The middle school years offer students incredible growth in all aspects of their lives as they transition from childhood to young adulthood. It is a time for fostering independence as students take ownership of their learning and engagement within the classroom and in the various educational venues throughout and beyond the St. John’s campus.
It is during these middle school years that students should live through a wide variety of experiences. They need to be energized about learning, forming the academic habits and honing the skills that will make them lifelong learners. They must also develop self-control to work through the inevitable social challenges that characterize these years.
With the good fortune of having a strong academic population as well as an upper school destination for our students, we have the distinct opportunity to devote significant attention to student development beyond the classroom. Surrounded by knowledgeable and caring faculty members committed to cultivating people of character, middle school students at St. John’s have a wide variety of learning opportunities.
While the Curriculum Guide focuses mostly on classroom offerings, it is important to note some of the major ways in which the School addresses student development and growth, including:
1. Teachers who are specialists in their disciplines and know that meaningful growth and confidence comes from authentic achievement.
2. A wide selection of enrichment activities to encourage participation, creativity, and a sense of shared accomplishment, and to expose students to a variety of potential interests beyond the standard curriculum. Offerings vary but typically include student government, choral and instrumental music, dance, quiz bowl, debate, cheerleading, yearbook, and numerous other teacher and student-initiated programs.
3. Required participation in a quality physical education and athletics program to complement students’ intellectual growth with physical development, promoting health and fitness and encouraging teamwork.
4. High expectations of ethical behavior through adherence to an honor code as well as focused commitment to character development through division-wide assemblies and an advisory system at all three grade levels. Additionally, chapel services reinforce spiritual growth and promote appreciation of differences.
5. An outdoor education program that supports classroom work and fosters class cohesiveness while fostering social skills, self-reliance, and confidence through authentic challenge. This program begins with the Class 6 trip to MO Ranch in the Texas Hill Country, continues with the Class 7 journey to southern Utah, and culminates in the week-long Class 8 camping trip to Big Bend National Park.
6. A significant commitment to community service, including projects at community centers, local parks, and homeless shelters. Involvement in such activities sharpens students’ awareness of others’ needs and helps to develop a sense of social responsibility.