Middle School Wellness
Based on the five TAS values of honesty, respect, responsibility, kindness, and courage, it combines the daily efforts of students and teachers in an ongoing promotion of the need to be caring and moral individuals who do the right thing even “when nobody’s looking.” Our efforts to teach, model, and give opportunities to practice good character are supported by daily home room, student character councils, weekly class lessons, camp, community service, and summer reading. Walk the hallways of our middle school and you will see our walls covered with frequent visual reminders our five values promoting positive habits of mind, habits of heart and habits of good health.
Every morning the students meet with not one but two homeroom teachers, to ensure their day gets off to a great start. The focus is on positive team building and promoting successful individuals – all helping each other to make the best of each day. The daily bulletin is discussed including a daily inspirational quote, assessment reminders are given, personal news is celebrated, jokes are told, and inspiring and discussion-provoking videos are shared.
Student Character Councils
Several times per month meetings are held with the Student Character Council for each grade level. These councils are comprised of approximately 20 students, two from each homeroom and are sponsored by faculty. Their goal is to promote the character development of their class as a group and as individuals. The students discuss any character issues and initiate activities based upon the current needs and interests of their class. Recently the Grade 8 council presented a Dance for Kindness to encourage increased acts of kindness throughout each school day.
Weekly Class Lessons
Every Wednesday morning in homeroom the students are engaged in an explicit character education lesson that involves an opportunity to self-reflect and take up a challenge to improve. Topics are based upon the five TAS values and the current needs of each grade level. Often the lesson will continue to be discussed through to the end of the week, goals are set and evaluated, and classrooms display visual examples of the topics they have been exploring.
All students and faculty in the middle school attend one week of camp in September. We travel away from Taipei for a week of experiential learning that includes implicit and explicit character education. It is action packed, loads of fun, and gives the students and faculty endless opportunities to put the TAS values into action.
Giving back is a critical action and belief that all students experience each year they are in our middle school. The expectations increase from year to year with the Grade 8 students participating in an independent project of their choice. Our annual food drive is completed by each homeroom over the Lunar New Year producing a much needed gift for a family in need.
Even when the year is complete and the students and faculty are heading away for a long, hot summer vacation, the character learning continues. Each summer all students and faculty read a novel of character that is chosen because it shares valuable moral lessons. In recent years we have read The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford, Ungifted by Gordon Korman, and Wonder by R. J. Palacio. Upon returning to school the novel is used as a common thread to commence the year of continued character development.