An independent day school educating students PreK-Grade 12
Meet Dr. Josh Deitch, Head of Middle School
I am very happy to write to you as the Head of Middle School at King School. Every day, I watch students participate in discourse, dialogue, collaboration, and experience their willingness to take risks. Our reflective and thoughtful educators are passionate about ensuring that every member of their community is seen and known. I could not be happier to work at a place where everyone feels seen and known.
Over the course of my career, I have sought to build communities and cultures deeply devoted to the value and power of every individual student. Middle School students go through more change during their young adolescence than at almost any time in their lives. They require a unique blend of personal relationships, caring support, authentic academic challenge, independence, and process orientation. I work with dedicated teachers in the Middle School, who are clearly invested in helping our children develop both as scholars and as citizens of the world.
I actively partner with students, families, staffulty, and leadership to continue to build a student-centered and engaging middle school experience that always reflect the needs and passions of every King student.
All the best,
Dr. Josh Deitch
Head of Middle School
“King School guides every student in the discovery of who they are and how they learn. Students explore a wide variety of fields and topics deeply and intentionally. They seek to understand the ways that strong communities are built upon differences both in experience and perspective. Only then can students begin to see learning as a way to understand their community, their place in the world, and the possibilities they possess to drive positive change.”
What do you feel distinguishes King from other schools?
King’s recognition that academic excellence does not come at the expense of personal development feels important. The fact that students are encouraged to move beyond their comfort zones, to never define themselves by one metric -- good at math, artistic, athletic, etc. -- and that they are instead seen as more than their individual parts is incredibly meaningful. While other schools may help students develop into strong students, King does so while also ensuring that they become good people.
How does King challenge and inspire students?
King’s educational philosophy recognizes that there is as much -- if not more -- value in the process of learning than in the product. While our results are strong and our students achieve excellence, we recognize that learning is not simply about the accumulation of knowledge. The most important moments in a child’s journey are not always the moments when they get the answer right, but instead are those when they have learned to ask “why,” “why not,” and perhaps most importantly, “where is my responsibility in making change.” In order to do that, we challenge students to go beyond the basic facts and to express their own well-formed and fully-researched opinions in increasingly complex ways.
What are the benefits of King’s Middle School program?
Because we are so devoted to our students as individuals and we recognize the importance of providing different paths to excellence, it is essential that our students understand that their voices are valuable and have power. Community is not simply something adults talk about and define from on high. Instead, a strong community like King’s Middle School builds as a culmination of every interaction, action, and decision, each of which is built around our virtues of integrity, kindness, perseverance, and respect. When we look at our community from that lens, every member of our school has power -- the power to change someone’s day, to impact the foundations of the school environment, to do something that’s never been done before. During a time in life where children don’t feel seen, heard, or recognized for who they are, we create a program built around a plethora of learning experiences designed to help our students find their voice.
How do we prepare Grade 8 students for Upper School?
New this year, the Grade 8 Team developed the Leadership Lab workshop that meets once a rotation designed to provide students with an established time to discuss leadership and the various ways that manifests itself both in our community and our society as a whole. Too often we find that we expect our Grade 8 students to act as leaders in the Middle School simply because they are the oldest. While that is the case, it should also be the case that we guide their development in this area. The result is a workshop series, which asks students to investigate a variety of perspectives on, and ways that, leadership manifests itself in individuals and communities. Because leadership is also a personal quality that reveals itself differently in every individual, these investigations include an exploration of self in relation to the world.
How would you describe the Middle School experience at King?
In King Middle School, students start to understand how they learn so they see learning as a tool to understand the world. This enables them to understand where they fit in the world, which, in turn, enables them to understand how they can impact the world. King Middle School students also understand who they are as a person and how they work within a community. They learn that a community is built upon differences and that this is a strength.
Middle and Upper School's talented artists are collaborating this Fall to perform Bridges, a collection of powerful Readings centered on communication, connection, and identity. These themes are highly relevant to adolescents and young adults and certainly resonate during this pandemic as we all try to understand how meaningfully to communicate and connect.
The success of the first performance, live streamed on October 16, is a testament to the students' nimbleness and perseverance as they embraced the challenge and opportunity posed by the new format and safety protocols. We invite you to watch the Middle School and Upper School Readings One and to enjoy the live streamed Bridges' Reading Two on Friday, November 6, 7:00-9:00 p.m., and Reading Three on Friday, November 20, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Grade 8 King students are "contributing citizens of the world" in the eyes of Ken Lewis, History Faculty and Grade 8 Team Leader. Mr. Lewis is impressed by how his students are "willing to share thoughtful perspectives on current issues and provide powerful evidence for that opinion, while also listening to and respecting the perspectives of classmates."
Anna Lubowitz, English Faculty, describes her objectives for King Grade 7 students as, "I want students to improve their ability to be critical readers and thinkers and to appreciate that everyone has a different experience of what it means to 'come of age in America,' which is our theme for Grade 7 English."
Listen to PA King Inclusion and Diversity speaker Dena Simmons on Tuesday October 6, 7:00-8:30 p.m. p.m. to hear her presentation on "From Surviving to Thriving: Creating Equitable Environments Through Emotional Intelligence and Culturally Relevant Practices."
Over the last few months, King worked hard to make sure campus would be safe for students and staffulty to return. We're so happy to have our community together on campus again. Watch a video and see photos from the first day.
Over the past two weeks, Grade 6 has been immersed in a new science unit: Elements and the Periodic Table. They began by studying the history of the atom, which included research on the scientists who theorized what the atom might look like, and closed with Zoom 3D model presentations this week.
Congratulations to the Class of 2020! Thanks to the guidance and support of their teachers, college counselors, and families, the successes they created for themselves at King helped them earn acceptances to some of the best schools in the country.
Presently, the class is researching information on climate change, and in their roles as representatives of UN member countries they are learning the who/what/where/why's of the issue; past actions that were taken by the international community to manage the issue; their assigned country's position or policies on the issue; and determining solutions from the perspective of their country.