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MS News

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Middle School News, Elizabeth Johnston, Principal

The Whole Child in Middle School

In the middle school at ICS we are focused on the whole child not just the “student” in the classroom, which is why we have a vibrant pastoral program that includes Advisory, Fit Up, House Groups and Community Time.   We dedicate significant time and resources to these programs. In previous Yezare issues, many of you have read about FitUp!, our House activities and our Community Time. This week our Community Time was a student led assembly on the Learner Profile trait “Risk Taker” presented by Mrs. Milone’s advisory (pictures will be posted next week).

Our Advisory curriculum covers many different aspects and helps students develop the skills and attitudes that contribute to success in the middle years. Grade 7 Advisories for example, have been working through the “.b” Mindfulness curriculum over the last two months and students who have completed the 10 session course will receive a certificate. Lesson topics included stress reducing techniques, exercises in strengthening attention, and finding the positives in everyday life. If you are a parent of a grade 7 student, please ask them about the program and the strategies they have gained from it. The philosophy of Mindfulness is a huge part of our program for promoting both physical and social emotional wellness in students and we thank Ms. Julia Emes for guiding our students through Mindfulness training again this year.

We say in the middle school that we are “growing learners” and this is evident in our significant focus on Effort and the Learner Profile. All MS students have set goals and chosen actions steps linking their effort and the Learner profile in order to internalize the essential traits of the Learner Profile. Again, ask your MS child about his or her goals this year.

As part of our focus on the whole child, Mrs. Gunther, the MS counsellor, also sponsors a series of girl empowerment groups that help our female students develop self-esteem and confidence to meet the challenges of their world. For grade 6 girls, she runs the “Sisterhood” on Fridays during lunch in G121. Students do not need to sign up formally but can just show up and participate. For grade 7 girls there is a group called “She Believed She could So She Did” and this takes place on Thursdays at lunch in room G121. Mrs. Gunther organizes a variety of guest speakers for these groups and is helped out by Mrs. Tyo-Dickerson and Ms. Franks. Mrs. Gunther is currently organizing a third group for girls in the 8th grade and more details will be available shortly.

The middle school focus on the whole child is absolutely essential to achieving the ICS mission:

We nurture the talents, character and intellect of all learners, challenging them to be a positive influence and empowering them to excel in their world.