HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Harrisburg school district is making a change to its fifth-grade level.

Starting in 2023, fifth-grade students will be moved from the middle school back to the elementary school. The district says this move has been in the works since the fall after it noticed a negative decline from fourth to fifth grade in academic and behavioral data.

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Superintendent Eric Turman said under the current level, the district noticed a decrease in attendance, academic improvement, and an increase in suspensions. Turman said the move will reduce overcrowding at the middle school level and the elementary schools have the space for the additional grade,

Students moving into fifth grade next year will stay at the same school buildings they are currently in. Turman also said this gives students an extra year in the elementary classrooms, which they missed out on during the pandemic.

“What I ended up doing is in November, I started popping in rooms and see kids in the hallway and I was just asking kids, ‘hey, if you had to choose between coming to middle school or staying in elementary, what would you want?’ And the majority of the kids I spoke to said I would really want to stay in elementary school,” Superintendent Eric Turman said.

The change will happen next school year. The district has already begun reaching out to parents and guardians about it.