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Why the K-8 model works
At the recent community meetings, I had the opportunity to share why I love the academic and social model of a K-8 education. Modern research also confirmed my sentiments. A study from Columbia University cited in this Wall Street Journal article discusses their findings that math and reading scores in K-8 schools are significantly above scores found in an separate elementary and middle school models. A separate study out of Harvard found here discusses both the the leadership opportunities and marked improvement in future high school scores from students attending a K-8 model school.
Personally, I love the K-8 school design because it provides tangible role models for younger students while providing leadership opportunities for the Middle Schooler to realize the difference they make in the lives of those around them. It shields our students from exposure to some of the high school dynamics which are hard enough sometimes to face in high school, let alone in younger grades. I think the K-8 model best caters to the learning continuum that exists in our children without segmenting their education in a false way. In essence, it’s the ability of the older students and the younger students to interact and collectively (although often without knowing it) shape their learning experiences. This is why I love the Book Buddies Program when middle schoolers read to students in the primary division, morning assemblies when 8th graders sit with Kindergarteners, and our community learning initiatives that occur throughout the year when every grade level presents to other grade levels what they have learned. The Human Body Fair this week is another example of how we are both challenging our students and supporting their learning across age levels in our community.
I say this often but it’s worth repeating; our educational model serves all students well. At many K-8 schools, especially Sullins, middle school is the culminating experience: a safe, enjoyable place where students are the leaders of the school setting the standard both academically and socially for the entire school. For most K-8 graduates, these high standards continue through their high school and college years because of the training that they receive in our schools.