Middle School Life
Middle School Life
From the Director's Chair
"Our child-centered society has lost sight of one of the most important ingredients for healthy, happy children – healthy, happy parents," writes Erin Andersson in a recent article in The Globe and Mail titled "To Be a Better Parent in 2020, Don't Forget to Take Care of Yourself." In the month of New Years' resolutions, this one should top most of our lists.
Whether you are co-parenting, single-parenting or even grandparenting, if you haven't had several humbling, confusing or frustrating moments helping guide your middle grader, then you simply are not being honest with yourself. As we, and our society, continue to push our children to achieve excellence in all their endeavors, and the pressure mounts for our students to earn high grades, excel in arts or athletics, make good decisions on their devices and with their friends, and much more, we, as the adults, need to remind ourselves to model self-care and give ourselves permission to not know what to do next.
In the article, Andersson references David Anderegg, who wrote about parent anxiety in his 2001 book, Worried All the Time: Rediscovering the Joy in Parenthood in an Age of Anxiety. He offers that parenting is often presented falsely as a science, when it is really about values. These values include parents asking, "What is best for me and my family?" And remembering to take care of their own needs, too. Furthermore and perhaps most edifying, he asserted, "You cannot be a decent parent if you have no life of your own, because you have nothing to communicate to your child about why they should grow up."
So, just to be clear, I don't think Anderegg is telling us to "get a life," which could make us all feel inadequate in new ways, but rather to seek opportunities to show our children how to be human, vulnerable, find joy in the way we live our lives. And, finding time for our own pursuits and passions shows our children what we value in ways that speak louder than our words. Good to keep in mind for 2020.
Please read on to learn more about Middle School life.
Director of Middle School
Middle School Updates
Owing to the good work of several Upper School students led by Sydney '21 (shown above with Madeleine '20 and Julian '21, presenting at a Middle School assembly), along with Allen Vandegrift, assistant director of Middle School, we are pleased to begin a Peer Mentoring program. Starting soon, Middle School students will have access to Upper School mentors to help with academic, social or extracurricular challenges. To help Middle School students choose a mentor fit for them, we will provide information about the mentor, including grade, years at PC, clubs, sports and academic topics they can help with. We seek to create more connections between the Middle and Upper Schools, and a stronger support system for Middle School students.
More Happenings ...
We celebrated and thanked two long-term substitutes who have completed their time teaching in our Middle School. Above, Mariam Freeman (MS and US French) and Allen Van (MS PE and Health) filled in superbly for Aude Simon and Renee Gunning, who both returned from family leave in the week of Jan. 22.
Our Middle School Service Council, which is in its inaugural year, advised by Sharon Ahram, assistant director of the Center for Public Purpose, and Allen Vandegrift, has grown to 24 student participants. A trip to Waring Elementary School is planned next week.
Eighth graders embarked on a field trip to NYC to see To Kill a Mockingbird on Broadway. The trip coincided with our reading of the novel in eighth grade English class and sparked deep and meaningful conversations and reflections.
During Community Time on Jan. 17, our Middle School students participated in a session on equity and inclusion led by Upper School students who recently attended a Student Leadership Diversity Conference in Seattle, Wash.
On the 10th anniversary of the ribbon cutting of the Kurtz Center for the Performing Arts, Middle School small ensembles joined groups from Lower and Upper School for the annual Small Ensemble Concert. Small but mighty! This concert rocked. Watch this week for all the concert photos on Flickr.
Friday, Jan. 31
Actors AJ Michalka (Lainey) and Brett Dier (C.B.) from ABC's comedy Schooled will visit Penn Charter for an assembly with Middle School students and teachers. The series, as many in our community know, is based on Penn Charter and PC teachers who shaped co-creator Adam Goldberg OPC '94 in the 1990s. Our own Charlie Brown, C.B. on the show, will emcee the assembly. Catch an episode (or three or four) of the family-friendly Wednesday comedy with your middle schooler before the assembly. Tonight's new episode, "Titanic Love," is all about PC/GA Day and our storied football rivalry, from the perspective of the 1990s.
Our annual Geography Bee will also take place on the same day. Twelve seventh and eighth graders who scored well on the national placement test will compete in the Bee with Jim Pilkington moderating.
Lastly, we are planning some celebrations of the Super Bowl LIV appearance of Mike McGlinchey OPC '13 as the starting right tackle for the 49ers. Look for a yellow rally towel to make it home on Friday.
Saturday, Feb. 1
Middle School Math Counts team competes at Temple University.
Tuesday, Feb. 4, 7 pm, Meeting Room
Moving Up to Upper School for current eighth grade parents.
Thursday, Feb. 6, 8:15-8:45 am, Meeting Room
Middle School families are warmly invited to join their children in Meeting for Worship. Experience silent worship and reflection as your children do each week. If you plan on attending, please join us in the MS lobby 8:00-8:15 am for coffee and fellowship with other parents. Then we will walk over to the Meeting Room with our students at 8:15.
Friday, Feb. 7, 8:30-11:30 am
MS Student Government leaders, including clerks along with homeroom representatives, will travel to Chestnut Hill Meeting for a leadership retreat on Quaker decision making, leading Student Meeting for Business, and more.
Tuesday, Feb. 11, 7 pm, Balderston Commons
Moving Up to Middle School for current fifth grade parents.