Character Development


Sayre School values students as individuals and works to foster their understanding of themselves and their roles in the larger community. Our core values of wisdom, integrity, respect, and compassion are woven throughout the school. Our efforts to promote these core values include classes, clubs, and activities to reach all students. Topics and skills are taught and practiced on a developmentally appropriate continuum centered on these themes: student mentoring, giving back to community, understanding personal and cultural differences, awareness of self, and development of social skills.

Sayre defines its core values as:
Wisdom – knowledge of what is right combined with sound judgment
Integrity – understanding and practice of what is honest, decent, and good
Respect – holding self and others in high regard
Compassion – empathy for others combined with helpful action

The Middle School years are a time of significant emotional, intellectual, social and physical change. Since Sayre is committed to the promotion of "intellectual, emotional, physical, social and aesthetic growth," it is imperative that character development be an integral component of our Middle School curriculum.

Although character development is woven throughout every class and activity, there are a number of programs that have been established in our Middle School curriculum in an effort to promote integrity, to foster respect and compassion, and to encourage positive relationships.

Community Service

Projects are organized through affinity groups according to students’ interests. Students also participate in raising money or making other donations for the benefit of others.

Student Council

The Student Council serves the student body as a liaison to the faculty and administration. Members are expected to be students in good standing.  Elected students learn about leadership and civic action through their activities representing the student body. The council makes proposals to the faculty for their consideration.

Grade Level Meetings

Grade Level Meetings are designed to offer students a full voice in their community and a time to address issues of concern to students, faculty and the community at large.  Students establish their own meeting ground rules, and a fluid curriculum is maintained to respond to the concerns of the developmental age as well as the specific group.  The meeting groups remain flexible to allow movement from a large group to small groups and from coed to single sex.

Advisory Groups

Advisory groups provide a small "family" unit within the Middle School community.  Each group is comprised of students from all three grades and one or two faculty advisors.  A student's Advisory is designed as an advocacy group which also acts as a "home" base throughout the day.  Daily meetings are scheduled with a special thirty minute session each Wednesday.  Advisory groups participate in special programs and social activities to build and support community. All community service activities are performed through Advisory groups. The faculty advisor serves as an adult resource and advocate for those students.

Conflict Resolution

Conflict Resolution is a program available to all Sayre Middle School students who find themselves in a conflict with another member of our community.  Our program begins with the premise that conflict is a part of life and that dealing with conflict in an appropriate manner is a life skill we learn and refine.  In the presence of a faculty facilitator, Conflict Resolution sessions offer an opportunity for all parties to speak uninterrupted and to brainstorm ideas and propose solutions.  The program empowers students to design and draw up a contract of acceptable behavior.  A follow-up meeting is held to determine progress.

Community Matters

These life skills classes are taught in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. Topics include organizational skills, coping skills/stress management, social skills, puberty/sexuality issues, understanding and dealing with bullying/harassing behaviors. When called for, some classes are gender specific. Eighth grade students benefit from the intensive FCD (Freedom from Chemical Dependency) drug and alcohol education program.

Kids-to-Kids

A program designed to foster greater recognition and appreciation of human diversity, Sayre's Kids-to-Kids helps prepare our students for life in a global environment and instills a positive sense of one's own worth while recognizing the value of peers. Trained Upper School students lead and mentor Middle School students. Kids-to-Kids sessions address issues of self-esteem, sources of conflict, and techniques of conflict resolution.  By helping students build bonds of awareness, respect and civility, the school actively seeks to promote a school climate of understanding and acceptance.

Class Trips

6th Grade Class Trip to Life Adventure Center

Every year, the members of the faculty look for special and stimulating opportunities to enhance our curriculum and to offer students additional avenues to see the world around them.  Life Adventure Center, located in nearby Versailles, is a new destination for us for the sixth grade trip, and we were thrilled to discover the marvelous facilities and natural resources of this local educational center, whose mission is the following:  "Life Adventure Center of the Bluegrass engages, educates, and empowers our community to build respect, responsibility, and self-esteem through teamwork, communication, and environmental stewardship using hands-on learning in a natural setting."

7th Grade Class Explores Kentucky

The Explore Kentucky camping adventure has become an institution in the Middle School. In the last days of September, 7th graders pitch tents in a selected State or National Park where they live and breathe the great Kentucky outdoors for two nights and three days.  This year we will revisit the scenic and spectacular Cumberland Gap National Park, where Kentucky meets Tennessee and Virginia.

Our focus at the park is three-fold: to investigate the history and nature of the area; to provide students with an outdoor education and the joys and challenges that come when we venture out of our element; and to further develop team spirit and unity amongst members of the 7th grade class. Activities include flora and fauna identification orchestrated by the park Naturalist, a two hour guided tour of some lesser known caves, a challenging four mile hike, and two evenings of Appalachian music performed around the campfire. Meals cooked from scratch are delicious and filling, and student teams participate in their preparation and presentation.

8th Grade Class Trip to Chicago

The Chicago trip has long been considered one of the most enjoyable bonding and learning times for the 8th grade. This venture into the "Windy City" is a perfect occasion for our 8th graders to broaden their horizons, to learn about themselves, and to view first hand a number of the American landmarks, the scientific feats, and the works of art they have studied in the classroom. Lodging in a downtown hotel, students and faculty chaperones spend two very full days touring the city's museums and many sites, attending professional theater productions, and eating a range of delicious food. Students traditionally visit the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Science and Technology, the Field Museum, the Shedd Aquarium and Oceanarium, as well as attend a rocking performance of the Blue Man Group. Sayre's trip to Chicago has provided a host of cherished memories for our 8th grade students and our faculty.

Clubs

The Middle School offers several programs and/or committees for students to become involved in:

Student Council         
Duke T.I.P 
Dance Committee        
Quick Recall
Chess Club                   Band
Chorus                  Cheerleading
Middle Mart                  M & M's Cultural Diversity Club
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