What to look for in a Middle School

Hi, I have a third grader and we are just starting to think about middle school, which could start in 6th grade, depending on which school we pick. I would like advice from others on the size of a middle school. How many kids is too big? How many kids is too small? Would a small middle school with 10-15 kids across two grades be too socially limiting? Or does it feel comforting? Is a school with 250 kids too big and scary? How important is it to have a well-resourced school with good elective options for kids? Or is it more important to make sure my kid is challenged in the classroom (he is advanced academically but socially young)? If there is a trade off between academic fit and social fit, what is more important? Is it better to choose a school that goes through 12th grade or change school again for high school?Thanks so much for your advice! I don't know where to start to think about this and there are a lot of different options.

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I only have a sixth grader (still at the same elementary school, which goes through 6th), but from the wisdom of parenting an 11 year old, I will say 3rd grade is too soon to worry about this. Think about it more in the spring of 4th grade, when more of your child's strengths and challenges in the school setting have emerged.

But, a school with 250 kids too... big? No. I would be concerned that a private school that size would be going out of business soon. Keep in mind that many, many private schools have folded in the past 5 or so years in the East Bay due to the high cost of living here, and there are probably more teetering on the brink each year.

Mom of three former middle schoolers here.  You will be amazed by how much your kid will change by 6th grade, including right up to the last minute during the summer before they start middle school. By the time they were 12 and 13, my kids wanted a bigger school where there were more kids to choose from.  This is the age when kids start figuring out, independently of us parents, what really interests them, and who they want to hang out with. All three of my kids made lifelong friendships in middle school, and discovered lifelong passions, whether science, music, art, or sports.  An environment that might seem overwhelming in 3rd grade is often the very thing a young teen wants. Chances are excellent your kid will actually prefer a bigger school, but if not, you can always make a change when you get there.