MEDFORD, Ore. -- Many kids in Medford are settling down after their first day of school Monday. Some even started 6th grade at a new school for the first time.
Monday was Evan and Gabe Luksick's first day of 6th grade at Mcloughlin Middle School. It’s very different from the 5th and 6th grade split class they were in last year.
"You're more on your own. Like you don't have people telling you where to go. You go into different classes. You're just independent," Gabe said.
The Medford School District is one of the few districts in the country that still has 6th graders still in elementary school environments. This year, the district is rolling out a pilot program, called the 6th Grade Academy. The program integrated about 205 6th grade students into McLoughlin and Hedrick middle schools.
"6th graders here in our program will kind of do a hybrid between a self-contained 6th grade program like we have in our elementary schools in the middle school program. So for a portion of the day they'll be with 6th grade colleagues and piers," said McLoughlin Middle School principal, Kelly Sotor.
They'll also be able to take advantage of middle school opportunities, like higher level math, more academic competitions and more athletics--more opportunities Evan Luksick plans to take advantage of.
"It's like preparing us for next year and stuff. Our parents both said it was the better thing to do," Evan said.
The Medford School District said the program also creates more space in some of its elementary schools that were at capacity.