Slate Valley district middle schoolers prepare for move to new campus

Published: Jul. 20, 2022 at 4:34 PM EDT
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FAIR HAVEN, Vt. (WCAX) - Seventh and eighth graders in the Slate Valley Unified School District this week are prepping for the move into a new school later next month. The project, which has been a few years in the making, consolidates the district’s middle schoolers at the newly expanded Fair Haven Union Middle and High School.

Around 180 students in the Slate Valley Unified School District are spending their summer vacation getting ready for the school year. “I’m kinda looking forward to being in the big school, the high school, and also getting to play with some of my friends who are already here,” said Logan Knipes, an incoming 8th grader from Castelton who is participating in the district’s summer transition camp.

It’s a years-old program that helps incoming ninth graders adjust to high school. The students play games, explore Lake Bomoseen and spend time familiarizing themselves with the new environment.

“Just how it meets the social needs of the students and the emotional needs of students and the transition into ninth grade was always smoother,” said Principal Ben Worthing

But this year the camp looks a little different. That’s because middle schoolers are moving onto the high school’s campus after spending around $3.2 million of COVID relief money on the renovation of the newly formed middle school wing of the building that will become home in the fall to students coming from Benson, Castleton, Orwell, and Fair Haven. The Castleton Village School closed and will be sold. The 6th graders will go to Castleton Elementary.

“I’m really looking forward to the new scenery. I think a new school will be good for me. There’s nothing really I don’t wanna do,” said Elizabeth Bishop, an incoming 8th grader.

Worthing says consolidating middle schoolers to one building will allow for more opportunities and increase both curricular and extracurricular opportunities. “Art clubs, theatre, a number of other clubs that students will be able to take part in after school and still have bussing that they didn’t have in previous years,” he said. “It also improves the opportunity for busing in terms of after-school programming so we can have clubs.”

“They’re used to transitioning in middle school but now they’re coming to a high school setting with bigger kids and a bigger place,” said Samatha Bailey, a Fair Haven senior, who along with other older students, is working to make the new kids feel welcome.

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