The transition between grammar school and middle school is never easy.
But for one group of Center for Creative Arts students, the adjustment isn't quite so bumpy... And they say it's thanks to their teacher.
John Echols is this week's Golden Apple Award winner.
John Echols' Center for Creative Arts classroom is part of a whole new world for his 6th grade students...
It's part of a transition year, from the close knit classrooms of elementary school, to the new independence and responsibility of middle school.
Mr. Echols says, "Students aren't gonna learn if they're scared and uncomfortable. So we work really hard to give them the tools to be comfortable and secure and successful."
That's the kind of welcoming environment Echols wants to set in his language arts classroom.
He says 6th graders are full of energy and still excited to learn, they just need a little guidance. And for that guidance CCA's parents are extremely thankful.
Jenny Pearson reads from her Golden Apple nomination letter, "Mr. Echols encourages his students to reach toward and achieve their full potential, and he's willing to do whatever he can to make that happen."
Pearson's son Austin is in Mr. Echols class.
She says the teacher stepped in to make sure her son remembered assignments and adjusted to the new freedoms of middle school, "He just stepped up and said, you know, 'What can I do to help you?"'
Pearson says Echols made sure Autsin's grades and school work were on track before his report cards come out and it was too late to help.
Austin agrees, "He's just a really good teacher. He helps with a lot of things."
That's the goal Echols sets for himself in the classroom.
He wants to instill a love for language and the written word... But most of all he just wants to help and make a difference, "A hundred years from now it won't matter what kind of car I drove or the size of house I lived in but the world will be different if I made a difference in the life of a child. That's why I'm a teacher."