Jen Schuckman, Head of Middle School, Speaks at 2022 Open House

On Saturday, October 8, MICDS welcomed prospective families to campus for our annual Open House. Head of Middle School Jen Schuckman took a few moments to welcome guests and explain why she loves our Middle School so much.

Good morning and welcome! I am Jennifer Schuckman, Head of Middle School, and it is such a delight to have you with us on this beautiful, crisp fall day. Upon your arrival, I am hoping you noticed the subtle autumnal glow that is emerging across our campus. I love all the seasons at MICDS, but I especially love to watch our campus burst with color as fall descends upon our beloved 100 acres.

And as you hear that number—100 acres—you might be thinking, “Wow, that is impossibly big.” And as you sit in this expansive auditorium, you might be wondering, “How will I ever be able to find my own story here at MICDS as one of so many?”

So I’d like you to think about the story of Goldilocks for a moment. This simple children’s story has evolved into various applied principles from education to economic modeling to developmental psychology to even astrobiology where the Goldilocks Zone is applied to identify circumstellar conditions that make a planet habitable. In all of these contexts, Goldilocks simply translates into “just right” and that is exactly how I want you all to imagine your experience at MICDS.

Yes, we are big, and yes, we are small. Yes, we occupy a wide expanse of land, and yes, our Middle School is tucked away in our nurturing south corner of campus that we call home. Yes, we have an amazingly global and diverse community that offers us the opportunity to connect and learn with each other, and yes, your best friend is somewhere here on campus waiting for you. You get to choose your adventure. You get to expand and contract your Middle School Goldilocks Zone to fit you.

And our Middle School is truly in the middle—in the middle of MICDS, in the middle of growing up, and in the middle of the chaos and fun. We have teachers who love their content areas and also understand the developmental complexities of being a preadolescent. We have clubs and activities that ignite passions and academic structures that intentionally fill a Middle Schooler’s academic toolkit.

And what does this look like, exactly? This looks like our fifth graders going on a scavenger hunt to learn their way to new spaces on campus. This looks like our sixth graders going to Laumeier Sculpture Park to observe the intersection of math and art. This looks like our seventh graders going to overnight camp to build their new class community and having planning and prep sessions every Monday to get their week organized.

And this looks like our eighth graders having a Just Because Day with inflatables, yard games, and an ice cream truck visit to celebrate their final year of middle school in the same week that they attended the Upper School boat races so they could catch a first glimpse of what is on the horizon for them.

We are inconspicuously building capacity for the Upper School years while holding up guardrails around childhood and letting our kids discover who they are and who they want to be. That’s what it means to be “just right” and that is the elegance of our spectacular JK-12 school.

So just as certain planets have their Goldilocks Zone, you will find your perfect conditions here in our Middle School to not only give you “just right,” but a truly perfect adventure that is all yours!