LOGAN — Logan County Board of Education member Dr. Ed White said at a recent board meeting that he thinks fifth grade should return to the elementary school level in Logan County.
Fifth grade has been the first year of middle school for students in Logan County Schools since at least 1993 when Chapmanville Middle School was built. Logan followed suit with Logan Middle in 1997 and Man in 2003. Prior to the middle school system, elementary schools typically housed students up to sixth grade before entering junior high, which housed grades 7-9.
During his board member remarks at the LCBOE’s special meeting Monday, Nov. 18, White said he’d like to see fifth-graders go back to grade school “where they belong.” White said he has been pushing the issue for some time.
“When I first joined this board a little over three years ago, it might have been my first meeting or one of my first couple meetings, I stated that I would like to see the fifth-graders go back to elementary school where they belong,” White said. “I’m not an educator, but from talking to countless educators and, of course, grandparents, parents and other people, everyone seems to be in favor of that idea.”
White said he almost gave up on that idea due to student population ratios to facilities, but recent downturns in populations — nearly 500 lost since he was seated in 2016 — “may make room” for such an idea to happen.
“I know with personnel, it would be a ton of work on top of what you guys are already busy with,” White said, “but I would really like to see that happen if at all possible … I think we owe it to our children, our fifth-graders, to explore that and, if at all possible, I think we need to do that.”
In neighboring Boone County, no middle schools or junior high schools house fifth grade, according to WVDE education data. Three Boone elementary schools — Whitesville, Ashford-Rumble and Sherman — house students up to sixth grade, while the others in the county go to fifth grade.
Most schools in Mingo County are pre-K through eighth grade, with the exception of Dingess Elementary, which serves students in pre-K through fourth grade like Logan County. The same is true in Wyoming County, where elementary schools that aren’t pre-K-8 serve students through the fourth grade.