“If I could design psychologically safe schools, every elementary school in the United States would go from kindergarten through grade 8.”
-Michael Thompson, Psychologist and NY Times Best-Selling Author
There has been on-going research throughout the years on the advantages of a K-8 education–the most recent reported by NPR was on a landmark study–one of the largest of its kind that supports the K-8 education model. The following articles provide insight on the topic:
Sixth Grade Is Tough; It Helps To Be ‘Top Dog’
What the Research Says (or Doesn’t Say) About K-8 Versus Middle School Grade Configurations
Because St. George is proudly PK-8 by design ...
Our environment allows students to experience age-appropriate activities and events without the influence and pressure of older students. Without exposure to the social pressures of high school students, St. George is able to teach and engage our students in developmentally appropriate ways.
K-8 schools are places where everyone is known. Teachers and administrators are able to create real relationships with students. The result at St. George is a strong community where children have a greater sense of confidence and where they feel safe to take the risks that maximum learning and growing requires.
When middle school students are the oldest in the building, they have an opportunity to step into authentic leadership roles earlier. Middle schoolers at St. George often find themselves as the captains of sports teams, serving on leadership teams, and assuming the leading roles in school productions. The K-8 model also provides students in grades 6-8 the opportunity to mentor and serve as role models for younger children.
Because the sense of community among teachers, administrators, parents and students is so strong at St. George, parents tend to remain appropriately connected with their students and with the school throughout the critical middle school years. Studies show that parent involvement correlates with a child’s success in school - and the success of a middle school program.
In a phenomenon known as “top dog status,” research shows that middle school students’ academic performance is better when they attend a PK-8 school, rather than a K-12 or grade 6-8 school. Likewise, 8th graders in K-8 schools demonstrate higher academic achievement and score significantly higher than their middle school counterparts on standardized testing. (Source: Rockoff & Lockwood, Columbia University; Schwerdt & West, Harvard University)
Schools allocate the most financial resources and attention to the highest grades they serve. In many models, middle schoolers can get overlooked and students can find themselves literally “stuck in the middle.” At St. George, however, students in grades 6-8 are at the top of the mountain, and they are recognized as campus leaders who become the direct beneficiaries of program funding, new technologies, leadership opportunities, and other resources that might otherwise be prioritized for high school students.
During the early childhood and elementary years, parents make the majority of school decisions on behalf of their children. When it comes to selecting the right high school, however, we encourage our students and families to work together to discover and find the right fit. There are many excellent high school options, and our students are in high demand by many top high school programs — each with their own strengths and areas of focus. By the time your child is in eighth grade at St. George, the best “match” for high school is easy to determine because each student’s unique strengths, learning styles, and interests are better understood.
At St. George, the consistent and familial educational community that our students experience through the elementary and middle school years is ideal, and they are well prepared for the freedom of a change of venue, new friends and new challenges waiting for them in high school. Because St. George ends in eighth grade, all of our graduates leave together, offering an incredible bond of support to one another that carries on for a lifetime. As they enter ninth grade, St. George students are eager to experience new friendships and challenges that support their individual interests before college, but they are forever a part of the St. George family.