So size is one way to think about it. Another way, though, is whether it’s a linear or a pyramid feeder system. In pyramid systems, kids come from many elementary schools to a single middle school. In the linear system, a middle school’s student body comes from a single elementary school─without a huge influx of strangers.
As it happens, the midcoast region of
Kingery fully expected the kids in the linear, single-school feeder system to be better adjusted socially, and as a result to also be doing slightly better academically. Surprisingly, she found the opposite result: kids in the multifeeder middle school had adjusted better; they had improved academically and had more best friends.
I know it’s not easy to switch schools. But I wonder if we project our fears onto this transition (dwelling on all that can go badly), forgetting how great it can be to find new friends, new interests, and new teachers to love.