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.”

— Dr. Josh Deitch, Head of Middle School

Learn more about Middle School: Grades 6-8

Learn about new Head of Middle School

Q&A with Dr. Josh Deitch

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 School in Action

New Hot Coffee, Hot Topics Speaker Series Starts by Exploring Cultural Competence

Dr. Jean-Baptiste introduced a new series of parent education events: Hot Coffee, Hot Topics.  These are parent/caregiver workshops and discussions to grow our collective social, intellectual, emotional capacity for navigating current cultural and social transformations that impact how children learn.  In these events, parents and caregivers will engage with each other, learn, and talk about tools, strategies, and challenges for developing cultural competence and how to provide a full circle of support for students from school to home.

Read more about New Hot Coffee, Hot Topics Speaker Series Starts by Exploring Cultural Competence
MS team takes the top prize in King Cares Cooking Competition

Seven students representing King were accepted into the competition. They worked with Chef Estwardo after school in the weeks leading up to the competition to learn additional skills, but not just related to cooking. "The Cooking Competition was a wonderful opportunity for students to work as a team, and discover the best ways to collaborate and communicate with each other, especially while performing under pressure. They also got the opportunity to practice and develop their cooking skills, doing it all in a fun, supportive environment," said Karen Raidt, Director of King Cares Service. 

Read more about MS team takes the top prize in King Cares Cooking Competition
PA Speaker Cristina Young encourages celebrating teens' success and keeping open lines of communication

Earlier this week the Parents' Association welcomed Cristina Young as she presented Understanding the Teenage Brain: The Keys to Improving a Challenging Relationship. Ms. Young, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Therapist with 25-years of experience, led an authentic discussion on the challenges and joys of parenting teenagers in today's environment. 

Read more about PA Speaker Cristina Young encourages celebrating teens' success and keeping open lines of communication
King Community Makes a Difference at King Cares Family Service Day

Saturday, April 13 was the fourth annual King Cares Family Service Day. Over 250 students, parents, family members, friends, and staffulty came together to support 10 of King's partner organizations, and the day concluded with the US student Midnight Run. The mission of the King Cares Service Program is to support the values-based education at King School. This Program reinforces the School's belief that service to the broader community, both local and international, is central to educational excellence.

Read more about King Community Makes a Difference at King Cares Family Service Day