The Middle School is where the St. John’s ten-year experience truly comes together. The effort students have put in during the past six years culminates in four stellar middle school years, as all the skills they have mastered help them succeed at ever greater challenges. During the academic day, students venture into advanced mathematics, physical and life science theory and practice, and increasingly complex writing compositions.
St. John’s also begins Latin instruction in Form VII (5th grade). Why Latin? Scholars have promoted the importance of studying the ancient language because it improves student vocabulary, helps them understand analogies in standardized tests like the SAT, and teaches them to read texts carefully and for full comprehension. But there’s another reason that St. John’s teaches Latin, in the words of our students: it’s cool! Latin at St. John’s includes games like the Jeopardy-style Certamen, the study of life in ancient Rome including clothing and customs, and the creation of slogans and t-shirts to promote our Latin Team. Our techniques are working: St. John’s students excel at the language, and have taken first in the state of Florida at Latin Forum for five years in a row. Further, of the nineteen Form IX (7th grade) students who took the SAT for the Duke Talent Identification Program in 2015, six received state recognition for their high scores.
While we believe in emphasizing the classics, we also stay on the cutting edge with our technology. We retain a full time Director of Technology to maintain our extensive inventory of iPads, SMART Boards, and computers, as well as our internal wireless network, our online grades, and other academic resources. In 2014-2015, we added a Director of Instructional Technology to our faculty, to further enhance students’ use of technology and fully integrate it into every subject.
The Middle School campus includes a large gym, a science laboratory equipped with digital microscopes and Vernier Lab Quests and Probeware, a green space, a consecrated chapel, and room for more than 225 middle school minds to grow.
Starting in Form VII (5th grade), a full year earlier than most schools in our area, St. John’s students can participate in league athletics, reinforcing the lessons of teamwork and sportsmanship in a wider arena. St. John’s Middle School competes in sports as varied as volleyball, track, swimming, and lacrosse, and our teams have placed first in our League in boys’ basketball, girls’ soccer, baseball, and softball over the past two years, to name just a few.
Students can explore their skills and talents more fully in the Middle School, finding their inner public servant by running for Student Government, or becoming a budding Hemingway by writing for the school newspaper or literary magazine. Students can investigate the arts by performing in the annual school musical or by creating handmade pottery during art class using our onsite kiln. They can also reinforce their school-day learning during recess or after school by joining the Latin Club, Odyssey of the Mind, or Math League.
Middle School pupils are entrusted with more responsibility, as they change classes and maintain their own homework schedules. St. John’s values independence and personal responsibility, both in school work and in interactions with other students. Our Middle School students are well on their way to becoming the capable, kind, intellectually curious young people that the future requires: the best Eagles they can be.