My King Story Post

Meet Josh Deitch, Head of Middle School

What about King appeals to you? 

King is a place that is deeply devoted to the experience of every student.  There is not and should not be one singular path to learning, discovery, or success.  Middle School is a formative time in a person's life, and too often, we look back at our time as young adolescents and see it as the toughest times in our lives.  King's focus on helping our children develop as both students and people, built entirely around deep knowledge of every individual, resonates with my personal educational philosophy. 

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 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. 

What is your main goal for your first year at King? 

I hope to continue to build a learning community in the Middle School based on experimentation, design, creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking.  This holds true for both students and staffulty.  When we put the needs of our students at the center of our practice and decision making, we build a culture of answering questions through the mindset of "yes, if..." as opposed to "no, because...".  When we create a learning community that values divergent opinions, perspectives, experiences, and styles, we ensure that every member feels confident in the power of their voice and their own experience. 

Tell us one thing about yourself that someone might not know. 

There are a few things, but the first thing that pops to mind is that I love and have loved comic books deeply.  I love reading them and have even spent some time writing them.  Batman is one of my favorite fictional characters of all time.  More importantly, I believe that the comic book medium is one of the most fascinating ways to tell a story, and when it's done well, nothing -- not movies, books, or music -- can compare to its unique combination of visuals, text, and reader interaction.  In fact, if you look hard enough on the internet, you could probably find my name on a few short stories.