New faces are filling the halls of Bothwell Middle School. Because of cuts in the MAPS budget and increased class sizes at the elementary level, the schools are making changes.
Last year, Bothwell housed grades fifth through eighth. Now they've lost two sections of fifth grade and are welcoming fourth graders from Superior Hills Elementary.
"It's a chance to accommodate the increased class size. As district enrollment has at least stayed steady, actually our district enrollment is up this year. We've had to implement some of these things on order to get by. With budget cuts and things like that, this is just kind of one of those things to get by," said Bothwell Principal Bill Saunders.
One of the concerns with the change is that the younger students will be interacting with older kids. But, officials at Bothwell say that's taken care of.
They have a hallway for fourth graders only. In fact, teachers say the fourth graders aren't even with the older students for most of the day. In addition, they've created an entrance for fourth and fifth grade students only and staggered the schedules so the younger and older kids won't interact.
"There's apprehension anytime you make a change. We were tucked away in our little elementary school, K-4 students. This is the big school, the big kids. But we know that they were going to keep us separate from the older kids. The district, and this school in particular, worked really hard to make sure that fourth grade will feel like fourth grade. So, I think it's just fine," said fourth grade teacher Stephanie Anderson.
For this first week of school, teachers are eating lunch with the students and walking them around to their classes.