Middle School is a time of exceptional social, emotional, and cognitive growth. Second only to the first three years of life, these years mark the most significant period of growth and change in the human life span. While physical changes are obvious and well-known, the transformation that is happening in the interior life of the child is no less dramatic or profound. At All Saints, the approach to teaching and learning, curriculum offerings, and opportunities for student engagement are all designed to meet the myriad needs of youngsters at this critical time of growth and development.
The Middle School program at All Saint is founded on the philosophical belief that students need...
- to engage in purposeful academic study;
- to become flexible, effective problem solvers;
- to set personal goals and engage in self-assessment;
- to develop effective speaking and presentation skills;
- to feel a link to the community;
- to have connections with trusting adults.
Because Middle School is an exciting and important time of life, the school environment must be designed and managed with extraordinary intention and care. For the first time in their lives, students are able to engage in “thinking about thinking,” or metacognition. This burgeoning ability combines with a student’s innate desire to make connections and is a wonderful tool for guiding students to develop effective study habits and a mature work ethic. Students are able to find personal connections to what they are learning, to explore the basis of conflicts in their own lives, and to set personal and academic goals for themselves. This new stage of brain development occurs in tandem with significant changes in students’ bodies, minds, and spirits. Recognizing these changes as well as the surges of energy and emotions that accompany them and incorporating these into the design of the academic program provides adolescents with the opportunity to explore and develop into “whole” human beings. Meaningful education at the Middle School level upholds high academic standards that prepare a child for high school and beyond, while embracing the drive for an emotional bond that students experience at this age.
Students enter the All Saints Middle School program with the strong academic foundation necessary to explore a diversity of social values and develop the personal responsibility that will empower them to identify and realize a wide variety of accomplishments, in school and in life. In addition to math, science, and reading, All Saints puts needed focus on the arts, humanities, technology and the connections between them. The ability to assess one’s own growth and development is a skill that can be learned during these years and a practice that will also prove to be valuable throughout the rest of one’s academic, professional and personal life.
The Middle School program at All Saints is based on years of research and study of the developmental, academic and social needs of students in this age group. We believe the “whole child” approach to education is just as important in the middle school years as it is in the early years. Of primary importance for this age-group is recognizing that learning to navigate new social situations, emotional states, and different kinds of relationships is as important as learning how to write an essay. Also, providing students with a physically and emotionally safe environment is vital to their healthy development and security for exploration at this age.
To this end, the following principles lay the foundation for the Middle School program:
- The educational program is comprehensive in nature and is designed to reach and teach the whole human being.
- The curriculum is flexible, individualized, and provides students with meaningful choices.
- Evaluation is an ongoing part of the learning experience and involves the student at the center of the process.
- The educational program is inspired by caring, professional educators who are committed to meeting the needs of students in this stage of life.
- The ultimate goal of education is to provide a person with the ability to effectively navigate a diversity of complexities and possibilities, resulting in personal fulfillment and success.