Message from the Head
Dear Prospective Student and Family,
Stevenson's middle division has always been quick to adapt, pivot, and renew. With the sudden shift to remote learning necessitated by COVID-19, our faculty and students in the middle division took characteristically swift action, and moved to an online learning platform without missing a single day of instruction. Our students now attend all of their classes, including PE, dance, art, and music classes, and receive individualized support from their teachers—all virtually. Teachers even meet with their advisory groups at the end of each academic day!
Even now, in the face of COVID-19, our daily schedule reflects our core values: a student-centered learning culture predicated on inquiry, intellectual wonder, care of self and others, and collaboration among the students and the faculty. Our commitment to these values has not wavered with our shift to remote learning. Our program is scaffolded to support and challenge students at a beautifully complex stage of human development. Between the ages of 10–14, children are accelerating rapidly, and often fitfully: awe-inspiring leaps forward are often punctuated by moments of puzzling regression. By creating a learning community predicated on core values of safety, trust, respect, belonging, and inclusion, these students enter adolescence with the security they need to grow and thrive.
Our curriculum for the middle grades is designed, as it’s always been, to meet these students exactly where they are: in between the fundamental lessons of PK-4 and the varied challenges of high school. Our program is, in this sense, designed to serve as a bridge from childhood to adolescence in both academic and social terms. Our learning philosophy, which empowers students to be at the center of the learning experience, is framed on the foundation of Jean Piaget and John Dewey and is applied and practiced using the Harkness philosophy of teaching and learning.
The faculty is charged to create a learning culture in which the work—the experience, the problem, the equation, the poem, or the project—is foregrounded, rather than the teacher. Students are expected to inquire of themselves, one another, their teacher, and the learning process. It is through joining inquiry with structured measures of assessment, layered cognitive development, and curricular development that our students graduate from Grade 8 knowing how to learn, process, solve problems, and succeed intellectually and socially.
Thus, students in Grades 5–8 benefit from a learning environment that helps them to develop the intellectual curiosity, academic skills, confidence, self-knowledge, and social capacity they need to be ready for the adventures of high school. By the time they leave us, they can:
- Think critically and creatively in solving problems
- Collect, analyze, and synthesize information
- Communicate effectively, both verbally and in written form, and listen well
- Care for themselves and others with a strong ethical foundation
I invite your patience while we are not able to meet with you in person and encourage you to dive into a remote tour of our remarkable learning community.
Molly K. Bozzo
Head of the Lower and Middle Divisions