For many new Mount de Sales middle schoolers, like sixth grader Bennie Perkins, the newfound independence that comes with being a Cavalier can be a challenge. He admitted, “The independence here is a big change and a big switch for me.” But with that challenge comes appreciation and a growth in confidence. “Teachers are guiding me and helping me along the way, so I’m getting better at it.”
From the first day of school to the last, teachers work with students to take on more responsibility and develop time management skills, and they serve as a safety net throughout the process. Mount de Sales uses an online learning management system where students find assignments and additional course resources. They use this system on a daily basis. A tutorial period is offered at the end of the day, a time when students can seek extra help on their own. Having homework in each subject, encouraging students to study on their own, and allowing them to embrace their education are all part of fostering independence. “We’re constantly trying to prepare them for the next step,” said Becky Mixon, middle school teacher. “They appreciate it. They know they are in a school that is going to prepare them for college.”
As a perk of being independent, Bennie and his classmates enjoy being able to walk without a teacher escort to break, to classes in different parts of campus, and to the library or the Back Porch campus store. It’s a freedom they enjoy, one quite different than in an elementary school setting.
Mixon said that middle schoolers are “genuinely happy here,” and they work together in staying on task and reminding each other of their assignments, always motivating each other. “They definitely have a sense of community,” she said. Bennie echoes that sentiment: “It’s like my second home.”
The future is bright for our students as they enhance their skills, discover new passions, and evolve into responsible citizens.