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Peek Inside Middle School Assembly

Once a week, our Middle Schoolers gather together for Assembly. Get an insider's glimpse into these 20 minutes.

Katie Kroeger

 

Once a week, the entire Middle School gathers for Assembly. The gathering is on what we lovingly call our “Dragon Steps”, a nod to our school’s mascot and the four Dragon Houses our Middle School is sorted into, the Houses of Zu, Wyvern, Typhon and Shenlong. (Yes, a bit like Harry Potter, except with no sorting hat, and derived well before Harry, Ron, and Hermione ever stepped foot on Hogwarts, from the British system).

The steps are the focal point of our award-winning new Middle School space. A beautiful, open space in the heart of our Media Center, flooded with natural light, brightness, and warmth.

As often as I can, I like to be a fly on the wall in our Middle School, and this week’s Assembly afforded me the perfect opportunity. Assembly complements Advisory, a three times per week small group meeting of around eight students and a dedicated faculty member. The Advisory curriculum covers a range of topics including social-emotional learning, executive functioning, goal setting, and current events.

These twenty-minute assemblies offer more than just a chance for housekeeping and announcements. It is face time to bond as an entire Middle School and build camaraderie. It is a time for encouragement and coaching. It is a time for students to practice using their voices in a safe space, sharing peer-to-peer.

Here is a quick recap of this week's Assembly.

  • Warm Welcome from Middle School Principal, Rob Kapner. Mr. K speaks candidly about a comparative study he is doing with a peer school. He offers a very genuine reminder that we have something really special going on at ISDenver. 

  • Hispanic Heritage Month kick-off by Head of Counseling, Annie Barocas. A short video is shown from LGBTQ Latinx Students with a brief history lesson on Hispanic Heritage. Students from countries of Hispanic origin are asked to stand when their country of origin is called.

  • A teaching moment. I often paint a perfect picture of our Middle School. And, I’m not going to lie, our Middle School is pretty close to it, or at least the closest thing I’ve seen in the 20-some years I’ve worked with this age group. But, I have to remember the amazing culture in the Middle School isn’t just happenstance. It is something cultivated, worked for, and daily refined. At the Assembly, a moment of immature silliness ensued. It was something small and likely anywhere else would have slid by. But, our Assistant Principal, Ms. Hope, called it out. She took the time to pause as a group and to call the entire group to a higher standard. The quick intervention was professional, respectful, and meaningful, being done right in the moment, as it should be.

  • Middle School Student Council Members Roll Out Suggestion Form Boxes. Two 8th-grade members of our Student Council announce their first deliverable of the school year, suggestion boxes. They clarify the difference between a suggestion and a complaint and encourage their classmates to offer solutions through their submissions. 

  • Dragon House Points are Announced. The House of Zu is crushing it, but it is said to be anyone’s game at this point in the year.

And with that, grades are dismissed for their final block of the day after an efficient, meaningful, and productive 20 minutes together. 

I’d love to show you our Middle School in action and why I think it is so special. Join me for a weekly tour this fall and, better yet, sign your rising 6th, 7th, or 8th grader up for a Shadow Day to experience a day in the life at ISDenver.

 

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