Middle School Academies look to continue with theme of sustainability


Joe Lister

Middle School teachers have found a way to connect all their grades on one topic, yet not have them doing the exact same things.

In 2014, the first Middle School Academy began, and the middle school academy idea has continued to grow and expand from the original sixth grade model.

For Seventh Grade Dean Mr. Leo Kindon, he had to learn how the Academy format operated from his peers before he learned how to run it. “The process consisted of me watching the teachers who were involved in the Sixth Grade Academy,” he said

The Sixth Grade Academy teachers were instrumental to the success of the seventh grade, according to Kindon.

“I got a chance to learn firsthand while I was still teaching seventh and eighth grade. The first year was a good experience,” Kindon said.

Mr. Jamie Wasson was part of the Sixth Grade Academy team the year that it kicked off, and is now the Sixth Grade Dean.

“It was kind of the launch of what we are doing now, in the Middle School and the High School,” he said.

According to Wasson, not much change has occurred since the Sixth Grade Academy first started. “I think one of the things that’s kind of stayed is this idea of the team of teachers,” he said.

Wasson said the theme of sustainability will permeate throughout the entire Middle School this year.

The eighth grade will be working with sustainability in food, the seventh grade will be talking about sustainability with recycling and the sixth grade will be working with sustainability of relationships with a documentary project.

“I think that’s what we’re seeing is different this year,” Eighth Grade Dean Mr. Rob Buscaglia said. “It’s that communication.”

Buscaglia said that he doesn’t think that Assistant Head of the Upper School for Academics Mr. Patrick Sillup’s change from leading the Middle School to the whole school will affect the Academies.

“Mr. Sillup has been working with us and kind of prepping us for taking more and more responsibility and leadership as we go on,” Buscaglia said. “So I feel like it’s just kind of been an extension of that communication that we’ve had as a whole Middle School team.”

The grade level deans, as well as being part of the Middle School Academy team, have become a part of a broader team according to Buscaglia.

“We meet with all of the Academy Leaders in grades six through twelve,” Buscaglia said. “We get to see things at our Middle School divisional level and how things operate and then we get to see the whole system and how the school operates.”

Buscaglia believes that there was a good structure to the first Academy, and thinks that the most important part of the Academy model is that the teachers are one team.