Thursday, November 29, 2012

Reflections: Parte Deux

We are entering a season of change. Ted, at almost eleven, is on the cusp of some pretty big stuff. Besides preparing for his bar mitzvah (March of 2015-ish) and working towards his 3rd Degree Black Belt, he will also be entering Middle School next Fall. Crazy.

Horizons is a K-8 School (love re-reading my reflections pre-Kindergarten here!) and there is a strong possibility that he will stay at Horizons for Middle School. But there are two other interesting schools close by that are intriguing to Ted, so we will check them out.

The first is Summit Middle School. This school is known in the community as "the homework school." They call themselves "a community of scholars" and have multiple levels of every core course. The five main core classes are: English, Math, Science, History and Foreign Language.

P.E. is required every other day and a study hall is highly recommended. That still leaves two periods for two electives. (MWF is Schedule A, with 2 electives while T/TH is Schedule B with the other 2. Core classes meet every day.) Electives include choir, orchestra, band, art, criminal justice (Ted wants to take this), robotics, computer programming, etc.

There is significant diversity (for Boulder!) at this school, with 42 countries represented! The kids do state-wide Spelling Bees, Geography Bees, Science Fairs, a History Day and International events that highlight the families' cultures.

They also offer intramural sports after school including Ted's favorite: track and field. All in all, Summit looks amazing. The single drawback is the increased workload. 6th grade students can expect between 1-2 hours of homework each night. That's significant for a kid like Ted, who will have Bar Mitzvah prep, TKD classes and certainly some other sports, knowing him.

So, that is Summit. We attended an Open House this morning and got to visit some classrooms and hear the principal, assistant principle, and counselor talk as well as student ambassadors. The classes were dynamic and engaging and both Ted and I agreed that the way the classrooms were run "reminds us of Horizons."

Tonight we are off to Southern Hills, which is a very large middle school, which means they have a LOT to offer. Plenty of tiered classes, plenty of sports, plenty of clubs, etc. But BIG.

Next week will be Horizons' evening program for 5th graders and the next day the kids get to shadow a middle schooler for an afternoon. Should be an interesting few weeks as we weigh and ponder each school. The truth is, all three are excellent schools. We are so lucky!

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