Putting Education Reform To The Test

Pirate Prep Helps New South Florida Middle Schoolers Make The Transition


Students at Emerald Cove Middle School attend Pirate Prep School before starting sixth grade.

Thousands of Florida students are leaving the comfort of elementary school this month for the intimidating world of middle school.

For many, it will be a tough transition.

They’ll go from being the older, wiser leaders on campus to being nervous rookies.

Studies have suggested that middle schools, meant to be a gentle pathway into high school, do more harm than good.

Student achievement is noticeably impacted in middle schoolers versus those who stay in a K-8 school.

That’s why a middle school in Palm Beach County offers a four-day program each summer to get incoming sixth graders accustomed to their new environment.

Emerald Cove Middle School Guidance Counselor Janell Leatherman told the Palm Beach Post, “It’s really about taking away the fear.”

The kids get to have fun while also tackling worrisome topics like bullying and how to navigate class schedules.

Several hundred students, most of the rising 6th grade class, attended this summer’s session. Pirate Prep School has been so popular that older students who are new to the school can participate as group leaders.

Students who’ve graduated from Emerald Cove can also come back to volunteer.


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