Alumni Night: Talking about the Transition to Middle School

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Dear Families:

On Wednesday evening, we were part of something special. Alumni Night is a BNS event for fifth graders and their families to listen to BNS graduates who visit us to share their experiences with the middle school transition. 

Given that this transition was especially peculiar over the last two school years, we did something slightly different and invited eighth graders, rather than our typical group of seventh graders. We made that choice because current seventh graders may have only been in their physical building locations for the month of September and October, in some cases. The eighth graders are our only current middle school group who had a typical sixth grade experience. However, this group of children are also a special graduating class for another reason. They were the first group admitted through the no screens, District 15 admissions lottery process, put in place three years ago to better integrate the middle schools in this district.

Sometimes, past panels slipped into school comparison, with shares about how much homework schools have, special programs that made one school more marketable than another, and building resources that drew crowds of families to open houses that followed. This year though, with carefully designed questions for the panel focused on reflections on making the transition from BNS to various different schools, the stand out moments were really about how children felt prepared to move into a new school space. 

We heard about our alum who have started a GSA in a school that didn’t have one before, children who are both an anchor and an outreach point for friends who might have a hard time, children who feel they know how to make friends and how to choose friends that are a good match, and how there is value in attending school with peers who are like you and peers who are not, learning and growing together. They talked about freedoms, responsibilities, and really just growing up.

They made us so proud. To quote a fifth grade parent who shared her reflections later that evening, “Basically, I left feeling certain wherever my daughter winds up, she will be fine and find her friends.  Wanted to share as I do think choice – especially lottery choice – feels intense and hearing stories from 8th grade BNS grads who did not get one of their choices but love their school and found their friends and passions was an incredible comfort!”

Alumni night is a tradition we will hold onto moving into the future. We’ve even had a request now to hear back from some of our high school and career aged grads, for life after elementary and middle school. What an exciting idea! 

One day, your children too will be our alum, we hope. We can’t wait to hear what they will come back and share with us.

Until next time,

D&M 

Announcements:

  • Tuesday, Nov. 2: Election Day, All Students are Remote.  Teachers will communicate their asynchronous learning plans for the day.  There will be no live instruction.
  • We have plenty of DOE iPads that can be matched with children for your use at home for the school year.  If you would like one, please email Diane and let her know whether you would like to pick it up or if we should put it in your child’s backpack. 
  • Thursday, Nov 4: Half Day for Parent-Teacher Conferences.  BNS will provide childcare ONLY for families who have no other alternative. Sign up here.

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