The Evolution of Avenues - What has changed?
Avenues The World School opened its doors in 2012 in Chelsea New York and has been growing ever since. Every year classes are added, class rooms change and new students join the Avenues community. But does Avenues’ age have anything to do with the changes in the school?
Monica Ramos, a Middle-Grade Dean for grades 6 through 9, has been a teacher and faculty member since the first year of Avenues. She has also worked all over the building in the Lower, Middle & Upper Divisions. She stated, “The biggest changes we have gone through is having more than one location; we used to be all in one building. We also started as just ELC through 9th grade, so now we’re a full school. We’ve also now had three graduating years of 12th grade. We have campuses opening worldwide, which is what we initially envisioned.” Ms. Ramos went on to talk about the Deans: “The Deans program is something that’s new, that started about three years ago. Your Dean is a model for you, someone to look up to, and the person that’s following you for four years (sixth grade through ninth grade). And there’s also a Dean for Upper Grade students in tenth through twelfth grade, to help get you through the college process.” This then is also the person who can help you get through Middle and Upper School. She goes on to say, “There is more alinement with the divisions. The Upper Division used to be more separate, now it’s just one. But I think that is a good thing because you start to build a better community, because for example, some teachers teach sixth grade but also ninth grade.”
Edith Sløk, a current seventh grader who has been here since 2012 (meaning she started Avenues in first grade), thought that Avenues’ middle school teachers and faculty members got much better at talking with the students. “I have noticed that teachers are trying to be more open to students and are coming to them and endorsing kids and saying ‘yeah you should come to me, we can work out when to can meet,’ which I think is excellent and for students who need one-on-one time.” She added that it could be difficult transitioning from Lower School to Middle School, so having an opportunity to talk with teachers one on one can be useful. Sløk also mentioned that there are a lot of minor changes, such as with the food. “Snacks have gotten better, which in my opinion is for the better, especially for the students.”
Ana Poopat, a 7th grader who came to Avenues in 2017, has found that the most significant changes she has noticed so far are with scheduling. “I think that the schedule has changed a lot. We used to get out at 3:20, and now we get out at 3:50. It’s a pretty big deal.” Ana was referring to the change that was made between the sixth and the seventh year of Avenues, when school for the Middle Grades was extended by half an hour. This change was made to make more time for Music and Electives. Poopat said that this is probably the most significant change that affects the students since she has been here.
So in conclusion, because of Avenue’s age, lots of changes are being made, and there is most likely more to come. However, these changes are everything but easy to make, and the process is long, but necessary to make sure that we positively influence our school. When creating the best possible environment, it is necessary to incorporate student and teacher feedback, which is working well at Avenues.
How to Survive Middle School: A Guide From a Middle School Survivor
Coming from a soon to be high school freshman
By: Sofia Gonzalez
Whether you’re a fifth, sixth, or seventh grader, and waiting to enter the exciting world of Junior High or just finding yourself in it, let me give you some tips on how to handle different situations you’ll come across and tricks to maybe avoid them all in all.
When I was in sixth grade, two years ago, I remember watching the ninth graders, and thinking to myself: Middle School’s going to be so easy, it’s only four years. It’s only four years, but within the time span, you learn more subjects than you’re learning now, and you will learn many lessons about life. I know that sounds cheesy or dramatic; but it’s true. I took the chance to interview a current eighth grader, my fellow peer, Lucia Cutler (13 years old), to see what she had to say about it.
Q: What was your first impression of middle school?
A: I came into Middle School in fifth grade (for the Class of 2023, Middle School started in fifth grade), so I was a little intimidated, because at the time all the current middle schoolers seemed huge. But at the same time I was also excited, because I knew that soon nothing would seem as scary, because I would be a middle schooler too.
Q: What lessons have you learned through our middle school?
A: That really nothing is as stressful as it seems. It only is stressful because you make it up in your head. I've also learned that it is important for you to have great and supportive friends to fall back on if you need help.
Q: Do you think you’ve changed over these four years of middle school?
A: Well, I've definitely grown, but besides physically, I think that I have learned how to control any stress that I have. When I was in fifth grade, I was so obsessed with the idea and concept of getting a good grade, but now I know that it is more about understanding the content.
Q: Were you nervous coming into the new experience? Why?
A: I came to Avenues in second grade. This was the first year of Avenues. Since we were all new, we all had the butterflies in our stomachs and the jitters. Going into middle school was a whole different experience. One, I knew the people in my grade and two, the graduation from fourth grade made me so much more excited.
Q: Middle school versus High school? What comes to mind when you think of that comparison?
A: I think that middle school has prepared me for high school because I am not nervous. I think that subconsciously I know that the transition into high school is going to be similar to middle school.
Q: What is some advice you’d want to give to future middle schoolers?
A: That nervous stress is only in your imagination, and if you think about you problem, it isn't significant. Just take a deep breath, because if you persevere, you can tackle it.
Whether you have more questions, or your mind is at ease, enjoy your middle school years, because many things will be learned, and many memories will be made. In my opinion, the Middle school years are great years where you get to find yourself in all the social drama, find out who you want to be in school, and find out who you want to hang out with. Remember, always have an open mind about new choices, and don’t be afraid to try new things. Also, remember there’s a difference between wanting to do something, and peer pressure; be you, not cool! That may sound corny, but it’s true. Other than that, have fun, be yourself, and accomplish your dream Middle School experience.