Our middle school children meet daily, for 45 minutes, for each core subject. These include language arts (both grammar/writing and literature), math, science, history, and Spanish. Our core curriculum is enhanced by several enrichments, including technology, physical education, visual arts, performing arts, makerspace, and an inclusive chapel service weekly. Additionally, there are many music offerings after school.
Students arrive to their homerooms at school between 8:00 and 8:15, and our first period class starts at 8:15. The children have a fifteen minute recess following third period. Their next break is following fifth period, where they have a 30 minute lunch, from 12:15 to 12:45. They often go outside at the end of their lunch break. Our 8th and last period class ends at 3:00. From 3:00 to 3:15, the children “pack and plan,” getting ready for our 3:15 to 3:30 departure through car line. Some students do take advantage of our after-school care program until 5:30. (Likewise, some arrive earlier than 8:00 for early morning care. Free tutoring by a faculty member is also offered during this time, from 7:30 to 8:00 a.m.)
After school activities, in addition to the music mentioned earlier, include several sports offerings (soccer, basketball, mountain biking, and martial arts). Students also may participate in First Lego League’s Lego Robotics and/or chess club.
There are several things unique to our students’ middle school experience, as compared to their elementary years here. Every fall we do something special to foster our students’ sense of community and teamwork. Often, it has been an overnight retreat away from school. Most recently, we held a lock-in at the the children’s request.
Additionally, we do require that our children complete a minimum of twenty community service hours annually. There are several opportunities through school to earn those hours. They may volunteer at the 43rd Street Arts Festival, which raises funds for the homeless, or at our very own fall festival held each October. Several children volunteer to help plan our family fun night during our spring Scholastic book fair. Being just a block away from Forest Hill Park affords countless opportunities as well, such as picking up trash, monitoring the bluebird boxes, etc. Finally, children often help with our little school garden. This year they had the opportunity to assist with our playground renovation as well.
Also unique to middle school is participation in our Student Government Association (SGA), through which our spirit days, holiday fundraisers, and middle school dance are run. Good Shepherd has its own chapter of the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS). Students who display strength in scholarship, leadership, service, citizenship, and character are inducted into this prestigious national organization. Through the NJHS, our school participates in meaningful service projects, such as our reverse advent calendar, during which our entire school community collects food for FeedMore, during the holiday season and our sponsorship of a Ugandan child through the Watoto organization.