Public calling to students and parents to choose excellence in middle school
Thursday, December 3, 2020, 6:00-7:00 p.m.
True to its name, middle school is the transition stage between primary and high school. In primary school, the objective is clear – to learn the fundamentals. The goal in high school is also known to all – specializing to prepare for the matriculation examinations. But, what is the goal of middle school? The answer is unclear and consequently, its place is low on the list of priorities. As a result, classrooms are crowded, the curriculum is packed, children get lost, and the gaps widen.
On the other hand, middle school children are at an age where they are forming their identity and build abilities for the future. It is both a very private and a very social age where they need the guiding hand of a responsible adult. However, many parents leave the picture. In primary school they are there for homework and parent-teacher meetings. In high school they will resume the push to succeed and the private tutoring. But in middle school, they shift into wait mode.
There are parents and students who are aware of the situation. They do not accept the fate of gaps and search for a prestigious alternative. They find it in special schools with admission requirements and they find it within regular schools in special classes and dedicated study tracks. In recent years, such excellence frameworks have begun to sprout, mainly in the mathematics and sciences subject areas. However, these are available to only about 15% of students
Questions for deliberation
- How can we spark a momentum for students and parents to choose the excellence class option in middle school? What should be the call to action that will propel them?
- Since there is more than one type of an excellence class, each with various titles and programs, how should we clarify for students and parents the choice at hand?
- Would it be possible and advisable to articulate specific content that is included in an excellence class (abstract mathematics for university, or applied mathematics for high-tech) or is preferable to dim the difference under the halo of a prestigious track?
- How does the COVID-19 crisis affect the choice for excellence? What are the challenges and opportunities?
Background material for the discussion