Middle School ... A Time of Curiosity and Courage
“Without a positive, trust-filled relationship, others will not let themselves be guided.”
The Developmental Design (DD) approach offers a set of practical structures for building community, establishing order, and engaging young transforming learners. A structure that addresses the academic and social-emotional challenges the adolescent is experiencing.
Students’ thriving in middle grades depend upon a healthy internal sense of competence, autonomy, relationship, and fun.
Each person in the community contributes to establishing order and achieving success for themselves and others. First, each student sets his/her own academic and social goals and within those lists steps to attain the same. Second, students establish and agree to abide by their own social contract guidelines through a brainstorming and value voting process. All middle school students agree to abide by the same social contract guidelines to ensure that each person in the community has the optimum opportunity to achieve success. Third, teachers provide structure to ensure that the above needs of competence, autonomy, relationship, and fun are practiced and mastered and redirect students when social contract guidelines are violated.
On August 25, 2014, St. Mary’s Middle School Students adopted the following three social contract guidelines for the 2014-2015 school year:
1) “ # Thumbs Up Jesus”… Students agree to help each other seek first His Kingdom in all circumstances. Everyone then maybe open to receive all God has planned. Our most important duty as a disciple is to lead others to Christ.
2) “Block-Out The Haters”…Students agree to help each other to overcome the naysayers in their lives…especially their own fears.
3) “BAFF – Be a Friendly Friend”…Students agree to be friendly to one another. “God created us to be interdependent and not alone. We can become so much more when we come alongside of others… and we make them better too.”
Families are encouraged to model and practice these at home and redirect their students when need be. Consistent and appropriate reactions will provide students with the greatest opportunity to achieve his/her goals.