Conversation with Caitha Ambler, Woodside Priory Middle School Head
Middle school occupies a special place in a student’s life, at that all-important nexus between childhood and adolescence. We’re sensitive to the unique needs of this time, and that’s why the heart of our Middle School experience is balance.
What we call “balance in the Middle” means simultaneously challenging students with the academic rigor needed to prepare them for high school and providing them with a nurturing learning environment along the way. We push our middle grade students to develop study skills, to think critically and creatively, and to grow intellectually, while also allowing them time during the school day to be “just kids,” with fun and games, open gyms, tournaments, and down time. It is this kind of balance—including a thoughtful, manageable homework load—that we believe holds the key to a successful middle school experience.
Being part of a six-through-twelve school gives our younger students access to facilities and programs usually found only in later grades. They can discover passions through electives like ceramics, Rock Band, improvisational acting, and digital photography and video. School-wide events like Chapel and Spirit Week bring students of all ages together, but with its developmentally appropriate activities, nurturing teachers, and a dedicated section of campus, the Middle School maintains an identity all its own.