The transition to high school is one that should be made confidently, solidly, standing on ones own two feet, as a student enters the second stages of college preparation and adulthood and leaves behind the painful developmental stages of adolescence.
The Middle Years. Each year, when your child first began his/her journey I warn you that your child will grow, change, and that at times you may not recognize who he/she is. As the years progressed, many of you found this to be true. The Middle Years are not only some of the most challenging development years for a child, but they can be the most significant in how well a child completes high school, and moves onto college.
Our web site has a variety of pages and links with resources to help you and your child through these formative years.
Since our first culminating class in 2012, we have required that your child demonstrate satisfactory completion of 7th and 8th grade coursework, as well as complete a community service project (aligned to college application requirements once in high school) and successfully demonstrate appropriate behavioural expectations (as necessitated by high school, college, and career).
In summary, everything that we do, every moment of the day, every expectation that we have is aligned to the expectations your child will face over the next four to eight years of their academic world, and into a career platform.
In order to participate in our Culmination Ceremony, your child will need:
Successful completion of coursework: Your child is expected to successfully complete 7th and 8th grade courses with a passing grade of C or better. Studies indicate that a child's high school success can be correlated to middle school success. Student attendance, work habits and grades in middle school will impact high school completion.
Community service project: Each year, our 8th grade students are required to complete a community service project. The project has three components: 1) Addressing a problem in their community; 2) Increasing awareness of the problem; 3) Having an impact in addressing/resolving the problem. When your child enters high school, and as they begin to build their high school portfolio, they will be required to show their community outreach efforts on their college applications. We believe that the sooner your child begins this work, the more credibility it will give your child as they begin to outline their work on college applications. The work should be authentic and not seem as if your student is simply crossing off the service on the college application checklist.
Behaviour that is appropriate: We believe in teaching the whole child. An employee that excels at their job is not effective if he/she lacks integrity, respect, trust, and a host of other values and mores that keep societies healthy and strong. Beyond the academic requirements, we believe in ensuring that your child understands that success in life is not only about being a straight A student. They must have a set of values that compliments the work they do.
In 2014, we piloted altered requirements for participating in events and the ceremony. This was done at the suggestion of our School Coordinating Council to allow all students and parents to experience the joy of such a momentous occasion. The hope was that once a student savoured walking the stage, they would continue to hunger for that experience in high school and college. In the end, the pilot proved no more successful than our original requirements, as the percentage of students that did not meet the original requirements remained the same and those students elected to not walk the stage.
In 2015-2016, we returned to our original culmination requirements, to hold true to the real life expectations of high school, college and career.
The attached document outlines these expectations succinctly.
Furthermore, in order to participate in the extra-curricular events of 8th grade (Prom, Magic Mountain, etc.), they must demonstrate that they can act in a manner that is trustworthy, mature, and responsible. These extra-curricular events are not required, nor are they a right. They are a privilege and they must be earned. Based on behaviour reports from teachers and observations of schoolwide behaviours, I make the final call on whether or not a student will participate in these events.
Finally, Culmination is also a privilege. Any student that does not complete the expected requirements will not participate in the ceremony. Each year, many students work diligently to meet these requirements. Each year, a handful do not. Yet, the handful expects and lobbies, or has parents lobby, for the same privilege. Any student that does not meet the outlined deadlines and requirements will not be allowed participation. Parents, we forewarned. Make certain that you are doing everything in your power to keep track of your child's grades, community service project completion, and behaviour throughout the year (Pinnacle, teacher outreach, conferences, meetings, etc.). A last minute conversation will not alter the course of a year's worth of effort, or lack thereof.
We look forward to your child's middle school success!