Middle school is arguably the most important years in a child’s educational experience. You owe it to yourself and your child to attend the Middle School Open House on October 26. (I recommend the 9:00 am morning session when classes are in action, but there is also an evening session at 6:30.)
Are you aware of how rigorous and intellectually challenging the middle school program is at Rainbow? Rainbow is committed to developmentally appropriate education. While that means being gentle in the youngest grades in terms of rote challenge; middle school children NEED incredible challenge. Their capabilities are exploding! The whole rest of our program lays the foundation for the middle school years. Omega is the crowning glory of the Rainbow program!
While standardized test scores can’t possibly reveal the complex thinking of our middle school students and their sophistication in all the domains, they do show that Rainbow middle school students score extremely high in the “traditional” sense. Last year on the SAT 10, most of the 6th – 8th grade students literally scored “off the charts.” Their grade equivalency was “Post-High School Equivalency,” meaning they scored at the level a high school graduate would score at. For 7th graders (the largest class), their median grade equivalency in all subjects combined was 12th grade! On average, they scored in the 95% percentile!
Clearly, the vast majority of Rainbow’s middle school students are academically gifted, but it is important to note that these same students did not score in these high ranges when they were in the younger grades. In third grade they scored only slightly above average. By attending the middle school open house, you will gain some understanding of that journey, and why their achievement arcs so radically upwards in the higher grades.
At the middle school open house you will meet Rainbow alumni who are now in high school and you will be able to ask them about their transition to high school. You will find out about the advanced classes they are placed in at Carolina Day School and the various public schools they attend, and you will find out why they found themselves ahead of their peers in all the domains. Ask them: “Did you feel you were more mature than the other students?”
While our middle school maintains the same core values as the elementary school, Omega is a very different experience. Six graders write business plans and start their own socially responsible businesses. 7th and 8th graders use innovation design models from Stanford to solve the world’s energy problems. The Math and Writing programs in Omega are incredible, resulting in students who love Math and truly understand algorithms and their applications. As writers, they know how to explain, persuade, and create at levels that exceed most American adults. Their first five-plus page research paper requires proper MLA citation AND a power point presentation to their peers AND a creative interactive project to demonstrate their understanding of what they wrote about.
Most importantly, Rainbow’s middle school students are authentic, self-assured, and compassionate. They are excited for life. They are reverent and lead centerings. In fact, a large part of the secret to their academic advancement is their healthy self-identity and their development in the other domains. While most middle school students spend as much or more time worrying about their social status, Rainbow students focus on fulfillment. Finally, they do all of this while enjoying themselves, loving one another, exploring nature, and loving to learn. The result? A happy high school student who is ready to transform the world.
Renee Owen, Executive Director