At Pelham Middle School, we have designed a developmentally appropriate program to prepare our students for the increased rigor and challenge of the high school. In order for us to prepare our students well, a great deal of time is focused on the unique needs of children between the ages of ten to fourteen years old. During early adolescence children are developmentally poised for a significant amount of intellectual development and are cognitively ready for high-level academic challenges and metacognition. However, middle school philosophy purports that during early adolescence children go through significant changes in their physical development and social behavior, as well as rapid development in their emotional intelligence – all of which have an impact upon their focus and ability to be consciously available for learning in school. While these changes and developments are completely normal and are an important part of adolescent maturity, the physical, social and emotional needs of children, if not attended to, are likely to draw a child’s focus away from school work and inhibit his or her academic performance. In order to maximize the potential for intellectual development, middle school philosophy suggests that we must also account for and support the physical, social and emotional development of children and integrate it into all aspects of our middle school program.
Pelham Middle School adheres to a middle school philosophy as opposed to a junior high philosophy. Rather than focusing on competition between learners in a teacher-centered curriculum, our middle school philosophy emphasizes mastery of content and skills while supporting students’ emotional intelligence, and positive self-concept and awareness. Flexible and varied instruction, individualized learning, and collaborative, cross-disciplinary approaches are utilized. This middle school philosophy focuses on the creation of a safe, supportive and inviting environment. Affective and cognitive development of students is equally important to intellectual development, and teachers and students share ownership of learning. Our middle school philosophy also strives to integrate the parents and Pelham community into the learning process.
One of the ways we establish a cooperative community of learners is through Pelham P.R.I.D.E. Pelham P.R.I.D.E. is a collection of positive characteristics and behaviors that will make our school an even better place for students to learn and grow into productive, happy young adults. The acronym “P.R.I.D.E.” stands for Prepared, Respectful, Involved, Determined and Excellent. When students are Prepared, Respectful, Involved and Determined in all areas of school, the results are Excellent!
The key to our academic success is a productive, interactive, cognitively vibrant, and engaging classroom. This requires careful cultivation of the interrelated areas of social, emotional, and intellectual success.
Pelham Middle school has and will continue to be an exceptional school that fosters academic success through carefully orchestrated programs that supports the social, emotional, and intellectual needs of young adolescents. As we continue to find new and innovative ways to develop our students and prepare them for the challenges of high school, we will work to use data to inform our instruction and differentiate our approach to target learning to the specific needs of individuals within each classroom. We will also continue to seek out new research-based pedagogical methods that support authentic learning, project-based assessments and metacognition. Furthermore, we will seek out new and exciting opportunities and experiences for our students within the academic program as well as through extra-curricular clubs, activities and field experiences. Most importantly, we will continue to update and enhance or program and practices to align with advancements in modern education and will always work to support the essential developmental needs of young adolescents as they progress through these middle school years.
To this end, I look forward to working closely with you and your children as we work together to continue the tradition of excellence at Pelham Middle School.
Robert J. Roelle, Ed.D