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By: Lisa Davis
Middle School Head

As I spent time walking across campus, I couldn’t help but notice the significant changes as of late; the colors of the landscape have changed, the days are shorter, and colder temperatures arrive this week. While much is changing outside, I notice a difference inside the building, as well. The 2015-2016 school year is well under way, and buzz in the hallways has changed from anticipatory chatter about new teachers and class assignments to eager conversation reflecting engagement in the learning process and all that the St. James Academy middle school has to offer.

Each new school year brings with it inevitable growing pains as students face new milestones and accept new challenges. Witnessing student growth in a variety of arenas is one of the most rewarding aspects of educating children. In the middle school, we are fortunate to have a dedicated team of individuals, who contribute to an environment that encourages students to capitalize on personal strengths, recognize areas of growth, and stretch within their comfort level. Learning is vigorous, but students are provided with rich curriculum and a variety of supports to help them achieve academic success and develop into collaborative team members.

The Sixth Grade is quickly acclimating to their new routine. Earlier this year they participated in a morning of community building which introduced them to key components of the advisory program, including relationship, competence, autonomy and FUN! They have recently engaged in their first leadership task, serving as hosts to our Fifth Grade students shadowing the middle school.

Seventh Grade students are enjoying their new position as veterans. They travelled to Paul’s Place on November 23rd to deliver food collected during the Thanksgiving food drive and helped pack bags to be distributed to families in need this holiday season.

Eighth Grade students are currently immersed in the high school search process, recently completing the leadership portion of their seminar class. They have experienced mock interviews and shadowed in many schools, making careful observations as they thoughtfully consider their future after SJA.

Of course these are only a few of the highlights from this year, and we look forward to what’s to come. The winter sports have began and preparations continue for academic contests and this year’s musical production of Hello Dolly. December brings Jingle Bell Junction, the Christmas Dance and the Holiday Pageant. We hope you will join us in celebrating. Wishing you all the best for a happy and healthy holiday season.