Dear Middle School Parents,
I am thrilled to be writing you in my capacity as the new head of middle school. Part of my orientation this summer has included the opportunity to participate in a day of SMART board training with middle and lower school colleagues, and during this and in my one-one-one meetings with faculty have been impressed by these professionals’ dedication to their own self-improvement and to enhancing the learning experience for our students. An excellent middle school is one that boasts a strong curriculum that challenges and supports students and encourages them to think critically, together with a faculty committed to assisting young adolescents with the myriad challenges – social, emotional, ethical, physical, as well as intellectual – attendant to this developmental stage of their lives. Indeed, these tasks are what make working with middle level students so exciting!
In addition to my own SMART training, seven of our middle school faculty underwent a rigorous, two-day training program to becoming certified, SMART board lesson plan developers, and their newly acquired expertise will undoubtedly enhance the quality of students’ classroom experience, as well as contribute to the collective knowledge of our middle school faculty. Also this year, I look forward to re-examining best practices in middle level education in conjunction with Norfolk Collegiate’s own Characteristics of Professional Excellence,and together with the middle school faculty setting a course for ongoing professional development. One initial programmatic change will be to add another bell of advisory to afford students more structured time in a supportive environment to improve goal setting and communication skills, examine values important to them - including bolstering their capacities for empathy and compassion, and better understand the social challenges inherent to adolescence, to name a few.
Other changes include welcoming several new faculty members to our middle school team. Mr. Garrett Booker will be teaching both sixth and seventh grade social studies and serve as a tennis coach in our athletics program. Mr. Jake McDonald will teach PE and coach two-three seasons, one of which will be boys’ lacrosse. We are also excited to be adding exploratory Chinese in the seventh grade foreign language curriculum and a Chinese I course for eighth grade students, both of which will be taught by Mrs. Jane Bashara. Last but not least, Ms. Heather Garcia will join our music program as the strings instructor.
Our middle school programming continues to build on past successes. We are looking forward to having Printz Prize award winner Gene Luen Yang, author of both American Born Chinese and Level Up, on our campus to meet with our community. His book will afford middle school students and faculty myriad opportunities to interact with ideas around the School’s U.N.I.T.Y. theme,The American Quilt.
We value working closely with parents to ensure every child has a successful middle school career. Teachers are available before, during and after school for conferences with parents and students. Middle school counselor Val Ortiz is planning several parent programs to be held on weekday mornings at 8:15 a.m. The first such program is scheduled for Tuesday, September 11. On Friday, September 28, we will hold a “Parent Hangout” at 8 p.m. in the MS Explore Room while the kids are hanging out in the US. Additionally, I will be writing a once-twice monthly blog on topics related to middle level education and events in the middle school and invite you to join the conversation when you can.
I look forward to meeting many of you in the days ahead. Please know that we view our families as part of the greater, Norfolk Collegiate School family and our partnership with parents as crucial to our children’s success.
H. Charles “Chuck” McCormick, EdD.
Head of Middle School
Dr. H. Charles McCormick Jr. served as the dean of student life and department chair at Cardigan Mountain School in Canaan, N.H. prior to coming to NCS.
He holds an educational doctorate and a master's degree in developmental studies and counseling from Boston University, and a bachelor's degree in history from Colby College in Waterville, Maine. McCormick was the co-founder and director of Boston University's Athletic Enhancement Center.
Dr. McCormick previously coached football, lacrosse and collegiate Division I and III men's and women's rugby teams. He and his wife, Anne, are eager to meet families in the community. They have a son, Todd ('25), and a daughter Alice, who is four.