Essential Element 1 – Philosophy and Mission


A philosophy and mission that reflect the intellectual and developmental needs and characteristics of young adolescents (youth 10-14 years of age).


Every young adolescent deserves a school that values academic achievement and personal development and provides a supportive environment…..


The middle-level educational program has a purpose beyond linking the elementary grades and the high school.  Its basic aims are to educate and nurture.  It has a culture of collective and shared responsibility.  To be successful, it must attend to both the intellectual development and the personal needs of young adolescents.  The philosophy and mission of a standards-focused middle-level school or program must reflect a set of shared beliefs.


The school and staff within the school must commit to:


1.1       Developing the whole child, intellectually and academically, personally and socially, physically, emotionally, and ethically.

1.2       Working together to ensure that all students achieve at high levels and, with appropriate guidance and structure, develop independence and responsibility.

1.3       Accepting – individually and collectively – responsibility for the educational and personal development of each and every student.

1.4       Ensuring for each student a safe, inviting, trusting, and mutually-respectful learning environment that offers both physical and psychological safety.

1.5       Connecting each young adolescent in positive ways with the school and with caring adults within the school.

1.6       Providing each student with a variety of learning experiences that are academically challenging, developmentally appropriate, and personally relevant in order for each of them to make informed educational and personal decisions.

1.7       Providing a successful transition from the elementary grades to the middle grades to the high school grades and from childhood to adolescence.

1.8       Establishing partnerships with the home and the community.




Resources and Best Practices for Essential Element 1

Making Positive Connections with Postcards