Delhi Middle School returns to high school campus

Delhi Middle School students pick out their favorite condiments on the first day of school on Monday.
Delhi Middle School students pick out their favorite condiments on the first day of school on Monday.

On the first day of school, Delhi Middle School students attended classes, ate lunch and greeted their friends on the same campus as high school students.

“I feel bigger, older and proud,” said Mayce Alfaro, an eighth-grader who was excited to share a campus with high school students. But, she admitted feeling nervous about being at a school with more students.

I feel bigger, older and proud.

Mayce Alfaro, eighth-grader at Delhi Middle School

Monday was the first time in seven years the Delhi middle and high schools shared a campus, going back to a model used before 2008. About 450 seventh- and eighth-grade students are attending Delhi Middle School this year. Seven new teachers were hired to accommodate the students.

450 students and seven teachers are new to Delhi Middle School.

“The first day has gone smoothly,” said Vincent Gonzalez, the principal of both schools. “Last year, we did a prerun for students transitioning to the middle school from the feeder schools. They participated here, and it helped with the transition. For parking, the parents knew where to go today. And students knew where to go for their classes.”

For the past seven years, the three Delhi schools followed the K-8 model before those students all began ninth grade together at the high school. Gonzalez said the new model will help students transition into high school easily. For example, in the K-8 model, even the older students ate lunch at tables in the cafeteria. On their new campus, students can eat in groups at benches and mingle while they eat.

About 450 Delhi Middle School students attended their first day of school on the shared middle and high school campus. For the last seven years, three K-8 schools fed into Delhi High School. Brianna Vaccari/ http://www.m

“A key component to the middle school is teaching students how to socialize properly,” Gonzalez said. “They learn to communicate with each other outside of structured areas.”

Even though the two schools share a campus, high school and middle school classes are on opposite sides and schedules don’t coincide, Gonzalez said. High school and middle school students rarely bump into each other.

Mayce and her friends – Alondra Huerta, Aryanna Salazar and Araceli Maldonado – were sad they didn’t get to complete their last year at Harmony School, but they liked their new teachers and the seven-period class day.

“It makes the day go faster,” Alondra said. “Before you know it the day is over.”

Bob Dunnicliff, a seventh-grade math and science teacher, said the new model is a better use of resources and makes it easier for teachers to collaborate. When he worked at a K-8 school, he saw his peers only once a quarter. “We have more access to all the resources here,” he said. “Especially with special education.”

Gonzalez has two associate principals working under him – one for each school. Malena Morriston oversees the middle school.

She was all smiles when thinking about all the students who were excited to be at the new campus, saying, “It’s been a good first day.”

Brianna Vaccari, 209-385-2477