After March break, the 8th grade classrooms were devoid of students! While this presented some challenges for our middle school teachers for daily lesson planning, you might say it was a good problem to have, since the reason for their absence was a flurry of school revisits.
This year’s class, like those that have preceded them, collectively had many school options to consider. Should I be a day student at Milton or Nobles? Should I board at Middlesex? Would I be happiest at a single-sex school like Belmont Hill, Xavarian or Winsor? What are the student-teacher connections like at Deerfield or Hotchkiss? What is the athletics program like at Buckingham Browne and Nichols? What arts are offered at Concord Academy and Rivers? Do I want to reconnect with my town and attend public school?
These were all important questions rumbling through DCD students’ heads as they went through the process of picking their next school, March 10th decisions in hand. This was the culmination of their yearlong search process, and fortunately, they had the opportunity to take part in DCD’s Smooth Talk program (a unique program specifically designed to help our 8th graders apply to secondary schools), and work on test preparation, school visits, and application writing to prepare them for this very point in time.
In “trying on new schools” by sitting in classes, meeting other students, talking with new teachers, and using DCD alumni as resources, DCD 8th graders were feeling excited throughout the process. They are used to trying new things and taking risks, so the prospect of what lies ahead gives them goose bumps rather than hives! This time in their lives, however, is bittersweet as the first glimpse of reality of leaving the DCD mother ship and the deep relationships they’ve developed with their teachers and friends. This group of rising 9th graders is no different from those that preceded them in that they know the power of connection with adults and peers and will no doubt put this to work in their new school communities, whether an independent secondary school, a parochial school, or their local public high school. With so many choices that are all a good fit, this year’s 8th graders faced some tough decisions, but in the end, that was a really good problem to have!