Main Menu

Explore More


Fridley Public Schools
Dr. Cochran and Matthew Engelhardt speak to 4th grade families outside.

One year ago, Fridley fourth grade students were finishing up their last year in elementary school, preparing to enter middle school. In February 2023, students had opportunities to attend a Fifth Grade Parent Night, tour the middle school during the school day in April and attend Fifth Grade Orientation Night in May, giving them one last chance to visit before the school year ended. 

This year as a new class of fourth graders get the same opportunities and make the same transition, one might wonder, how have our current fifth grade students adjusted to middle school this year?

“The transition has been really positive,” reflected Dr. Amy Cochran, principal of Fridley Middle School. “Our self-contained classrooms match fourth grade classrooms helping students feel comfortable. They build a classroom community with their fifth grade teacher and peers!”

A teacher helps prospective MS student with locker.

Fridley Middle School goes to great lengths to make sure the transition from fourth grade to fifth grade is smooth for students as they transition from elementary school to middle school. In addition to the self-contained classrooms, teachers walk fifth grade students to their elective classes and to the lunchroom, mirroring what they experience in elementary school. This preparation gives students confidence in navigating a new school environment.

“Most students have developed independence in the classroom by the time they complete 5th grade and are ready for 6th grade at the middle school where they have more freedom,” said Cochran.

These opportunities have the goal of helping families and students know what to expect when they arrive in the fall and ensure that they have any questions or concerns answered/addressed before their student begins classes. Cochran notes, “we want all students and families to feel comfortable and safe coming to middle school!” 

Current fifth graders have felt the positive effects of this extensive transition. Students noted how the opportunity to take a tour while in fourth grade was a fun experience and that the open house really helped them be prepared for middle school. One student reflected on how fifth grade functioned like their elementary school classroom allowing them to not worry about getting lost in the building and not knowing where to go. Others made the connection on how the middle school uses similar positive behavior intervention systems as the elementary schools.

With the new addition of optional summer programming called Summer RISE, there will be added time during that programming to focus on the transition to middle school with the incoming 5th graders. They will practice lockers, get tours, learn about being organized with the middle school binder and planner system, make new friends and focus on being successful in the fall. 
As this school year comes to an end, the excitement for the fall and a new class of fifth grade students can not be ignored. Knowing that all of these opportunities are put in place to help students feel comfortable by the time they start school, gives the middle school an added advantage in ensuring an exceptional academic journey at Fridley Middle School.