Fremont opens first converted middle school, welcomes 6th grade students

FREMONT, Calf. (KGO) -- Principal Brian Weems was pulling double duty outside Walters Middle School Wednesday morning. He served as traffic monitor and official greeter to new 6th grade students.

"Fremont Unified has never had 6th grade in the middle school model," Weems said. "It's always been K-6th in the elementary."

Walters Middle School is the first of five junior high schools in the district to be converted into a middle school.

"We have 22 new classrooms, three new buildings, it looks like a community college and we're pretty excited about it," Weems said.

"I'm glad to see the new building," Silvia Robert said. "My son is going to the 6th grade this year."

The new digs can fit an extra 600 kids and feature an innovation laboratory. The change is providing a major relief to the district's overcrowded elementary schools. However, some parents are still skeptical.

"As you see middle school is filled with three different types of age groups and you know it's just a different types of exposure," Violetta Archeota, a 6th grade parent said.

"I think it's necessary," Alicia Miranda, another 6th grade parent said. "I'm a teacher in the district. I teach at a high school. So, I understand the overcrowding and that we have to make some changes to make it work for our community."

ABC7 News talked with students who gave mixed reviews to the changes at school.

"Nervous and kind of excited," Viva Archeota, a new 6th grade student said.

"I just don't feel nervous because it's all the same thing," Ryan Robert, another new 6th grade student said. "Teachers, classes...all the same thing."

We hope Ryan Robert keeps that same confidence all year long.

Horner Junior High School will be the next school in the district converted to a middle school. Walters Middle School now includes 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students.
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