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  • Writer's pictureTrey Adams

Middle school puzzles

Brooks White P'28,'28 is a seasoned educator. With significant experience at the lower school level and beloved by students and colleagues alike, in 2021, she was asked to move to middle school and stretch her talents to serve our 11-14 year old students, a veritable developmental gauntlet.

"Did you ever think that your middle school English teacher would be giving you puzzles from preschool on your first day of school?" Mrs. White concluded her discussions of the course syllabus, expectations for behavior, and daily routine and launched a collaborative activity with our sixth grade, the class of 2029. "I found a use for all these extra masks as blindfolds."

"We will be engaging in Socratic discussions this year as we dive into our novels, and it is important to listen to one another," shared White. Students were divided into groups of four and given a preschool puzzle. "One student wears the blindfold and other members of the group help them put together the puzzle by sharing verbal directions, only." Students initially fumbled through to try to accomplish the task. Successful groups reduced the talking over one another to a single voice to guide the impaired puzzler to get the pieces in the right place.

There were multiple pieces of great instruction occurring. Collaboration is when a group works together for a common benefit. Kinesthetic learning is a multisensory approach when a student interacts with their environment. Problem-solving is presenting a challenge and encouraging a group to think critically and creatively to overcome the hurdles. Mrs. White is an example of the SA Way.

My visits to classrooms this week were punctuated by joyful faces and new experiences. We opened our doors to 373 students (262 families) on Wednesday, an increase from 361 last year. We have 75 new students and 9 new faculty members. Athletic events have kicked off, including the all-day Border Classic Volleyball Tournament occurring on campus today (August 20). Swing by and support our athletes!

I hope that you will join us for the first big faculty-parent-friend social event of the year on Saturday, September 24. Come meet and mingle with other community members (over 21, please). It's a great time to be a Raider... and to be back together once again!

Finally, here are some other items to consider:

  • Regarding middle and upper school schedule, A days and B days alternate each day we are in session. Friday, August 19 was an A day, so Monday, August 22 will be a B day.

  • Regarding student and family handbooks, please log into your FACTS account and click on Resources to review the handbook--policies, procedures, etc.

  • Regarding Parent-Teacher Night, please make plans to join us on Wednesday, August 31 at 6:00 p.m. to visit classrooms and hear from the teachers.

Follow us on Facebook. Mollie Strozier P'34,'37 and Emmy Hodges P'37 and their Media and Relations students do great job of maintaining an active (interactive) and informative presence.

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