The Middle School at Heathwood Hall focuses on helping students recognize and develop the academic, emotional, and social skills that are vital to their future endeavors inside and outside of the classroom. A huge part of that development is allowing students more space to choose, to find the areas (academic and otherwise) that spark their passion and make for meaningful, deep experiences that shape the hearts and minds of young scholars.
With programs like the Executive Design project, a long-term assignment that groups students and tasks them with creating a detailed plan for a business (a school, a restaurant, or a summer camp), Middle School teachers provide opportunities to expand and sharpen executive functioning skills in the context of creativity and self-direction. The Clubs lineup also provides a broad range of experiences so that students can opt for and learn about various activities without the pressure of assessment or an onerous time commitment.
Middle School students are maturing physically and mentally, and the Mindful in the Hall initiative provides guidance so that students can focus on being in the moment, coping with and overcoming the stress that accompanies the radical changes which every middle schooler experiences.
Heathwood’s Middle School follows the Episcopal tradition of loving and respecting every person as being made in the image of God by showing love and support for every child and also by providing the instruction and guidance to help them become the best version of themselves. Students are not thinking machines that need programming or mere data entry; they are living, spiritual beings who can mature into fully rounded and thoroughly grounded servant leaders when they are afforded the dignity they deserve as God’s children.
Recognizing that teachers as well as students need to practice reflection and embrace growth, the MS faculty and administration review course offerings annually to assess what classes are most helpful and what teaching methods most effective in preparing students for future success. That review includes input from students so that the Middle School student body has a say in their instruction. This responsibility for their academic success is in line with Heathwood’s commitment to service leadership, and community service is a required aspect of the Middle School’s curriculum.
Academic rigor is a major priority in the Middle School, but that rigor is kept in proportion with the goal of helping the whole child mature and thrive. Test scores and grade point averages tell only part of a student’s story, and the Heathwood Middle School offers the chance to write the full, rich narrative in an environment of accountability and compassion.