Schools in the City of Johnson will officially transition to two 6-8 year middle schools starting August 3, which is the first day of the 2022-23 school year.
Currently, Johnson City students in fifth and sixth grades attend Indian Trail Middle School before transferring to Liberty Bell Middle School for seventh and eighth grades.
Beginning next school year, fifth graders will return to elementary, and Liberty Bell and Indian Trail will become middle schools serving sixth, seventh, and eighth grades. All students will then graduate from Science Hill High School for grades 9-12.
“We look forward to the opportunity to begin the 2022-23 school year with two colleges,” Todd Barnett, Johnson City Schools instruction and college supervisor, said in a system news release.
“In line with the vision of the school board and (Superintendent Steve) Barnett to provide a wide range of opportunities to facilitate student growth, we believe this setup provides our students with the resources and support needed to prepare for Science Hill and achieve success beyond high school.”
Elementary students from Lake Ridge, Fairmont and Mountain View will attend Indian Trail, and students from Cherokee, North Side, South Side, Towne Acres and Woodland will attend Liberty Bell.
School officials said the transition to two middle schools will help the system boost students’ social development while reducing overcrowding.
The transition will result in fewer students at Liberty Bell and Indian Trail, according to the school system. Liberty Bell will have about 912 students in grades 6 through 8, down from its current total of 1,141, and Indian Trail will have about 854 students in grades 6 through 8, down from a total of 1,131.
To accommodate additional students at the elementary level, the system is building a total of 20 classrooms: four in South Side and eight each in Woodland and Lake Ridge. The renovations will also include upgrading the HVAC systems.
City officials held a ribbon cutting for the new South Side classrooms in January.
“As a city, we are sending a message – a message that Johnson City has been sending for many decades – that we value education and we value teachers and we value the facilities needed to create an environment where learning can have place successfully,” Johnson said city mayor Joe Wise at the ceremony.
In addition to providing more room for Indian Trail and Liberty Bell, the changes will also mean students in the Johnson City system will have to make one less academic transition.
“The extra year at the college level also allows staff to establish and develop deeper relationships with all students, but especially those who are most at risk,” the system said in a press release.
The system said the transition “will improve opportunities for students in all facets of their education, including academics, athletics, fine arts and leadership development.”
Liberty Bell and Indian Trail will have sports teams competing against surrounding schools and each other.
The schools will use the same curriculum and prepare students for opportunities at Science Hill High School, including advanced placement courses and vocational and technical training.