The Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School Boarding Program is designed with the unique nature of the young adolescent girl in mind. At all times there is an emphasis on building and fostering strong and supportive relationships with and amongst the students; be this through the individual wake-ups and friendly smiles that start each boarding student’s day, through the hands-on help and support during study hall, or during the collaborative work to decide on and plan the hall’s weekend activity. A close knit community quickly develops in an atmosphere of friendly, clear and consistent direction coupled with numerous opportunities for students to find their voice and then learn how to use it.
The policies that guide this boarding program present a framework that allows adults and students to work together to foster a healthy, safe and happy environment. Numerous check-ins during the course of the week encourage student accountability while ensuring that the resident faculty not only know where students are, but offer an additional opportunity to check in and see how they are doing. This is particularly beneficial during the advent of any student’s boarding experience when homesickness arises – it allows for regular contact with a friendly face and an opportunity for resident faculty to intervene and encourage student connection. With residents always present and available, students quickly become accustomed to dropping by their apartment to hang out and chat, bake cookies or play with pets.
Weaving together support for the academic challenges and adventures of a school with the comfort and encouragement of a home-like environment is vitally important to all who live and work with our Middle School boarding students. Our resident faculty are fully committed to working with this particular age group and are well-versed in the unique nature of a Middle School Boarding Program. They enjoy wearing the many hats necessary to guide our students through their day – from waking them up in the morning and encouraging them to tidy their rooms, to mediating roommate disagreements, to teaching them good organization and study habits. During evening study hall, all students meet together in a classroom with the resident on duty. This provides for a structured environment in which students can do their homework as well as have the support and help from an adult. As the students develop solid and consistent study habits, reflected in their grades and attitude in study hall, they are allowed to study independently in their rooms with oversight from Resident Assistants, our well trained and responsible student leaders.
Growth is the hallmark of the young adolescent as she journeys through her middle school years. From the dorm room to the hallway and beyond, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School Boarding Program creates opportunities for students to grow as individuals by learning to use their strengths to grow academically, their voice to grow personally and by being nourished by caring adults and a supportive community to build strong and lasting relationships. The young girls that arrive in the fall, often nervous, excited and unsure of what to expect, move up from the eighth grade as confident, articulate and taller young women, ready and prepared to embrace all that the high school years may have to offer.