In my first update to families at the beginning of the 2023-2024 academic year, I wrote about our efforts to build a positive community, which acts as the cornerstone of everything we do in our Middle School. At the start of the year, we revisit routines and work to establish predictable expectations that allow us to work together and thrive, but the work doesn’t stop there. Community-building, relationships, connections and civic participation are at the core of our learning across subjects and are imperative to nurturing our students as whole people.
In Grade 6 Humanities, students reflected on the resilience of diverse communities and investigated sustainable solutions for urban planning, producing a magazine with explorations of Tokyo, Curitiba, and Amsterdam.
Sixth-graders, along with peers from all grades, are putting this knowledge to use in Design class as they brainstorm and evaluate possible solutions to maintain green and recreational spaces during our upcoming school construction.
In Grade 7, students are working on data analysis and statistics in math class. Capitalizing on their ongoing partnership with The Women’s Building (where the class volunteers every other Monday), seventh graders reached out to see if our neighbors could share any data related to their food pantry for the class to analyze. The Women’s Building shared information for students to analyze about the kinds of foods that are delivered and the population that utilizes the food pantry. Currently, our mathematicians are looking for interesting patterns in the data to improve outcomes for their shared work, connecting our community engagement endeavors with our academic pursuits.
In Grade 8 English Language and Literature, we are beginning a unit on Community Journalism and the ethics of reporting back. Our inquiry will contemplate how purpose and context can inform perspectives and how examining multiple perspectives can shed light on “objective” truths. In doing so, we can better understand what our civic responsibility is in engaging with all types of news media as consumers and reporting our experience as Community Journalists.
Student athletes from all grades (in addition to having a winning record!) are forging relationships across the city. Last Saturday, athletes, coaches, and families volunteered at SF Marin Food Bank as a part of our Athletics Community Outreach Program and packed 7,000 boxes of produce for distribution.
Each of these projects helps us to understand the “why” behind the learning we do in class and to remember “who” we are working with and for – ourselves, our friends and family, our neighbors, strangers, and everyone with whom we share our space. In this way, we actively apply our learning in service of building a better future.
Written by Dr. Carmen Gomez, Middle School Director
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