The middle grades years are a time of enormous change and curiosity for young adolescents. Students require safe and structured opportunities to take risks and explore their identities. For this reason, Developmental Designs is practiced across the Middle School.
The Developmental Designs approach offers a set of strategies designed to keep young people safe, connected, responsible, and engaged in learning. These strategies fall into three basic areas—Relationship, Social Skills, and Engagement. When educators integrate these areas, learning is optimized.
Daily, students participate in a Circle of Power and Respect during advisory. Students circle up, greet each other respectfully, share what is happening in their lives, and engage in activities that bridge differences and build community. During circle, every students is seen, heard and acknowledged.
Throughout the school day, routines and transitions are modeled and rehearsed so that students develop self-control and responsible independence. Class rules are democratically developed and recorded in a Social Contract. Teacher language is intentionally chosen to convey respect and to build student independence.
CPA’s schoolwide focus on peace, ethics and non-violent conflict resolution continues to be emphasized and modeled throughout the middle years. Service learning trips into the community occur at each grade level. Middle grade students also participate in a Courage retreat. Facilitated by Youth Frontiers, the this retreat is designed to inspire students to follow their hearts instead of the crowd, use moral courage, and make responsible decisions despite their fears.