As district grows, Park Hill students, parents bid farewell to ‘6th grade center’

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Plaza Middle School in the Park Hill School District isn’t closing, but parents, teachers, and students gathered for a celebration Tuesday as the unique mission of the school is coming to an end.

“Plaza, as it is right now, is currently a 6th grade center,” said Tressa Wright, principal at Plaza Middle. “And this year we are sun-setting plaza from a 6th grade center into a 6, 7, 8th grade building.”

For the last 10 years, all of the district’s sixth grade students attended Plaza Middle for one year before moving on to the three middle schools within Park Hill.

But with the new Walden Middle School opening next fall, Plaza Middle will once again become a traditional middle school, welcoming students from grades 6-8.

“I mean I think, for some parents, it’s scary,” said Maria Acosta, with the Park Hill PTA. “But I think change is good too, you know. I’m excited. I’ve been excited from the beginning.”

Administrators said with the addition of Walden Middle School, the district’s student population will be more evenly distributed.

“Right now, we’re at 915 sixth graders, all in one building, and next year we’re hoping our enrollment will be closer to 700,” Wright said.

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