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The Chatterbox

The Student News Site of Walnut Hills High School

The Chatterbox


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Mixed-grade classes, yay or nay?

Iman Divanovic
One of the various mixed-grade classes offered at WHHS is News Writing. News Writing teaches Effie’s through SENIORS.

A wide variety of mixed-grade classes for students ranging from Effie’s to SENIORS is offered here. Jr. High students and teachers who have mixed-grade classes offer their thoughts on them.

Gabby Zingarelli, ‘28, is in Algebra 1 with Effie’s, E-flats and one freshmen, as well as Symphonic band with E-flats through SENIORS. Zingarelli thinks that her mixed-grade classes are fine.

“There is no issue, everyone shows up, they do the class work, they leave,” Zingarelli said.

Zingarelli thinks that mixed-grade classes seem the same as non-mixed-grade classes.

“I feel like it would be a bit annoying if it was during lunch if there were different lunch groups but if it isn’t during lunch I don’t think it really has any effect on the class,” Zingarelli said.

Zingarelli would like for English to be a mixed-grade class.

“Probably English classes. I know there isn’t really a good way to mix those classes but there’s a really big social and discussion element to English classes,” Zingarelli said. “So getting various opinions [on] English assignments from all the different grades I feel like would make the classes a lot better.” 

Summer Gray, ‘29, also has Algebra 1 and creative drama for mixed-grade classes with Effies and E-flats.

Gray thinks that mixed-grade classes are kind of intimidating but also thrilling.

“You are learning with people who are a higher grade than you so it’s pretty interesting,” Gray said.

Gray feels that mixed-grade classes are beneficial.

“You get to learn with a variety of students and they can help you if you are struggling and they are usually a little bit more advanced than non-mixed,” Gray said.

Gray and Zingarelli would rather have all mixed-grade classes than no mixed-grade classes.

“I feel like the social element to all mixed classes is better than non-mixed classes because it allows you to stretch out further socially speaking with kids from other grades,” Zingarelli said.

If Gray had to choose she would choose to have mixed-grade classes with any grade higher than her grade including science.

Noah Elfezazi, ‘28, like Zingarelli and Gray is in Algebra 1 and Spanish 1 with freshmen and sophomores.

Elfezazi thinks that mixed-grade classes are fine but might be scary for the lower grades.

“Maybe for the lower grades it is kind of scary because being with kids two years older than you might be scary,” Elfezazi said.

Elfezazi feels that mixed-grade classes are in the middle.

“They’re not beneficial but they’re not [un]beneficial,” Elfezazi said.

Elfezazi would rather have no mixed-grade classes than all mixed-grade classes.

“It’d just be better to be with your age group instead of with the older or younger kids,” Elfezazi said.

Elfezazi and Zingarelli would rather have mixed-grade classes with Effies or freshmen.

“I think it would be better for all of the relatively lower classmen to get to know each other, and all the relatively upperclassmen to get to know each other,” Zingarelli said.

Students at WHHS are not the only people with mixed-grade classes, teachers have them too. Andrew Peoples, a band teacher, teaches lots of mixed-grade classes with Effies through SENIORS.

“I teach Band generally, specifically, I teach beginning band, intermediate band, symphonic band and wind Ensemble. I also teach jazz lab band and Jazz Ensemble,” Peoples said.

Peoples thinks there are pluses and minuses to mixed-grade classes.

“It’s a challenge, but it’s good if you create the right environment,” Peoples said.

When asked about the challenges Peoples said, “The challenge of it is obviously the maturity levels and the experience levels of seventh graders is bound to be different than a SENIOR….the younger students tend to be a little bit more rambunctious and the older students sometimes get frustrated with that…I have to be aware of the fact that this is a class or there’s going to be a wide range of difficulties and experience.”

When asked what the benefits of mixed-grade classes are Peoples said, “The older kids get to sort of mentor the younger kids and the younger kids have a lot of enthusiasm which sometimes can inspire the older kids and then when a younger student kind of goes through a breakthrough and suddenly gets much better the older students seem to really respond well to that.”

Peoples, like Elfezazi, would rather have no mixed-grade classes than all mixed-grade classes.

“I mean, in terms of the ease of my job, I suppose I would choose none because it’s harder to teach a mixed class. But I also think the benefits of the mixing is good…I think the fact that I have a little bit of both works well for me.”

If Peoples had to choose he would most want to teach Effies and E-flats.

“If I had to teach one grade level for the rest of my life, I would choose the middle school grades…I really like that age group,” Peoples said.

Peoples think the arts are a good place for mixed-grade classes.

“I like teaching the classes I teach and I think [its] suited to multi-grade level experiences. If you’re doing something like a math or English course, it would be a lot more challenging,” Peoples said. “So if we’re gonna have mixed classes, I think the arts are a pretty safe place to have that happen.” 

Rebbeca Dobbs, like Zingarelli, Gray and Elfezazi, has Algebra 1 as a mixed-grade class. The only difference is she teaches it.

Dobbs teaches E-flats and freshmen. Like Peoples, Dobbs feels that there are pros and cons to having a mixed-grade class.

“The pro is that the ninth graders are usually more mature. So they can set the example for the eighth graders…They’ve learned different study strategies so they can usually pass that on to [the] eighth grade[rs]. I think the con is that because they’re ninth graders with eighth graders, and they’re older, they may feel embarrassed to ask a question because they feel like ‘Well, I’m older, I should be smarter. I shouldn’t have to ask a question.’ Which is actually kind of sad to me.” Dobbs said.

When asked about the challenges, Dobbs said, “The biggest challenge is probably fourth bell when it[s] split lunches…and then also when there’s ninth-grade field trips and half of my class [is] missing because they go on that ninth-grade field trip.”

When asked what the benefits of mixed-grade classes are, Dobbs said, ”I think because we offer mixed-grade classes, we can allow kids to move at whatever pace they need to…we allow flexibility and schedules to meet every student[s] need. Every kid [doesn’t] have to be the same cookie-cutter kid we can just support what’s best for them.”

Dobbs does not have a preference for all or non-mixed-grade classes.

“I do see the benefits of having one grade because they are they feel less self-conscious about asking the question, but I do also see the benefits of having a mixed grade because then they can sort of look at the example of ‘oh, it can be done even if it’s difficult for me,’” Dobbs said.

If Dobbs had to choose she would most want to teach sophomores.

“I have most enjoyed tenth grade. I love tenth grade students, it’s because they’re at a point in their life where they’re having to start making adult decisions,” Dobbs said.

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About the Contributor
Iman Divanovic
Iman Divanovic, Peanuts Writer
In her second year as a Chatterbox staff member, freshman Iman Divanovic is excited to work as a Staff Writer. She took News Writing 1 and 2 and wants to produce content that the staff and students at WHHS will find helpful and interesting.   Divanovic also is on the junior varsity soccer team and is in Boo Radley and TSAR Club Divanovic hopes to attend Depauw University and find a job that she loves.  Divanovic enjoys playing soccer with friends and family and getting lost in a good book.
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