A passing grade: Board votes to move sixth-graders to Matilija

Andra Belknap, Ojai Valley News reporter
It's official: Ojai Unified School District (OUSD) sixth-graders will move to Matilija Junior High School (MJHS) at the start of the 2019-2020 school year. That means this year's fourth-graders will begin their sixth-grade year at MJHS.
The OUSD School Board voted unanimously in favor of the transition during a special Board meeting May 1 in the MJHS auditorium.
Parents and teachers in the audience were generally positive about the move, but expressed concerns about how sixth-graders would fit in socially at MJHS.
“It seems to make sense and I think it could work out,” said Alyssa Duclos, mom to an OUSD fourth-grade student and a seventh-grader. “I did ask my fourth-grade daughter, 'How would you feel about moving over to MJHS' and she’s scared. She’s scared of it even though she has a seventh-grade brother.”
Another OUSD mom, Nikki Crawford, spoke from experience.
“When Ventura made the transition from a K-6 to a K-5, I was in the first sixth-grade class. I will say I was exposed to things I don't think I should have been or was prepared for as a young sixth-grader,” she said.
“The safety of our students and the recognition that this is a new thing with sixth-graders at MJHS is going to be absolutely a vital part of (the) planning, I assure you,” said OUSD Board Member Kevin Ruf.

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