Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Given the academic adjustment many new students face, are students encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities such as team sports and clubs in the fall?
A. Students are encouraged to get involved and to try their hand at sports and clubs. Most of our activities meet between one and three times per week for 30 minutes to two hours. Clubs and sports are a great way to make friends, develop interests and exercise body and mind. We do caution parents to make be sure that your student is not overbooked with commitments outside of school.
Q. How involved are parents with activities in the Middle School?
A. Middle School parents are still involved in the daily life of Middle School students, but in different ways than in Lower School. Here, parents work more behind the scenes to support various activities in and out of the classroom. They can help out with competitions such as We the People and Science Fair, chaperon trips, assist with social events, provide snacks for advisory meetings, run concessions at athletics events, and drive (and drive some more) students to away games and activities. Middle School is a time for students to develop their independence; nonetheless, we think parents still play an important part in student’s school lives.
Q. How much homework is there in the Middle School?
A. Teachers generally assign 15-20 minutes of homework three to four nights per week in the major subject areas in fifth and sixth grades, with that load increasing to 15-30 minutes in the seventh and eighth grades. The math department generally assigns homework five nights per week, and in seventh and eighth grade long-term projects might increase the workload to five nights of homework per week. In general, after study halls and tutorial time, fifth and sixth graders might expect between 30 and 90 minutes of homework per night and seventh and eighth graders between one and two hours.
Q. What support systems are in place for students?
A. The primary support structure for students is the advisory system. Each student meets with a faculty advisor in an advisory group of 10-12 students every day. This half-hour period is a time to establish friendships, focus on a grade-level theme addressing social skills (new beginnings, friendship, leadership and decision-making are the anchors for the four grade levels), and develop a positive relationship with a faculty member. Advisors meet once per week to discuss student concerns and progress, and the advisor is the primary contact with parents. Advisors review mid-term and term grades with students and help them set goals for the coming term. Beyond the advisory system, students can meet with teachers for extra help during tutorial or before or after school, and the school psychologist is available to assist students who demonstrate a need for psychoeducational screening or behavioral intervention.