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Middle School Observations

February 25, 2010

middleschoolThis past Tuesday evening my wife, twin daughters, and I loaded into the family minivan (ok, so I’m one of those guys) to attend a middle school open house for upcoming 6th graders and their parents. Yes, next year our girls will be entering 6th grade and the middle school experience. [pausing to reflect on that sentence] I was still in denial as we pulled into the parking lot. My denial, however, was quickly overpowered by the reality of it all as we walked through the door and into the building’s central commons area. Once inside we were immediately greeted by a thunderous human corridor of middle school cheerleaders. They were cheering our entrance. How cool is that! Beyond that “hall of school spirit” were the other open house attendees–whom I am sure experienced a similar welcome–waiting for the event to begin. That’s when it hit me, and I gave in to the fact that soon we will not be in Kansas anymore.

The open house was a great experience, and I left with some valuable information and insights. I would like to highlight, however, three things that most prominently stood out for me. So, my top three “take aways” were:

  1. The open house was engaging. — We did more than sit and listen. We participated.
  2. An understanding of information literacy was present. — This is particularly important in today’s digital, information-soaked age.
  3. The media specialist (a.k.a. librarian) was golden! — What can I say? I am a librarian, and I was in my wheelhouse during this part of the evening.

For now I wish to simply introduce these observations. I plan to share further thoughts about them in three subsequent posts because each one deserves its own space. Suffice it to say for now that these middle school observations caused me to draw correlations and reflect on my daily work at a college campus and on my profession as a whole. Watch for more to come.

So to wrap-up the story of our middle school open house experience…

As we climbed back into the minivan and pulled away, the girls were talking a mile a minute, mama was intelligently dissecting the evening’s events, and daddy was repeating over and over in his head, “Sixth grade? Really? When did that happen?” Seriously though, I wasn’t lying when I said it was a great experience. There surely will be challenges ahead, but seeing how the faculty and staff at that middle school were intentionally engaging the children, there is also real promise and the curious excitement of a new adventure. Shoot, they had me ready to sign up for middle school!

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