Woodbridge Middle School changes school dynamic at Colonia

Photo by Woodbridge Middle School used with permission

Photo by Woodbridge Middle School used with permission

By: Emily Spillar, Editor

A few weeks before the 2019-2020 school year begun, there was news that Woodbridge Middle School would not be renovated in time. This results in the students from Woodbridge Middle School to branch out to different schools while necessary.

When this information struck students, parents, and teachers, there were arguments throughout the townships. Woodbridge Township came up with a plan to solve these problems temporarily. Sixth graders from WMS were sent to Avenel Middle School. Whereas, seventh graders were sent to Colonia High School, and 8th graders Woodbridge High School. It seems crazy to have a seventh grader walking the hall with an nearly graduated senior, but this was the best option given the circumstance.

Adjustments

There is only so much room in Colonia High School to accommodate the many middle school students. With the incoming flow of around 130 students from Woodbridge Middle School, Colonia had to move some things around. Being that Colonia High has a new wing in the school, the seventh graders are sent there throughout the day. These seventh graders run on their regular bell schedule, but are confined in the new wing throughout the day except for gym and lunch. These students go to lunch after the high schoolers and eat then.

These middle schoolers have encountered a change that alters the way they have been learning. This does not just inconvenience these middle school students and teachers, though, it also has impacted the schools that they’ve migrated to. Students and staff from the high school have had to change their school lives for these middle schoolers to learn. Different teachers have had to temporarily say goodbye to their classrooms because the middle schoolers have taken a home in these schools. Mrs. McNamara, an English teacher at Colonia High School, explained how the middle schoolers coming has changed her way of teaching. She now has to plan ahead more to make sure she has all the supplies she needs to bring to her new, shared, classroom.

Feelings on the change

Of course, with every adjustment that happens, people affected feel different ways about it. Numerous students and parents were upset when the news first came out about this change. Especially, the middle school parents. These parents are sending their 11-13 year olds to a school with students twice their size. Many of these parents had concerns about this change, wondering if they would acually have the same education as they would if they were in their actual school. Yes, some changes were made. However, these middle school students still run on their normal school day, they just work around the high school students while doing so.

The high school students, however, were not the biggest fan of these adjustments. Since these middle schoolers are residing there, students are blocked off from these wings. Some of these students have lockers in these wings which causes a hassle while going to switch out their books in between classes. While in the wing where the seventh graders are, students must make sure to be quiet so they don’t cause a ruckus for these students.

Once the high schoolers’ day is done, the middle school classes are still in session. If the high school students participate in an after school activity or a faculty meeting is happening after school, the meeting gets interrupted by middle school announcements, jokes of the day and dismissal instructions.

Inequitable Renovation

These high school students are also creating a home for these middle schoolers to be given more than them. In their new renovation, the middle schoolers are receiving a new film studio, a courtyard that will have a small amphitheater, auditorium, cafeteria, gymnasium, and numerous “flexible-learning environments.” Woodbridge Township has a budget of $50M that is going directly into making this school better. What about the other 23 schools in the district?

These middle schoolers will adjust to a newly renovated school. However, when they get to high school they’ll be confused on where everything is. The high schools in the district have classes focused mainly on film and video production. These students do not have film studios, just a small closet to work in. Classes in these high schools are focused on different career paths a student may choose to enter. Teachers don’t have the supplies or equipment to cooperate with most of these classes, though. A renovation was needed for the middle school, being that it was a very old building. However, does it make sense to focus all your money on students who still have to go through high school before they graduate? Or, should these high school students be granted these supplies, being that they’re one step closer to college.