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Why choose a PK – 8 school model?

August 29, 2019
By The Rev. Dr. James Hamner, IV '70

In recent years, a considerable amount of research and attention has focused on comparing the PK-8 school model with the elementary, then middle school format.  What has emerged is evidence that the PK-8 model offers unique strengths for students during this period of considerable cognitive, physical, and social-emotional growth.  At St. Luke’s Episcopal School (SLES), creating a nurturing environment facilitates the ability to provide a challenging, rigorous education. St. Luke’s prepares students with a solid foundation of learning skills and a strong knowledge base, ensuring a smooth and successful transition to high school. Our model also permits us to offer leadership opportunities to our Middle School students at a time when they are naturally developing these skills and need the exposure, encouragement, and responsibility that come with being the oldest students in a school.  At SLES Middle School is not in the middle. Our sixth, seventh and eighth graders assume authentic leadership roles, which results in greater levels of confidence and self-esteem as they progress toward high school.  As an Episcopal school, we value a truly holistic vision of educating the mind, body, and spirit, so developing leadership skills is an intrinsic part of our mission.

At St. Luke’s, everybody knows your name. There is a sense of belonging that deepens as a child grows from pre-kindergarten to eighth grade, both for the child and for the family. Parents at a PK – 8th grade school are more inclined to stay connected and involved beyond the elementary school years, a factor which correlates highly with student success. The school becomes a virtual neighborhood in which families raise their children together, creating enduring bonds with one another and with the faculty and administration.  In a culture which often diminishes the joy and wonder of childhood in a rushed acceleration to premature adulthood, PK-8 schools provide a measured and secure place to navigate the challenges of adolescence and emerging adulthood.

 Students and their parents have the unique benefit of choosing the right high school at the right time: when students and their families more deeply understand the student’s strengths, interests, affinities, passions and challenges. Throughout the eighth grade year, we communicate with students and their parents to help determine the best high school options for every student.  One of the most gratifying experiences is to hear from our alumni as to how well they were prepared to flourish academically, socially, and emotionally, in high school and beyond.

We invite you to join us on Wednesday, October 16 for our Admission Preview starting with registration at 8:45 a.m.  Parents will have the opportunity to hear from school administrators and tour our hilltop campus. If you are not able to join us on October 16th please contact Margaret Ann Casseb, Director of Admission, at macasseb@sles-sa.orgs  or call 210.826.0664 ext.239 to schedule an individual tour.

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