5th to 6th Grade Transition

Parents: In lieu of Incoming 6th Grade Parent Night on April 28, we created this video for all 5th grade parents:

Parents: Click HERE to ask a question about the transition
Parents: Click HERE to view responses to others' questions

STUDENTS: "Step Up Day" is Wednesday, May 27

Dear Class of 2027,

We are so excited to be welcoming each of you as the newest members of Mt. Ararat Middle School next year!  We are doing so much work to prepare for your arrival and we think you are really going to like it here.  We have already started talking to your 5th grade teachers to learn more about each of you so that you can 'hit the ground running' when you get here.  Usually in late May, all of the 5th graders spend a day at our school for "Step Up Day."  This year, Step Up Day is Wednesday, May 27.  While we know this can't happen in person this year, we are hoping you can still use this time to complete the following online 'Step Up' activities.  I also encourage each 5th grade student to send an introduction email to me [ottowj@link75.org] any time between now and the start of school next year.  I would love to meet each of you and have you share a unique fact about yourself (for example, an interesting fact about myself is that I'm from Wisconsin and I love eating fried cheese curds!).  You are also welcome to send any questions to me, any time.  See you soon!

Mr. Ottow, Principal of Mt. Ararat Middle School


5th Grade Students:  Click HERE to hear a welcome message from the current 6th graders

5th Grade Students:  Click HERE for a presentation on what you can expect on the first few days of middle school

5th Grade Students:  Click HERE for the answers to some of the questions most frequently asked by 5th graders on Step Up Day

5th Grade Students:  Click HERE to be introduced to each of our 6th grade teachers

5th Grade Students:  Click HERE to get a sneak peak at the MAMS Exploratory Program 

5th Grade Students: Click HERE to meet our Learning Common staff. 

April 30, 2020 Letter to All 5th Grade Parents:

Dear 5th Grade Parents / Guardians,

We are so excited that your child will be attending Mt. Ararat Middle School next year!  During this unprecedented time of school closure, one of things that gives me hope is picturing our new 6th graders walking through our hallways for the first time.  While we may still not know exactly when it will be safe to return to the school building, we know that your 5th grader will be moving to 6th grade in the fall and yes, indeed, they will be starting middle school next year!

We recognize that this is an important and dynamic transition as your child moves from your local, “neighborhood” elementary school to our combined, regional middle school. Our goal is for all students and parents to experience a smooth and enjoyable transition.  We want to share our plans on how we plan to help you and your child feel welcome and an important part of our positive and amazing school community.

During the school closure, it is not possible to host many of the formal events we had planned for you and your child.  This week we were supposed to have our “Incoming 6th Grade Parent Night.”  Also this month, we had planned to visit each elementary school to do a presentation to 5th grade students.  Later in the month, we were supposed to host all 5th graders at MAMS for our annual Step Up Day.  We are so saddened that these events will need to look different this year, but we are hoping to still ensure that you and your child can get all the same information, but in a virtual fashion.     

Our process begins with an invitation to the parents of all 5th grade students to view THIS VIDEO PRESENTATION on much of the information we had planned to share at the parent night event.  

This video provides an opportunity for you to hear about the Mt. Ararat Middle School experience. We will focus on the transition and placement process, the middle school approach to teaching and learning, and what “a day in the life” of a 6th grade student looks like.  In addition, we encourage you to review our School Profile and Team Descriptions on our website.  

For parents who have a child enrolled in special education, Cathy Curtis, Special Services Coordinator, will be sending out a separate email communication about these services at the Middle School.  

Regarding Team Placement:  As a school we make the decision about where to place your child in 6th grade.  The team that your child is placed on as a 6th grade student will, in nearly all cases, determine their 7th and 8th grade team, as well (see “Team Descriptions” link above to learn more).  As part of this important process, we gather information from every 5th grade teacher about your child.  We also welcome you to share any pertinent information to help us in the placement process.  This information may include:

  • Information about your child’s learning style

  • History of past successes and challenges in previous years’ of schooling

  • Whether your prefer your child to be on a looping or non-looping team in 7th and 8th Grade

If you wish to provide input in your child’s placement, please write a letter to me with the above information by June 1st.  You can email this letter to me and we ask that it is a PDF with your signature on it, as a copy will be placed in your child’s cumulative education file.  

We look forward to this first step in welcoming your child to our school. Please do not hesitate to call me if you have any questions.  I am also happy to meet individually (via Zoom) with any 5th grade parent at any time.


Josh Ottow Signature.jpg

Dr. Joshua Ottow


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