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  • Stephen Rubenacker

How Skill Sets in K-8 Prepare You for Adulthood



As your child enters middle school, you may be wondering what the best option is for her: a stand-alone middle school; a junior/senior high school; or a K–8 elementary school. Which, if any is best? Do you prepare them for high school by sending them to a middle school, or even a high school? Or do you keep them in an elementary setting?


Turns out, studies show that the K-8 model better supports young students, preparing them for high school, for college, and for life. Read on to find out how.

1. Academically

Studies show that 8th graders in K-–8 schools score significantly higher on standardized tests in reading, math, and science; and generally 6–8th grade students in K–8 schools earned higher grade-point averages. Middle-school students in K-8 schools also have better attendance and lower dropout rates.

2. Developmentally

According to a study published in the Journal of Early Adolescence, “Early adolescence is an important time for youth, who are undergoing a variety of biological, psychological, and social changes,” said study author Elise Cappella, associate professor of applied psychology at NYU Steinhardt and director of NYU’s Institute of Human Development and Social Change. “Students’ self-perceptions of academic competence are critical in early adolescence, as they contribute to the development of their identity and their engagement with school.” The middle-school model may not help foster a positive self-perception of academic competence, as students who attend middle schools and junior high schools have shown to have a more negative view of their reading skills and their own abilities. Studies also show a K–8 school better fosters adolescents’ needs for autonomy. “Research broadly supports the idea that K–8 is a better choice overall,” Cappella says.

3. Socially

In addition to supporting developmental needs for autonomy, K-8 schools promote feelings of connection to others by offering a sense of continuity, not only in curriculum, but in social engagement and overall community. Further, with fewer students per grade, there’s more cooperation (rather than competition) with fellow students. The K–8 model also provides opportunities to build leadership skills through the mentorship of younger students.

4. Psychologically

Students in K-8 schools psychologically benefit from the comfort and stability familiar surroundings and consistency in staffing afford. Studies show children also experience elevated confidence and higher perceptions of their reading skills than those who attend traditional middle schools or junior high schools. , likely due to the fact that K–8 teachers were found to have higher expectations of their students than those in a middle or junior high school.

5. Morally

At The Bridges Academy, character counts. One of our top priorities is to focus on who our students are going to be as whole people. We aim to produce good citizens with a strong moral compass. Our goal is to empower our students to become innovative leaders of tomorrow with character, confidence, and knowledge, as we guide them from early learning through eighth grade. According to study authors, a K–8 model is best, and no such model is better for your child than The Bridges Academy’s.

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Bridges opened in September, 2013 as a fully independent, federally recognized not-for-profit, offering Preschool through 8th grade,  an “all-through” school with no need to change schools at various grade points.

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The Bridges Academy welcomes into its full academic, business and community life persons of every race, culture, age, gender, sexual orientation, ability, economic status and faith tradition or any other classification protected under applicable law. The corporation declares itself to be an open, welcoming and affirming school. Bridges Academy does not discriminate on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, age, race, color, national or ethnic origin, disability, or any other classification protected under applicable law in administration of its admissions or educational policies, scholarship and financial-aid programs, other Bridges Academy-administered programs, or in employment. The Corporation complies with the amended Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, Title VI and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

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