Saint James Middle School recognizes that adolescents come in all shapes and sizes. Middle School students experience rapid growth and change-intellectually, socially, and emotionally, as well as physically-but they do not all grow at the same time or at the same rate. The result is a student population at any one grade level that may be of the same age but vastly different from one another. While the middle school years provide a transition between childhood and adolescence, this developmental stage is important at Saint James Middle School. In many respects, we believe it is the most crucial stage of life.
A good middle school is identified by how well it supports the healthy growth and development of its students. While Saint James holds high expectations for all students' academic achievement, we are careful to see that programs are appropriate to young adolescent learners.
Teachers and students are placed together in teams that provide a sense of family within the larger school community. Programs match a teacher advocate with each student, someone who knows the child well and is available to work with students and parents about academic or other concerns. The advisor often gives the child the extra bit of counseling needed to provide a warm, comfortable atmosphere.
Often, subjects or courses are linked to integrate learning experiences, thus reflecting life in the actual world. Helping students see how subjects relate to and support each other is important. Students achieve best when activities are related to their lives and when they can use skills learned in seeking solutions to real problems.
Exploratory classes in such areas as art, music, technology, drama, forensics, foreign languages, and personal development offer all students opportunities to explore new areas, pursue interests and identify aptitudes. This provides some confidence with their talents before they make choices in high school. A variety of activities are also provided in clubs, intramurals, student government, and community service projects.
Saint James Middle School classrooms are exciting, active places where students ask questions and pursue solutions to problems they have helped to identify. Our middle school teachers use many different teaching strategies such as hands-on laboratory experiments, individual and group projects, problem solving activities, cooperative learning groups, lectures, demonstrations, field trips, and utilization of community resources. The content studies and activities students engage in help them acquire a balance of fundamental skills and essential knowledge while developing positive attitudes about learning and themselves. Increasingly, research studies support the effectiveness of middle school programs in improving students' academic achievement and overall development.
At Saint James we believe our middle school program ranks as the best in Montgomery in providing the following:
- A friendly, inviting, and academically challenging school climate.
- Abundant opportunities to build positive relationships between and among students and teachers.
- Small communities of learners where groups know each other well, and where learning experiences are interrelated and meaningful.
- A caring adult advisor or mentor who knows and is concerned about each student's academic progress and adjustment to school and life.
- An enthusiastic staff that provides programs designed to help students reach their potential.
- An environment that capitalizes on the curiosity and creativity of students and displays student projects, art work, and reports.
- Flexible grouping of students to provide the best learning environment for students of varying abilities, interests, and rates of learning.
- An activity program that encourages student participation in sports and interest-centered activities.
- Extensive opportunities for students to explore, experiment, and discover.
- A positive discipline program that guides students in becoming responsible for their own behavior.
- Social experiences appropriate for the age level.
- Partnership with families and communities.
- A culture that celebrates human diversity and promotes tolerance among students and adults from diverse backgrounds.