Updated: Dec 15, 2022
Fifth grade is a big year in Kingsley Schools! It's the beginning of middle school which means a lot of changes for students. For the first time in their schooling career, students are tasked with switching classes every hour, remembering their schedule, and using a locker.
Kingsley Middle School has five incredible fifth-grade teachers: Mrs. Bell, Mrs. Alger, Mrs. Crockett, Mrs. Roelofs, and Mrs. Taylor, the long-term sub for Mrs. Steverlynck while she is on leave.
We sat down with the incredible educators who help these students through fifth grade's big transitions.
Mrs. Kendra Bell, 5th Grade Science
Mrs. Bell has been an educator for 37 years, many of them spent in Kingsley Schools. She taught elementary grade levels before transitioning to middle school to teach fifth graders. She's been working with fifth graders for the past seven years and has been their science teacher for the past two years.
"Teaching science energizes me. I wasn't ready to retire but I needed a change, and my interests now are science and math," she said.
Recently, her students learned about the Earth and the planets. In December, they studied meteorology and made weather instruments.
"My favorite part about fifth graders is that they're becoming independent but yet they still want to please you, they still want to do well. It's a good age."
Mrs. Amy Alger, 5th Grade Math
Mrs. Alger teaches fifth grade math but spent 20 years working in the elementary.
One of her current students, Luke Miller, said "she's very fun and I love her. I like learning about math because she's the math teacher and she's just awesome."
She says she loves the personalities of her students.
"They're just funny and goofy, but also sweet and kind," she says. "The most rewarding part, and, I guess, the most cliche part, is when you see the light bulb go on and they get it. Like, ‘oh, I understand now,' you know? That's pretty cool.’"
Mrs. Alger says she's noticed that some of her students are below the necessary reading at math levels because of COVID interruptions. She strongly recommends that parents have their children ready 20 minutes per night and regularly practice math facts.
Mrs. Kim Crockett, 5th Grade ELA
This school year has been extra special for Mrs. Crockett because she now has her daughter as a student.
"It's fun. I wasn't sure at first, but it's fine. She likes it, sometimes! She gets annoyed that I'm 'embarrassing,' but that's okay. When she’s in my class, she can’t get away with anything!" she said.
Mrs. Crockett says fifth grade is a pivotal year because her students are taking on new responsibilities.
"5th grade is a huge adjustment, huge! It's definitely a transition age because they're going from a self-contained classroom to changing classes every hour, which, for a lot of kids, is difficult, and then throw in lockers too! A lot of times that transition can be painful, but it's easier with parents' support."
Mrs. Tonya Roelofs, 5th Grade Special Education
Mrs. Roelofs is new to the fifth-grade team this year.
"This is my first year in fifth grade. I love the fact that if you tell a joke, most of them can usually get the joke, which is very different from elementary where they just kind of stare blankly," she said. "They're a fun age because they're going through so many changes, and just kind of watching them find themselves and what they're good at is really cool."
She says it's exciting to be part of a teaching team that is mutually supportive and pushes its students to reach their full potential.
"It's so nice to be part of a team where everybody has high expectations for students. I think that's unusual; I took a few years off from Kingsley Schools and spent some time in some other districts, and overall, I would say Kingsley in general has high expectations for kids and they have to rise to the occasion. When you set high expectations, they will rise."
Mrs. Lesli Taylor, longterm substitute for Mrs. Linnea Steverlynck
"My favorite thing about teaching is that I know that I am helping shape the way kids learn and their love of learning. It really makes me happy when I see a kid get excited when they get a good grade and when something clicks and they understand it."