Numerous national studies demonstrate the advantages of three-year old to eighth grade schools; they enhance academic, social, and emotional development while bringing about improved self-esteem and confidence (Rand Study and National Middle School Association Study). A two-year study by American College Testing (ACT) found that eighth grade achievement in appropriate eighth grade curriculum was more significant in determining future success in high school and college than in any high school academic experience.
In a PS-8 school, there is a continuity of community that has a positive impact on social and emotional development. Additionally, students and teachers can see the scope and sequence of learning patterns in each subject. Here at HIS, we are committed to honoring the sanctity of childhood while providing the most appropriate preparation for success upon graduation:
- Programs such as Morning Meeting and Circle of Power & Respect help us build community and provide a consistent approach to social-emotional development throughout the critical middle years.
- Our youngest and our oldest students benefit from working with one another as reading and science buddies, and from other cross-division experiences.
- Active engagement in community service initiatives, service-learning projects, and programs like Touchpoints helps our students develop the understanding and skills they need to be meaningfully engaged in high school and beyond.
- Our educational program combines rigorous academics and enrichment in the arts.
- Our teachers and administration are engaged in ongoing, meaningful professional development to continually improve our programs based upon developmental psychology, neuroscience, and best practices in education.
As a parent of a preschooler, I cannot imagine what high school education will be like when Max is a freshman. It certainly will not be the same experience I had in the 1980s. As an educator, I know that educators share that sentiment across the globe as the advent of technology and our increased understanding of neuroscience compels us to continually reflect upon and improve our approach to teaching and learning. What I can predict with reasonable certainty is that child development will remain essentially the same, as it has for centuries. Regardless of what high school looks like or what high school Max attends, he will be best prepared for success having been in a nurturing environment that emphasizes critical-thinking, creativity, problem-solving, communication, collaboration, and compassion. These are the skills that have served humanity since the beginning, and they are the skills that we strive to build through our educational programs and experiences here at HIS.
Chris Bezsylko, Middle School Principal