The four years that span private Middle School are a remarkable time in youngsters’ lives. From fifth through eighth grades — day to day, month to month and year-to-year — so much happens developmentally and intellectually. It is a time of both rapid changes and careful consolidation of skills, interests, friendships and an ever stronger sense of how to find one’s individual way within a community. Our devoted private Middle School faculty works alongside our students every step of the way. We offer encouragement, support and challenge that are based on knowing every child under our care. Finding the right mix of challenge and support is a constant, nuanced focus for teachers. We link everything back in middle school lives to supporting diversity and individuality while mediating through a commitment to community. To be a member of the Middle School means learning to have both an “I” and a “we” voice, respecting what is best and unique about oneself while learning to respectfully engage with and consider the needs of others.
Our students love coming to this school. Students develop strong relationships with their adult mentors, are supportive of the accomplishments of their peers and are proud of the multiple ways they increasingly master the challenges of school.
In all of our curricular work as a middle school we are guided by essential questions that provide a clear guiding focus for students and teachers. Passionate engagement by students with the world of opportunities that surrounds them in school develops a tremendous love of learning and the opportunity to develop a clear, thoughtful and engaged sense of voice.
Berkeley Carroll students, not only in the middle school, but through their high school experience as well, learn to listen, to research, to analyze, and to deploy solutions for the problems, conundrums and challenges that they need to embrace in their apprenticeship as citizens of a democracy. The art of effective communication — learning how to give a persuasive speech, act out a Shakespearean scene, debate the merits of a claim by an opponent, or how to coax music out of an instrument you’ve only picked it up for the first time as a sixth grader — supporting this drive and necessity to reach others develops confidence and ever-deepening engagement in the academics and the arts.
Our private Middle School is a busy place. One of the great pleasures as a division director is to roam the building. I am always struck by the school as a buzzing hive of activity — classroom to classroom, gym to performance space, art studio to band room — over the course of a day so many separate worlds, each unique and fascinating, embody the pleasure of enthusiastic teaching and learning. There is no more exciting place to be than a healthy and engaged school.
The School Day
The school day begins at 8:15 a.m. and ends at 3:40 p.m. On Monday - Thursday, students meet with their advisor to record attendance and hear morning announcements. During this time, advisors check-in with students and make sure they are ready for the school day. On Fridays, the entire Middle School begins the day by gathering in the gym for a school morning meeting. This community-building meeting, led by student representatives, is a time to recognize the week’s achievements in sports, academics, and the arts.
Students participating in Middle School athletics will often have practice or games after school. However, we have set aside Wednesdays as a day with no after school commitments to allow parents to schedule appointments without a school conflict.
Middle School flextime, which occurs three times weekly, lets students engage in an activity of their choice. Flextime options include dance, chorus, jazz band, string ensemble, speech and debate, computer programming, or Math Counts (our competitive math team a.k.a. The Quantifying Lions). Alternatively, students can use this time to get a jumpstart on homework or meet with a teacher.