In my last blog post, I mentioned the Month of the Young Adolescent, so here are updates and additional thoughts on what has been going on in that regard.

Faculty engaged in an informal evaluation and reflection about the 4 Essential Attributes and 16 Characteristics of Effective Middle Schools (from AMLE, posted on our last blog).

When asked to rank the top two areas of strength of the four attributes, we chose Developmentally Responsive and Challenging Curriculum. The remaining two attributes, Empowering and Equitable, earned solid ranking, but were not our top two.

Of the 16 Characteristics, faculty were asked to choose four that we exemplify. We chose five! These included using multiple approaches, valuing young adolescents, engaging families, providing a safe and inclusive environment, and every child having an adult advocate. Areas not noted as strongly included using varied assessments and everyone being engaged in developing a shared vision. As faculty engage in exercises based on shared leadership and in professional development on best practices, we are taking these results into consideration.

Counselor Lorelei Lindow is a wonderful addition to Middle School, and she has been busy providing a rich and appropriate advisory program.  From work with citizenship and leadership exploring self to working with others and standing up to bullying behaviors, Lorelei has advisors and kids engaged! After next Tuesday, ask your child about our Mix-it-Up lunch, where students will be mixed in groups of sixth to eighth graders to explore instances of unkind behaviors and strategies to enhance our community. Lorelei has met with several grade levels at meetings and will offer other opportunities to engage with you in the future.

And our kids – the best part of Middle School! We are tapping into the energy and enthusiasm young adolescents possess, which combined with the leadership of our seventh and eighth graders, has resulted in opportunities to serve our own Middle School community through clubs. From creating bulletin boards, to taking photographs of our community, to playing music at morning meetings, to creating artwork to hang on our walls, to celebrating our 150th anniversary– our kids are actively engaged in learning, leading, and serving.

Sixth grade students have built on the community focus started on our retreat day in August facilitated by the Center for Creative Leadership and has engaged in additional team-building experiences – all with a sense of fun!

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