School climate is a delicate thing. You can feel it when it is right and know when something is off, but it is very difficult to put your finger specifically on the levers to nudge it just a little this way or that. That said, when asked by a new family or visitor what I feel most excited about at the Middle School, I will often say the “culture” or “climate” of our learning community.

Here’s what I mean. In the middle school, students

  • Hold doors for each other;
  • Say “thank you” to the conveyer belt of dishes in the dining hall, because they know there is actually a human being behind the machine making sure things get cleaned;
  • Ask me whether it is OK to put up posters in the bathrooms with affirming messages;
  • Give a chorus of “Thank you’s” to teachers at the end of classes;
  • Want to join the leadership team in huge numbers;
  • Ask repeatedly if they can host visitors to school;
  • Offer to clean up even if s/he did not make the mess;
  • Check in on a friend who may be feeling down;
  • Sign up to get extra help from teachers as needed;
  • Take the extra time to be sure that their best work has been submitted;
  • Plan a special surprise send off for Mrs. Zolla who is expecting twins.
  • Individually, each action is thoughtful; collectively, it is the Middle School climate.

Unquestionably, we are not a perfect place. How could we be? Every day we bring together 250 oh-so-very-human adults and young people and literally have thousands of interactions, sometimes under stressful circumstances—teacher to student and student to student. I’m sure that every day there are actions and responses that could be more genuine, generous and kind, but also, taken collectively, there is a lot to commend and celebrate about our community. For complete survey data available to Middle School parents, click here to prompt a login to your Middle School Resource Board on the CA website.