Beloit has a very transient population. With more than half of Beloit's residents renting, children move frequently and change schools frequently. Having two middle schools on each side of town will cause more children to change schools when they move.
Another consideration; by having fewer 6-8 graders in each school, it may be more difficult to provide differentiation, extracurricular activities, elective courses, theater productions, bands and orchestras, football teams, etc. for these students.
An excerpt from the July 2008 issue of the National Forum To Accelerate Middle Grades Reform:
"The National Forum recommends that policy makers do the following:
- Focus energy and target resources on improving those schools that are already serving young adolescents regardless of grade configuration;
- Review and apply current research that suggests that simply shifting students from one type of school building to another may do little to improve student academic performance; and
- Take steps to comprehensively address and incorporate proven strategies for school improvement, including setting high standards for all students, creating a personalized and caring learning environment, and providing students with the academic, social-emotional, health, and other services they need to succeed."
Here is an interesting link to a podcast of a radio program regarding middle school education. The take-home message is, grade configuration is not what makes a difference; what is happening inside the schools with our adolescent students is what is important: