WELCOMING CHEER: Deputy fifth-grade teacher Jennifer Hartman is introduced as one of eight teachers who will be moving from the elementary schools to Madison Junior High School in the fall with this year’s fourth-grade students. The Madison School Board will be approving the transfers during its regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. today at the administration office. (Staff photo by Phyllis McLaughlin/pmclaughlin@madisoncourier.com)
WELCOMING CHEER: Deputy fifth-grade teacher Jennifer Hartman is introduced as one of eight teachers who will be moving from the elementary schools to Madison Junior High School in the fall with this year’s fourth-grade students. The Madison School Board will be approving the transfers during its regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. today at the administration office. (Staff photo by Phyllis McLaughlin/pmclaughlin@madisoncourier.com)
An enthusiastic and, at times nervous, crowd of parents, grandparents and siblings joined fourth-graders Tuesday night in the Madison Junior High School cafeteria before touring the school, where the students will be attending fifth grade in the fall.

Principal Jill Mires said all the rooms for the fifth grade have been painted and have new carpet, and teachers will help pick furniture in the coming weeks. Each classroom will have state-of-the-art Promethean smart boards that can be used by up to 10 students at a time to allow for collaboration on projects, and the Learning Commons area will be completed in the spring.

Feelings are still mixed among parents and the kids about the move. Twins Evan and Mitchell Cammack said they are excited about attending the junior high school next year. Evan is looking forward to using the indoor swimming pool; Mitchell said he is looking forward to the freedom of walking in the hallways without having to follow a line on the floor, as they do at E.O. Muncie Elementary School.

“I’m excited about it. I’m a lifelong resident and went to E.O. Muncie myself,” said their dad, Chris Cammack. “We’re really excited about all the extra opportunities; it’s a much nicer building. ... It’s going to be a blast.”

“I’m nervous. He’s excited, but it’s something new,” said Alicia Davis, who’s oldest son, Mason, will attend MJHS as a fifth-grader. The open houses that have been held at the school have been helpful, but “it’s my first year experiencing this, so it’s quite nerve-wracking for me,” she said.

Maddie Palmer said she’s nervous about coming to a new school. “I don’t want to be split up from my friends. But you have to make new friends.”

“I’m nervous about it too, but we’re going to give it a shot,” said her mother, Lori Palmer. “We’re going to look at it in a positive light.”

Dad Tom Palmer also is optimistic. “I think they are trying to do the right things. We’ll just have to see.”

“It’s definitely going to be a process that we all get to experience together in the first year, the teachers, the administrators and the kids,” said Kelli Schmidt, an E.O. Muncie teacher who will be moving to the junior high school to teach fifth-grade teacher. “It’s going to be a learning process for all of us.”

Speaking to Maddie, Schmidt said one of the advantages of moving to the school will be having access “to a real science lab” two days a week, “with real microscopes. I’m super excited about that part. We never had that opportunity at the elementary level. ... It’s going to be fun, I promise.”