The care with which faculty construct their classes, and the extra time they spend guiding each student personally … this level of devotion has made the Middle School a very special place for our family.”
—Middle School parent
During Middle School, students grow and change almost before our eyes. As experts with this age group, we’re in tune with each developmental shift. Our direct connection to every student begins in advisory group and continues through all Middle School programs. The better we know our students, the more effectively we can support their goals and help them learn to navigate challenges along the way. We strive to partner closely with families so that we complement one another throughout these middle years. Together we ask, Are we educating not just strong scholars but also kind, healthy, happy young people? This is our kuleana, and we embrace it joyfully.
Across all three grades, the school day begins with advisory group. Here, roughly 8-10 students form a close-knit and consistent “home base” during the school year, guided by a faculty member who knows their dispositions and monitors their progress. Advisors help ensure that students have what they need to push themselves, get assistance, feel connected, and forge kind, healthy relationships. In addition to morning check-in, advisory groups also meet roughly once a week for an extended 50-minute period. During these longer sessions, advisories focus on how we express HPA’s core values and other aspects of social-emotional learning. Advisory is a place to be whole-heartedly yourself, to ask questions, work on problem-solving, and make friends along the way.
Our Middle School ‘ohana gathers frequently to share news, celebrate milestones, and consider our life as a community together, especially how we live out our core values. We talk about success and what it really looks like; how failures are essential to success. We reflect on the idea of finding your personal passions. We honor grit, tenacity, and the importance of moving out of the “comfort zone.” We reflect on giving back to others and our community through service learning. In these and many other ways, we help students begin to understand themselves as learners, humans, friends, potential leaders, and emerging citizens. Assembly also allows students the chance to be recognized for their accomplishments and to share their learning as they develop confidence in presenting to large audiences.
Technology and Digital Citizenship
Our full-time, K-8 educational technologist supports teachers and students as we continually incorporate technology into the curriculum. Middle School students participate in a “bring your own device” program to ensure a computer for every student in the classroom. HPA uses the Blackbaud learning management, which allows our teachers to create online content and enables students to share work and collaborate with each other. Ultimately, we strive to nurture tech-creative thinkers who will thrive at college and with future employment, regardless of how technology itself continues to evolve. Above all, we bring our core values into the world of social media, asking students to thoughtfully consider their online behavior and what is required to be a responsible digital citizen.
Our Middle School teachers work carefully to support each studentʻs learning. Recognizing that this is a complex subject area, we also have a full-time, K-8 learning specialist on staff to assist teachers, students, and families in understanding and implementing strategies that can help all students achieve success. Our K-8 specialist collaborates with Upper School learning specialists to provide cohesive support for HPA students.
We have a full-time school counselor who collaborates with faculty advisors and also with our physical education and health teacher. The counselor holds periodic workshops as well. Our goal is to seamlessly integrate counseling into school life so that students feel comfortable asking questions and thinking about the challenges we encounter as human beings, which may feel especially intense during middle school years. Our counselor offers drop-in support for students as needed. She is assisted by our faithful and friendly campus therapy dog, Sunny.