Research shows that the K-8 model of education has a positive impact on a child’s success because it provides the intimacy of the community, the connection to younger students as students mature, and the ongoing connection of the student to the adult community which has fostered his/her educational development from its very beginning. Research further illustrates that “one of the most compelling reasons to support the K-8 grade configuration is the leadership aspect for students”. Leadership is emphasized when upper grade students team up with younger students for such things as tutoring, or a buddy system.
At the same time, it is recognized that the middle school aged child is undergoing changes physically and mentally, requiring a focused response to their learning. They require a curriculum that intellectually engages and inspires young adolescents. The result of this is a model nicknamed the “elemiddle” (elementary middle school).
At St. Joseph, students in grades 6, 7 and 8, our middle school years, begin their day in homeroom and move each class period to different classrooms for instruction by a teacher with credentials in that specific academic field. They learn in student-centered classrooms that place a priority on higher level thinking activities that result from inquiry based learning.
The Catholic faith is integral to the St. Joseph middle school experience, woven into the fabric of our curriculum and programs. It is the foundation through which we develop teacher to student and student to student relationships.