December 04, 2018
10 Reasons Why KO Middle Schoolers Thrive
Ann Sciglimpaglia, Director of the Middle School
I’m often asked what makes our Middle School the right place for early adolescents. I believe we provide 10 unique qualities that help Middle Schoolers thrive and grow.
A Cozy Home
Because the Middle School is housed in one building where students can interact in welcoming spaces and find comfortable nooks for quiet study, it provides a home-like environment particularly well suited for active preteens. Students are able to break out of classroom spaces, and teachers are always close by and accessible.
Nurturing a Love of Learning
Our teachers have created a stimulating curriculum and a vibrant classroom environment specifically designed to engage and motivate Middle School students. Kids fall in love with the teachers, with the content, and most of all with the process of learning. Free of the pressure of building college transcripts, Middle School students take deep dives into authentic experiences, whether it’s a geology field trip to Rocky Neck State Park, writing an in-depth research paper, or immersing themselves in the language, art and music of another culture.
Classes of about 12 to 14 students furnish rich opportunities for participation in discussions, group work and one-on-one instruction and allow teachers to know each student well. These family-like classes provide an intimacy and esprit de corps that fosters confidence, risk-taking and friendship.
An Age-Appropriate Schedule
Class periods of 75 minutes allow students and teachers ample time to explore ideas in depth and engage in extended research, discussions, and hands-on projects. A two-hour break in the middle of the day for sports and lunch provides students with a natural time to release pent-up energy. The order of class meetings rotates on a weekly basis, affording refreshing variations in the daily schedule.
Each student has a faculty advisor who provides support and guidance in academics, social interactions and personal growth. These advisors become their students’ strongest cheerleaders and advocates. Working closely with students’ families, they regularly furnish parents with information and insights about their children’s progress.
Healthy Minds in Healthy Bodies
Instead of taking physical education classes, all Middle School students compete actively on interscholastic sports teams where they learn collaboration, teamwork and athletic skills. Because most teams include students from several grades, athletes are able to expand their skill level as well as their circle of friends
Co-Curricular Opportunities for Growth
An array of activities, from Model United Nations to Mock Trial to the Athletic Advisory Council, afford many ways for students to be involved in the school community and furnish experience in teamwork, organization, and decision-making. These groups nurture the whole child by developing leadership and negotiation skills.
Caring Beyond Self
The Middle School cherishes a rich tradition of helping others beyond the KO community. A student committee takes ownership of this process by selecting three charitable organizations to support with fundraisers and volunteer work each semester. These causes have ranged from animal shelters to cancer research to the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.
A Perfect Size
With approximately 150 students, the Middle School is small enough for students to know their teachers, coaches, and advisors very well but large enough to field a variety of sports teams, clubs, and musical and theatrical groups and to furnish students with a wide range of friends.
Taken as a whole, the Middle School program equips students with the skills, self-confidence, and resilience to succeed at the Upper School. Our students learn to love learning for its own sake and know how to organize and prioritize their academic work, advocate for themselves, and ask for help from adults when they need it. They become independent learners who are unafraid to tackle a challenge in the classroom, on the playing field, or on the stage.
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