Middle Schools Stuck in the Middle

Avery Mayer '23, Staff Writer

Most townships only have one middle school. Cherry Hill has three and all of us who grew up here went to one of them before coming to HS West. For many years, students who wanted to go to Rosa had to enter a lottery and wait to see if they got in. If they didn’t, they either went to Beck or Carusi based on where they lived. That all changes after next year because the Rosa lottery is ending and all students will go to a middle school based on where they live and which elementary school they go to.

Starting last year, the Cherry Hill Board of Education started to look at many different options for  Middle School Redistricting. A Committee was formed to get as much information as possible from students, families, teachers, and other experts to help the Board of Education make the best choice for students. One factor that is very important to the decision is giving students at all three middle schools the same quality of education and the same experiences, courses, sports, and clubs. It is also important for all three schools to have the same variety of students so everyone can learn from each other’s different experiences and ideas.

Because Cherry Hill is so large and has many different neighborhoods and elementary schools, it’s not easy to balance everything or make sure that none of the schools are overcrowded or have empty classrooms. The Redistricting Committee came up with five different options. A few of them are very similar to one another but one is very different. The remaining options all have 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students attending all three middle schools. The main differences between them focus on which elementary schools feed into which middle school. 

The Board of Education wants to minimize disruptions and long bus rides while making sure that current middle school students graduate from the school they entered in 6th grade. One option would be for Rosa to only have 6th grade students. If that option is selected, every 6th grade student in Cherry Hill would go to Rosa regardless of which elementary school they attended. After that, they would go either to Beck or to Carusi for 7th and 8th grades based on where they live. At different meetings, many parents said they didn’t want students going to Rosa for only one year because it means more changes for them and everyone has already had too many challenges because of the pandemic.

The Board of Education is still reviewing all of the options and getting plenty of feedback from parents and students. Whatever decision is finally made might mean some changes for students as they enter middle school but it should also mean that every middle school student gets a good and well-rounded experience so that they’ll be ready for the big time at HS West (or even HS East).