An Independent School • Grades 5-12

by Rob Blackwell, Middle School assistant director

There is a sound – a harmonic excellence – of students finding joy in their learning, working with teachers who care deeply about them. In order to achieve that harmony, in order for classrooms to be dynamic and learning meaningful, trust and respect have to be present.

In my first five months as Lakeside’s Middle School assistant director, I’ve admired how our students and teachers take trust and respect for others to heart and build a community that is in harmony. From the art studios to the theater stage, from classroom discussions to co-curricular activities, Lakeside Middle School students are learning to work harmoniously with one another and with their teachers. Part of the fabric of the culture is an understanding that we are better when we work together as a community.

If you attended any of our musical programs this fall, you saw literal harmony at work. Our band, orchestra, and choir students delivered outstanding melodic performances, matched by the talent shown in drama performances. Getting to that point – moments that students will remember for years in the future – was made possible by these extraordinarily talented students working with a community of educators striving to meet the needs of every student, across every aspect of school life, daily.

There is tremendous joy that comes from seeing our students engaged, nurtured, and loved by outstanding teachers in all the spaces of the Middle School. Good days add up! As we reach the end of first semester, listen closely when you talk to your middle schooler – you might hear a sentiment or two relating to the power of students working in harmony, and feeling trusted, respected, and connected at school.

Notable January dates and events

Please see the full calendar for information about arts and PGA events, as well as the athletics calendar.

  • Classes resume Monday, Jan. 6.
  • The fall semester ends on Jan. 17; comments and markers for growth (and grades for 7th and 8th graders) will be posted by noon on Jan. 31.
  • Lakeside is closed Monday, Jan. 20 and Tuesday, Jan. 21 in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
  • This month’s Middle School Q&As with administrators takes place Monday, Jan. 27 at 9 a.m.
  • CTP V testing for 8th graders takes place Jan. 29 and 30. Over the course of two days, 8th-grade students will take the Comprehensive Testing Program (CTP V) standardized test, developed by the Educational Records Bureau. While no special preparations are necessary, parents and guardians can support their students in the following ways.
  1. Help them get a good night's sleep and a wholesome breakfast on test days.
  2. Remind them to bring two pencils, and a book to read if they finish sections early.
  3. Remind them to bring a calculator on the second day of testing (for the second portion of the mathematics test).
  • Finally, Middle School families may be interested in seeing Upper School students in the musical "Mamma Mia." The free show runs Wednesday, Jan. 29 — Saturday, Feb. 1, starting at 7 p.m. in St. Nicholas Hall on the Upper School campus. From 6-7 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday before the show, you can see work from Upper School visual arts students in the Midwinter Arts Show. Learn more about these in other arts events in Andrew Krus's article.

Robert Blackwell is Lakeside's Middle School assistant director. You can reach him at 206-440-2721 and