When I was in 5th grade and still attending Robertsville Elementary School, I found out from my teacher one day that we were going on a field trip to Marlboro Middle School, the original middle school in my town’s school district. When the day of the trip to the middle school came, I was excited and nervous.
The moment I entered the premises of the middle school, I noticed how big the middle school was. It is a three-story, level school building. I got to explore inside the school building. It was awesome getting a private tour of the middle school with my class! I got to see where everything is: from the locker areas, to the cafeterias, and to the classrooms on all three floors. The school building is divided into three wings with its own three-story level floors, but I learned it was divided by colors: Red, White, and Blue. In all, a private tour of the middle school with my class helped me out a lot because I learned what was expected for me in middle school.
I knew my expectations for middle school, and I will say though I still faced challenges when I started 6th grade there. On my first day, I was excited and happy to be with my older sister, attending the same school as her. When our bus came, I couldn’t believe how big it was, filled with a lot of other people from our community. I sat near my older sister, but I was shy to talk to the other students. My older sister helped me out though throughout the school year when it came to being on the big bus, such as talking with the other kids from our community. My older sister helped me out with getting through 6th grade in general, which I will still always thank her about.
On my first day, when I learned in my homeroom classroom that I was getting to use a locker, I tried to open mine, but I never was able to open it. Teachers who passed in the hallways would notice I was struggling, and crying because I couldn’t open my locker. I always had a challenge with using combination locks with my lockers every year. I had to learn I needed to reach out to my school’s Child Study Team, and my parents were trying to teach me this, so I can get my issue fixed. Through the help my school’s Child Study Team, they accommodated me with using a key locker the rest of my time in middle school. So, instead of using a combination lock when it came to using a locker, I used a key instead. It made me feel a lot better! I always gotten confused and frustrated of using a combination lock at school, even though I practiced every year with using one at home before school started.
On the other hand, I made tremendous progress in my middle school years. Academically, I received honor rolls in every marking period in 7th grade, and almost all of them in 6th and 8th grade. Plus, I was moving towards mainstream classrooms, which meant I was moving into general education classrooms with in-class support (special education teacher working with general education teacher); My in-class support teacher was like my teacher assistant in the classroom with the general education teacher. By the time I was in 8th grade, I was almost mainstream except for Science, which I stayed in a resource classroom for. Socially, thanks to my speech therapist for her creation of the social skills program in my middle school, I made my own first group of friends, who are my best friends and still are today! I even made more friends on my own throughout years after too.
I believe for all students with disabilities that middle school years are the time for the them to learn to develop self-advocacy skills, or even earlier the better. The important fact is that collaborate work between with the school district, school, and family are vital for a child’s success. Fast forward, I graduated from Marlboro Middle School in 2012, and would be attending Colts Neck High School as my high school in the fall that year.