While the entire school shares a cafeteria the Upper School and Middle School paths do not cross over very often because of the drastically different daily schedules. There are a few programs that do bring the Upper School students and Middle School students together; however, many of the programs only reach a select number of students.
The Senior Advisor program has existed since around 2005 when Tamara Schurdak who was the Upper Prep form dean introduced the idea.
This year, there are 12 seniors known as Senior Advisors who go down to the Middle School twice a week to meet with their assigned advisee group. They help the sixth-graders find their place in the KO community, talk about any pressing issues, enjoy snacks and play games together.
This time is very special for the seniors and sixth-graders and helps bridge the separation between the youngest class and the oldest. An idea that we at the KO News have is to expand the fantastic Senior Advisor program so that seventh and eighth-graders also have Upper Schoolers in their groups guiding them.
This year, Dean of Students William Gilyard started an initiative to teach younger students about the Upper School. Upper School students go to the Middle School to talk about what they do on campus and offer any advice about transitioning to the KO high school. They also answer any questions the Middle Schoolers have for them regarding the Upper School.
Sometimes members of the Upper School SAAC attend Middle School SAAC meetings and encourage them to get involved in Upper School sports. They inform the Middle Schoolers of sporting events such as Hockey Night.
There are also a few members of the Upper School SAAC who work on getting Upper School coaches to hold training sessions for young athletes or invite them to practice with the varsity teams.
Recently, the MS girls basketball team practiced with the US girls varsity basketball team which gave the younger athletes a chance to meet their possible future coach.
While we applaud SAAC for taking this initiative, we hope that they continue to implement their plans.
Wyverns Helping Wyverns is another program that was recently created to have the Upper Schoolers tutor the Middle Schoolers in any subject and help them get organized after school.
Some Middle Schoolers utilize this program to get ahead in their classes while others just want to get out of a quiet study hall.
The KO News thinks that a buddy system for an older student to work with a younger student during the day could be installed to help kids who need more support or just want to review material.
We also think it is important to have more free time that aligns both with the Upper and Middle School so that programs like the tutoring one can be put in place.
More similar free time would also allow students of all ages to participate in clubs because there are so many clubs that younger students could participate in such as the Green Team and Shatterproof.
Currently, it is hard to find time for Senior Advisors to visit their sixth-grade advisee groups becuase of the very different day-to-day schedules of the two grades.
These seniors miss weekly Tuesday assemblies, which is not ideal because these assemblies often have important information for the week and club announcements. This group of seniors also misses out on some assemblies when they go to the Middle School on Fridays during PLB at 9:15 a.m..
In 2016, the KO News introduced the “KO in The Middle” section of the newspaper for Middle School students to have a chance to write about what’s happening in the Middle School.
During the Middles Schoolers eighth-grade year, Mrs. Levine teaches a journalism elective for a quarter. Each Middle Schooler who wants to write for the newspaper has to take this class to learn how to interview people and write in the correct newspaper style.
Head editors of the KO News and Ms. Schieffelin, the Upper School journalism teacher, sometimes go to the class to offer advice, and they also edit the Middle School articles before they reach the print version.
The KO News is trying to bring the two schools together with this initiative, and the editorial staff hopes that these young writers will join the Upper School news staff in the future.
All of the pre-existing programs are very important for both the Upper and Middle Schools; however, there is so much more we could be doing to make the community feel united. The KO News urges the school to implement some new programs so that each student feels a great sense of community.