The emerging teenager is searching for personal identity, social connections, and intellectual challenge. Birchwood School of Hawken’s character and academic program at this level helps young adults discover their self-worth, understand how to have healthy relationships with others, and provide academic opportunities that stretch their potential to its highest level. Since 80 percent of adult habits are shaped by the age of 15, the middle school years provide great opportunity to help students establish habits that will positively affect their future into adulthood.
To ensure student success, we have created the Ben Franklin Initiative. This program is an extension of our eighth grade character development program. It is an opportunity for eighth grade students to learn skills that promote independence, goal-setting, self-reflection, responsibility, collaboration, and planning. The initiative speaks to the best intentions of young teens and inspires them to fulfill their potential. It has three objectives which help young teens:
Assume responsibility for their achievements and for the person they hope to become.
Become aware of healthy role models and how to learn from them.
Learn the creative problem-solving process (similar to Maslow’s self-actualization process) whereby they identify opportunities and challenges in their lives, collect data to make informed choices, and develop strategies for achieving their goals.
Central to this journey is knowing how to respond to setbacks, failures, and disappointments through reflection, study, and rededication.
“Teachers set high academic standards and provide the nurturing environment to achieve them … they are true partners … who helped us raise wonderful civic-minded, outstanding citizens.”