From Shalom Christian Academy's Middle School Principal Dr. Patty Flood
Middle school…it’s an anomaly that many educators have tried to figure out. This is a time in adolescence when rapid changes occur more than any other time in their life. These changes occur irregularly and progress at different rates. Therefore, specific and intentional instruction, curriculum, and interaction is needed in order to best meet the needs of these students.
Our goal is to support and prepare our students during this transitional time in their lives. Academic credibility is achieved through small classes and directed curriculum. This allows for increased contact with teaching staff who model our living curriculum.
There are various practices the middle school faculty puts into place so middle school students can develop and form positive relationships. Students are divided into small groups where eighth grade students serve as leaders and take initiative in planning activities and having the group work together. There is also a Bridge program for 6th grade students to help with the transition from the elementary to the middle school setting.
Middle school practices character traits through the great eight: responsibility, self-control, kind words, gratitude, inquisitiveness, integrity, diligence, and consideration. Positive Behavior Interventions and Support is used to encourage students to practice these traits. They earn coupon punches which can be redeemed for various privileges. Every other Friday serves as a reward period when students are further reinforced by playing games and eating snacks.
Middle school offers a variety of extracurricular activities and electives such as band, art, drama, chorus, clubs, basketball, soccer, and volleyball. Students also have a computer class each year in addition to being introduced to cooking, sewing, basic building techniques, and robotics.
Technology increasingly becomes an engaging tool for students as well as a convenience in turning in and assigning homework. Teachers use interactive whiteboards as a teaching tool. Google Classroom is used to assign homework and serves as a platform for discussion. A computer lab is available for projects and laptop carts are implemented in the classroom.
Along with core subjects such as language arts, math, science, social studies, and Bible, students attend chapel once a week. They also take part in Learn to Serve which gives them an opportunity to minister to others through various tasks throughout the school. Some are “buddies” with elementary classes and others help by cleaning areas of the school.
Effective Christian education is not simply a process of adding chapel and Bible class to an academic curriculum, but the mission is to forge a mindset to transformation that begins through a relationship with Jesus Christ and is nurtured and developed deliberately and strategically through curriculum and through relationships that confront and challenge a secular worldview.
Dr. Patty Flood