Why End at 8th Grade?
Childhood is revered.
With a clear focus on the childhood and early adolescent years, we are able to meet our students “where they are”, corralling all of our institutional expertise toward this magical growth period. Children who grow up at Green Vale experience comforting continuity with familiar teachers, families, campus facilities, and traditions, while also marking milestones that form a true, confidence-building journey. Marking their progress along Green Vale’s continuum, every child is engaged in their own learning.
A close-knit campus of condensed age range allows students to have and be role models — a formula for empathy and self-esteem that we actively cultivate through assemblies, one-to-one buddy programs, and all-school events designed to foster invaluable interactions.
Our faculty are experts at addressing students’ social, emotional, and physical needs during this formative period. The 6th through 8th Grades at Green Vale are not simply “pass-through” years between elementary and high school. They are a proud culmination wherein young adolescents become respected school leaders, not a forgotten population awaiting the end of an awkward phase. At a stage when young people are increasingly self-conscious and inclined to recede from novelty and challenge, our students get endless opportunities to pursue both new and familiar areas of interest, taking risks and shining in the process.
Through innumerable leadership positions from sports captain to editor of the literary magazine or the founder of a new extracurricular club, Green Vale students gain a level of maturity uncommon in typical middle-schools. With a cheering section of teachers who have seen them outgrow many, many shoes, our young teens feast on a breadth of intellectual, artistic, athletic, and extra-curricular offerings that reveal who they are — and what they might become. Removed from the shadow of high school, we have more space to prepare for it.
According to a massive 2016 study published in the American Educational Research Journal, sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders are bullied less and do better in school when they attend K – 8 schools than when they attend traditional 6 – 8 middle schools or 6 – 12 schools. They also tend to feel safer and more like they "belong", which researchers have attributed to their "top dog" status. The researchers found that even those who transferred to a K – 8 school after starting somewhere else had a better experience.
A Fordham Institute report recognized “clear evidence that the K-8 model has a significant positive effect on academic achievement, openness to learning, and student behavior.”*
Additionally, a two-year study by American College Testing (ACT) found that a rigorous 8th Grade curriculum has a stronger bearing on success in college than any high school academic experience.
*“Mayhem in the Middle: How Middle Schools have Failed America—and How to Make them Work”, 2006