Students move from Elementary level to the Middle School with an ever increasing sense of independence and personal responsibility. Middle School is a special time in a student’s life, filled with developmental changes and new academic challenges. Our unique Middle School Journey Program focuses on individual students, their needs, and finding ways to encourage their academic, as well as social and emotional, growth.
Middle School Philosophy and Goals:
The Middle School students’ experience is a synthesis of conceptual development, skill acquisition, individual personal development, and academic growth.
As parents with more than two children will tell you, the middle child is often the one who searches most ardently and tries to assert most passionately his/her identity. The relationship between siblings can create distinct family roles with middle children seeking to carve-out an identity that provides a clear and independent place within the family structure. By extension, consider applying the analogy of family order to the divisions of school. At Kazoo School our Preschool and Lower School has built upon the progressive traditions of John Dewey; we are firmly committed to the notion of learning by doing, and a child-centered education. Indeed it is the progressive traditions of John Dewey that have helped to build the Kazoo School’s reputation as a school where life long learning is central to our mission. At the same time, the high schools in Kalamazoo have established themselves as preparatory schools working to challenge our students with various academic programs. The concept of life long learning is given a more pragmatic direction as they help our students plan a post-secondary education.
What then is the role of the middle child? What is the purpose and what are the goals of our Middle School? With two very different siblings, the Kazoo Middle School has worked diligently to establish its identity within the family structure. Indeed there is a uniqueness about early adolescents that requires educators to provide a learning structure that meets the ever-changing needs of our population. It is the Middle School that links and bridges the elementary and high school. In making this connection, we center our program on the intellectual, social, emotional, moral, and physical developmental needs of young adolescents.
In congruence with the National Middle School Association’s characteristics of successful middle schools, we believe there are five key components that help us to address the distinctiveness of early adolescence and comprise a program that is both rigorous and progressive.
Teachers work together to help students see the connections between content areas. The Middle School humanities program combines English and history into a program organized around specifically selected themes.
The development of close, trusting relationships between students and adults and the opportunity to feel connected to a peer group are central components to our school. Teachers serve as advocates for the students they mentor; they provide social, emotional and academic support.
Varied Methods of Instruction
Recalling our progressive philosophy, efforts are made to integrate the learning experience. Teachers address the students’ own questions and focus on real-life issues relevant to the student. Students are actively engaged in problem solving; projects are developed that emphasize collaboration and cooperation. The student-centered activities often take place in blocks of time that extend beyond the traditional forty-five minute class periods.
One of the genuine strengths of our middle school program is the opportunity we provide for our students to have the chance to “try on hats” and discover new interests. After school students have a chance to be part of our intramural sports programs. These different opportunities provide students with the chance to experiment and find areas of interest and competence.
Special Attention to the Transitions
The transitions and changes adolescents go through cannot always be delineated chronologically. Special effort must be made to make sure that the transition through middle school takes into consideration the developmental progression of the child. Social and emotional growth is monitored as closely as academic progress.
Middle school is a chance to celebrate a specific moment in a child’s life. Students are seeking the independence to stretch beyond the basegroup while at the same time seeking the approval of the adults around them. They are beginning to think analytically and critically with a growing level of sophistication. Our School’s middle children are a unique group of learners and require a program that challenges them in an age appropriate manner. The Middle School bridges divisions within and outside of Kazoo School through the blending of academic rigor with progressive traditions.
Our faculty wants to work in partnership with families so that we can make your child’s middle school experience fulfilling and successful.
Schedule a tour today by calling 269-345-3239 or emailing gro.loohcsoozak@ofni.
Developmentally Appropriate Practices in the Classroom
- Safe school climate
- Small learning communities
- Personal adult relationships
- Engaged learning
- Positive role models
- Metacognitive strategies integrated into all courses
- Expressive arts activities for all
- Health and wellness focus
- Emotionally meaningful curriculum
- Honoring student voices
- Existence of a vibrant advisory program led by a committed advisor