From the Director
Erin Nowak, Middle School Director
The middle school years are some of the most formative and dynamic in a child’s life. Students dramatically change—physically, socially, and intellectually—all within a short period of time. An exceptional middle school program supports students in all of these facets, and springs from an understanding that all are inextricably connected.
For middle school students, identity is a fundamental concern. They are seeking to understand who they are, who they can become, and how to make sense of the world. Social-emotional learning is central to the Oakwood middle school program. We nurture a student’s ability to reflect on their life and their community, and we guide them to develop cultural competencies and habits of mind that will lead to thoughtful engagement with the community and life-long learning.
In the classroom, trusting teacher-student relationships are at the heart of learning. Teachers know their students and provide an environment in which young people feel comfortable asking questions, taking risks, and making mistakes—all essential components of the most powerful learning experiences. Students are encouraged to discover connections within and across disciplines as a means to think critically, solve problems, create, innovate, and find meaning in the world around them.
Oakwood students deeply engage in a relevant and challenging curriculum, and explore their creativity in a wide array of visual and performing arts. Through our advisory, physical education, and wellness programs, they further develop skills to understand their changing selves. These invaluable experiences frame a child’s understanding of the world and their place in it. In all of these ways, Oakwood creates an environment where young people can be themselves and grow.