A Day in the Life - Middle School
Ariella, 14, has been a student at Maimonides School since starting Kindergarten. But her experience in the Middle School at Maimonides has opened up a whole new universe. That world is known as Middle School, Grades 6, 7 and 8, where the goal is to build a bridge between Elementary and Upper Schools by helping students to grow into mature, responsible adolescents and to teach them to become more aware of their behavior, learning styles, and religious beliefs.
“We try never to lose sight of the fact that our students are forever growing and changing and learning,” says Aliza Baronofsky, Grade 8 Dean. The faculty leadership team is devoted to the concept of Middle School education that believes in meeting academic needs. “It is our task, therefore, to constantly meet the challenges that this offers and to provide our students with the finest religious and secular education.” Furthermore, Middle School classes are tailored so that each individual feels that he or she can succeed, Mrs. Baronofsky says.
“I hang out with my friends. At first bell (three minutes before the start of class), we rush to our lockers to get our materials for first and second periods, [Navi and math].”
Wednesday morning Ariella is at school a little before 8:00 and begins her day by davening with other students in the school shul. Ariella lives in Sharon but her friends are from a range of communities including Brookline, Newton and Providence. After joining fellow Middle and Upper School students at breakfast, “I hang out with my friends. At first bell (three minutes before the start of class), we rush to our lockers to get our materials for first and second periods, [Navi and math].” There’s a 15-minute break—time for a quick snack—before third-period science, which is followed by Ivrit class.
After Ariella leaves Ivrit, she heads for Saval Auditorium for lunch. Saval Auditorium is Grand Central Station for students in Grades 6-12 at Maimonides School—a lunch room, an assembly area, the crossroads for all comings and goings, and a venue for informal student gatherings. Ariella points out that on nice days, she likes to eat lunch outside with her friends and then practice for softball with a game of catch.
After lunch, Middle School students have X block. On Tuesdays, X block offers chugim, electives students select to explore a variety of activities. This term students can choose from chugim such as Maimonides history, running club, art, and intramural sports. Students also participate in Tzelem once a week during X block. Tzelem, a program developed by Yeshiva University, is targeted to this age group and deals with issues such as physical and emotional changes as well as self-esteem. On other days, students have free time during X block so they can catch up on homework or meet with a teacher.
Ariella's afternoon classes begin with English, followed by history. Grade 8 mincha takes place in the shul. The davening is followed by Talmud. “[Last time] we discussed the halachot of Pesach through the Gemora.” Then it's time for the final class of the day, "Spanish, one of my favorite subjects.” Tomorrow, Ariella's schedule shifts slightly and she'll have gym class. The dismissal bell rings at 4:40 but Ariellla stays until 5:30 so she can take the bus home with her brother, a senior. This extra time gives her a chance to get started on homework and she can take part in some extracurricular programs. She was in the cast of the Middle School play and on the seventh and eighth grade basketball team. “Between all these activities and school,” Ariella grins, “I still manage to do my homework.”