Malvern prepares Eighth Grade Academy

Joe Lister

Not many teachers know what is going to happen, but they do have expectations.

After two years of the Sixth and Seventh Grade Academy experiments, a new Eighth Grade Academy comes into play.

Eighth Grade Math teacher Mr. Gary Duda doesn’t exactly know what the Eighth Grade Academy will be like, but they will similar to the previous Sixth and Seventh Grade Academies.

“We’re not sure what [being an academy] means yet… I’m curious myself,” Duda said. “As a group, we haven’t done much at all.”

Duda thinks that the Eighth Grade teachers will learn more after Spring Break. “I know that there’s going to be some sort of interdisciplinary project,” he said.

“I think that part of the experience is going to be a trip,” said Duda. “It might be a trip abroad, I know… possibly Spain.”

As for his own subject fitting into the Academy, Duda said that he could see math fitting into a finance theme. “There’s so many things that math can help out [in projects.]”

Based off of the reactions of other students, Duda thinks that the new style of teaching in the Middle School has been as success.

“But, I’m not sure how it would translate to the eighth grade experience,” he said.

Mr. Patrick Sillup, Head of the Middle School, thinks that “the future is bright” for the Eighth Grade Academy.

Sillup said that consumption and economy will drive the eighth grade experience. “You can look at that from an international, domestic, and a local lens,” he said.

The Eighth Grade Parent-Teacher conferences will hopefully be led by the students, Sillup said.

“I think there would be something quite powerful about an Eighth Grader leading their parents through their conference,” he said.

There is also a plan for a period called “feedback block,” he said. “[It would be] kind of like a one-on-one [with a teacher.]”

Sillup also thinks that at the end of the Eighth Grade year, students could present a portfolio of their time in the Middle School.

“We will constantly look at what we do and try to improve it,” he said.