Jump Academy helps Davenport students ease into Wood Intermediate School

DAVENPORT -

Jump Academy starts with small steps into Wood Intermediate School.

"Please make sure you have what you need," announced principal Sheri Simpson-Schultz, on Thursday, August 3. "Schedules, name tags, that type of thing."

At the same time, longtime Social Studies teacher Carri Sawyer is ready for the morning session.

"All right," she waved.  "Let's go."

Three weeks before classes begin here, kids are getting a good look around their school.

"I was real excited," said Keegan Markuson, one of more than 100 incoming sixth graders attending.

Simpson-Schultz started hosting the event nearly a decade ago to ease the transition into the school.

"Sixth graders will tell us at the end of the year that it really helped a lot," she said.  "That's why we continue to do it."

One of the biggest challenges has nothing to do with classwork: learning the locker combination and getting it to work.

After a few tries, Keegan masters it with a cheer.

"I hope that I'll be more prepared," she said.  "I'll actually know my way around the school."

From Chrome Book advice to lunch line lessons in the cafeteria, youngsters get a boost from "older" mentors.

"You know that they don't know where they're going," said eighth grader Kayla Overton, 13.  "It's good that you could help them."

Help that makes a big difference for new sixth graders like Keegan.

"It's kind of like a maze, but you can get used to it," she said.

Youngsters will get another chance to look around during Wood's upcoming "Unpack the Backpack Night."

"What we hope is that they'll leave today feeling really comfortable about starting sixth grade," Simpson-Schultz concluded.

For these kids, getting a jump start at Jump Academy.

"I'll be more mature," Keegan concluded.  "I'll get to experience more of an adult experience."

She'll be a step ahead when classes start on August 24 at Wood Intermediate School.