The Middle School Conundrum

Tonight, we attend our first open house for Middle School.

Middle School. The years where children become tweens and start growing hair in weird places.

Long ago, when Declan started Kindergarten, we hemmed and hawed over that decision. Declan made the cut off for his school year by two weeks, making him among the youngest in his grade. It was the right choice, but the point is, it was hard.

Every decision for our children seems huge when we are in the midst of it.


I have friends in every stage of the parenting spectrum and everything feels intense in the moment, less intense later.

I recently chatted with the mom of our babysitter, a mom whose kids are both at the tail end of middle school, a mom who labored over their middle school choices… and her main takeaway was this: “If they come out reasonably OK, consider it a win.”

This makes all the overwhelming information that is being thrown at us right now seem a little less daunting, but her next words were this: “Think of Middle School as a holding pen. They are animals.”

A holding pen? For animals?

OK, yeah, that is pretty much how I remember Middle School myself… so she has a point.

Here in Denver we are lucky to have a myriad of choices. There is the school Declan is slated to go to, which is great in of itself… but then about five other public schools that specialize in things that he also would enjoy… and possibly really embrace! For his life! Give him a great foundation! Arts, science, language! Schools that are highly respected.


I have no idea how we will manage these decisions for High School, and then, gulp… College.

But for now, tonight, we’ll go and listen and see. 


This article has 11 comments

  1. amykblum

    We have loved being at Hill for Ciaran. Had friends who pulled their highly sensitive son out of DCIS because of bullying (by girls) and no help at all by the administration. We have lots of friends with kids at DSA that love it, but I said no because there is no PE and, well, you know my kids…Liam applying to Morey and Hill for special programs. We’ll see what happens. Also considering McAullife. A friend there with a 6 yo daughter RAVES! Good luck!

  2. amykblum

    And by 6 yo I mean 6th grader…sheesh…

  3. Sue at nobaddays

    I hear ya! Every decision. Huge.

  4. Aimee Giese

    Thank you all for your wise words and support!

  5. Jeni

    Good luck – I know this can be very stressful. I feel like we are already worrying about the whole school thing and my daughter is 1, so I can’t imagine what the middle school thing feels like! It’s very overwhelming. I’m sure you guys will find the right path. 🙂

  6. JoAnn @casualperfect

    Good luck! This was one reason we tried to get into a K-8, and one reason we were so excited that we did. The Middle School question is put off by default.

    As with anything school-choice related, my advice is the same: Weight heavily the feeling you get when you walk in the doors, and how you’re treated by the office staff, and what a variety of parents on the frontlines tell you. Listen to all of it.

    All of this is despite the fact that there is a HUGE problem with your math, and there’s NO WAY he’s going to be going into Middle School yet. Surely someone has pointed that out to you by now? 😉

  7. Catherine

    I am interested in hearing more about what you decide and how. Our district has only one public middle school option, but I am working with a group of other parents to try to found a charter middle school. It would still be housed within the big school but would have its own curriculum and core teachers.

  8. Vicki

    You are such great parents for taking all of this into consideration before making a hasty decision. Many parents don’t give it a second thought. Your son is lucky to have such wonderful child advocates in his court.

  9. Mrs. Lang

    Where would Declan like to go?

  10. MPPs Mom

    if you figure out the silver bullet for deciding, let me know. I am completely overwhelmed by the choices in front of us for our soon to be 6th grader and have no idea how to sort out which of 5+ great schools is the right choice. sigh.

  11. monstergirlee

    Fortunately we have one more year before we have to worry but oy. It’s going to be tough. Husband wants to send him to private school for those 3 years. I want him to be able to stay with his friends at the one close by. I have NO IDEA WHAT WE’RE GOING TO DO.
    Good luck you guys, I’m sure you’ll all reach a decision that will work for everyone.

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