At St. Paul’s, we have always believed that the k-8, or in our case, the toddler through 8th grade model is the optimal design for middle school student growth and development. Turns out, we’ve been right all along. In a September piece for NPR, Anya Kamenetz reported on a recent Syracuse University study regarding the experience of middle schoolers in three distinct school designs: k-8, 6-8, 6-12.
What did the researchers discover?
Middle schoolers in the k-8 schools, due to a “top dog” effect, report “feeling safer” and a “greater sense of belonging.”
Middle schoolers in the k-8 schools experience less bullying and report better grades and test scores.
Your child may push to move to a large middle school or ask to move to a 6-12 school before the end of 8th grade. But the research and our alumni show that the k-8 model and the “top dog” impact is real.
Middle schoolers have a better experience when they are known and when they are the leaders of the school.