Our Middle School prepares our students for High School and beyond. We encourage our students to become actively involved in their education and decision-making.
Students should be contributing members of a community. Students begin their day with their Tefillah groups. Afterward, depending on the day of the week, students go to either first period class or Kesher (Connection) group. Each grade level meets in their Kesher groups once a week to strengthen community through reflection, communication, and team building.
The 8th Grade works together as Jaguar Jems to plan events, volunteer as a grade in the community and raise money through fundraisers.
All studies should instill Jewish ethics and values. Our dual curriculum framework of both General and Jewish studies helps students to achieve academically and develop a sense of self and belonging to Jewish culture and ideals.
Student voice and choice is developmentally important for adolescents. Students thrive when they are given the opportunity to make choices. During daily “Flex Time”, students can make personal choices regarding the time they spend eating and the time they spend playing outside. Students have the opportunity to be in four separate areas: the Library Learning Commons (LLC), the lunchroom, outdoor patio area, or the soccer field. Teachers are stationed in each of the four areas for safety and monitoring.
Every 9 weeks students also choose from a variety of electives that include Ukulele, Volleyball, Rock Band, Jigsaw Student Magazine, ECD Buddies, Ultimate Frisbee, Jewelry Making, Math Club, Basketball, Film Production, Soccer, Flag Football, Student Council, Jaguar Jems and Chess.
Students should become responsible for their own learning. In Middle School we start Student-Led Conferences, which are meetings between the student and his or her family. A Kesher teacher is there to facilitate as the student leads and sets goals with family members present. These conferences instill in the student a sense of responsibility and accountability for their own learning and academic progress.
Students should be encouraged to try new strategies without fear. Our philosophy of teaching helps students to develop academic and emotional skills:
Problem Solving - Freedom to question and explore without judgment. Fail forward and take risks
Prioritizing and Calibration of Risk/Reward - Making decisions based on prior knowledge. Learning the language and actions of responsibility and accountability in a safe environment
Thinking Ahead and Long-Term Planning - Anticipating individual and group needs ahead of time and planning for those needs
Self-Evaluation - Understanding one’s self with honesty, compassion and a growth mindset and advocating for one’s own needs.
What You Will See in Our Middle School Classrooms:
- Collaboration between teachers and students
- Active learning with students doing and creating
- Students applying their skills and knowledge in authentic settings
- Multiple modalities of teaching for visual, audio, kinesthetic and tactile learners
- A developmentally appropriate balance of technology and non-screen-based tools
- Diplomatic debates
- Opportunities for students to think for themselves