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The Roeper Middle School provides a learning environment ideally suited for gifted students in Grades 6 through 8. The academic program provides both rigor and flexibility to meet the diverse needs of middle school students as they transition from Lower to Upper School. Roeper teachers at this level have a deep understanding of the developmental needs of their students. Passions are nurtured, ideas are examined and a structured support system is in place as students navigate the sometimes intense social and emotional experience at this time of growth and change.
The first sentence of a short story I love dearly, “The Open Boat” by Stephen Crane, reads, “None of them knew the color of the sky.” The characters of the story do not know the color of the sky because they are in a lifeboat frantically rowing to shore in stormy weather; their focus is on survival, nothing else. The middle school years are often characterized as a stage of life to survive, to get through—jumping from the comfort of childhood into a roughly three year storm of hormones, insecurity, and nagging, drowning in the frenetic angst of adolescence, frantically rowing to make it to the shore of young adulthood. While adolescence has its waves and troughs, Roeper middle school students (and parents) are invited to drop the panicked navigation of the middle years and instead celebrate the middle school years as a time filled with experiences and adventures to patiently enjoy and fully embrace.
At Roeper, students are encouraged to view middle school as a transitional stage where they learn to take ownership of their identity, education, and community, building autonomy while—at once—recognizing the value and complexity of the interdependence between the individual self and the larger world as they ready themselves for the upper school. The rich experiences and relationships available to Roeper middle school students empower them to find purpose, to exercise creativity, to take risks, to explore the depths of academics and extra-curricular opportunities, to engage with peers, and, in many ways, to determine their own path through adolescence.
In Annemarie Roeper’s book The ‘I’ of the Beholder: A Guided Journey of the Essence of a Child, she imagines the human Self explaining, “You must stop speaking about me and speak with me and include me in your plans and thinking.” In the Roeper Lower School, Middle School, and Upper School, Roeper faculty and staff make time and space for each student to have a voice in the shaping of an educational experience specific to his or her needs, ideas, background, passions, and dreams.
Roeper’s dedication to providing its middle school students with small class sizes and academic curriculum and rigor purposefully and creatively designed to meet the particular needs of middle school students, along with exceptional teachers, annual class travel, a no-cut athletic program, fine arts and performing arts courses and extensions, authentic leadership opportunities, and robust flexibility in a community based on respect and responsibility underscores the distinct culture of the Roeper middle school—a place where young adolescents can learn, contribute, and mature in a supportive, dynamic, challenging, and inclusive environment.
Sincerely,Colleen PotockiMiddle School DirectorThe Roeper School