but school hierarchy is not universal; it varies from district to district. Case in point: though I was attending it long before anyone had ever heard of "middle school" (but not, as Rich points out, before the concept originated), my junior high school consisted of grades seven and eight, while high school was grades nine through twelve.

Bujin's explanation for the change in school structure echoes one I believe Rich himself told me once. But it really doesn't explain why the term was changed from "junior high" to "middle school".

I've always suspected it was the influence of some touchy-feely functionary who didn't want the little darlings' self-esteem to be irrevocably damaged by the term "junior high school". So it was changed to "middle school"---since, obviously, "middle school" is self-actualising.

The Commander wrote what I was thinking about the change in name. I'm sure that there were good reasons to change the way that junior high teaches students but changing the name just doesn't sound like it was necessary.

 

A big "thanks" to Bujin, though, for writing about the changes in what students do at that level and for helping teach the kids. That thanks-for-teaching goes to Rich, too, of course.

I would think the changed name will have helped administrators keep track of which schools had been reformed.

My first year teaching in my current district was the last year of the junior high here.  I taught ninth and twelfth then, shifting between the junior and senior high, and I was the advisor for the junior high newspaper.  The next September, ninth was made part of the high school, and grades six through eight were considered middle school.  It took us quite a while to get out of the habit of calling the schools by their old names, but now it's second nature.  Most people who've graduated in the last twenty years never attended a "junior high," so I can understand the mistake in the Cap book.  It's still a glaring error to anyone over the age of thirty five, though.

Here in Canada, or at least in my home province of Nova Scotia, the term "junior high" is very much still in use.  In fact, I can't think of any schools that use the term "middle school" as part of their names.

How do we know that "middle" is not a geographic distinction? West Lake North School, West Lake South School and West Lake Middle.  Not unprecedented.
Rich Steeves said:
How do we know that "middle" is not a geographic distinction? West Lake North School, West Lake South School and West Lake Middle.  Not unprecedented.


Ah, an elucidation worthy of Mort Weisinger!
Interesting. I never heard of "junior high" or "middle school" where I grew up. Grades 1-8 were elementary school, and Grades 9-12 were high school.

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