The Middle School years are a time of great growth and change. Students move from class to class independently and take electives for the first time. They work within a departmentalized academic structure wherein each teacher is a specialist in his or her discipline. Students move from classroom to classroom to benefit from faculty expertise. In addition to the academic curriculum, the emphasis on health and well-being that begins in the Lower School continues with physical education classes every other day, and the range of other student activities expands from musicals to instrumental music lessons, baseball, volleyball and soccer. It’s fantastic to see students growing and becoming more confident. By Grade 8, they emerge as thoughtful and engaging young adults.
In addition to the rigorous academic program, Middle School at Staten Island Academy is characterized by extensive co-curricular initiatives that meet the special developmental needs of pre-teen and teenage students. We are proud of our comprehensive advisory program that provides students and families with one faculty member who has oversight for the academic, social and emotional development of a small group of Middle School students. Advisers conference with parents regularly during the school year, meet regularly with their advisees, oversee advisees’ academic strengths and weaknesses, and provide the support of a caring adult. Working in concert with all Middle School faculty and staff, the advisory program ensures that all children are supported across the board.
We believe in the power of community. The Middle School schedule is specifically designed to offer as many opportunities as possible to create a unified community of learning. Every other day, Middle School Morning Meeting provides the opportunity for both community and leadership-building initiatives. To help students develop their leadership skills, all Grade 8 students lead morning meetings, calling upon their teachers and peers for announcements and introducing presentations and performances. Community concerns and successes are presented for discussion and celebration at Morning Meetings. Athletic team results are announced, and individual birthday greetings are given. Students are encouraged to demonstrate their expertise in a variety of formats during these meetings. Young violinists, pianists and actors are able to perform before their peers, which gives the performers an informal recital opportunity and simultaneously increases all students’ appreciation of cultural accomplishments. Additionally, activities such as year-long faculty/student “Trivia” contests help build community through friendly competition.