Why Middle School at Latin?
We often talk about spreadsheet people in admissions. In other words, spreadsheet people are applicants who create a spreadsheet of all the things a school can offer. Usually, spreadsheet people have multiple tabs for points of comparison. If they are applying to four schools, they have four spreadsheets. I love spreadsheet people and in middle school, we do really well on spreadsheets.
We offer multiple electives. We offer multiple sports in multiple seasons. We perform multiple concerts, plays, and performances. We offer multiple foreign languages. We offer multiple service opportunities on- and off-campus. We have multiple clubs and multiple rotations to try multiple clubs. Whew!
And let’s not forget about the great teachers, the small class size, the 128-acre campus, the fleet of buses, the advisory program, the freedom to choose any lunch option daily, and the incredible school culture. Middle School is a place where students can try a multitude of different things or pick one or two areas of interest and “go deep.” Almost anything is possible in Middle School.
But when I asked one of our faculty members what was the most special thing about our Middle School, he said, “Daily Study Hall.”
I must admit, I never considered adding “study hall” as a tour highlight. After all, we have 3D printers, milling machines, a black box theater, a low and high ropes course, a lake, and a support dog named Fisher. Study Hall? Really?
Then he explained something I know well.
“It isn’t the study hall part that is great. It is that every single day, from 3:00 to 3:30, I get to spend time with the same small group of students. I hear about their ups, their downs, their concerns — or just watch them put their head on their desk and take a quick nap before they head to after-school activities. I know them. For a full year, I get to know this really small group well and we are like a family. That is my favorite thing to do every day.”
The great thing about adding Study Hall to the spreadsheet is that it also appeals to the other kind of applicant: gut instinct people. So, while we can fill up the spreadsheet, we think our Middle School is great because the day begins and ends with time together, to work, to play, to reflect, or to just take a break. Reserving that time daily lets the relationships grow naturally. Checking all those boxes gives me a pretty great feeling about our Middle School!