Middle School Education at St. Joseph's
The middle school opened to fifty-seven sixth and seventh grade students on August 25, 2003, and it was at this time that the school name was changed from St. Joseph's High School to St. Joseph's Catholic School. Today there are four classes (2 boys and 2 girls) in each of the three middle school grades (6th, 7th, and 8th). The maximum enrollment for each grade is set at 88 students, (44 boys and 44 girls), with 2 sections of each gender containing 22 students per class.
St. Joseph's is committed to helping middle school students achieve personal excellence. As in the high school, the middle school offers small classes with dedicated teachers and a challenging curriculum. Students of all faiths are welcome and all students attend both daily religion classes and weekly Mass. There is an emphasis on student organization, respect, and self-discipline, and all students wear a school uniform. There are, however, some features that are exclusive to the middle school at St. Joseph's:
Single Gender Classroom Instruction
One of the unique aspects of a St. Joseph's middle school education is single-gender classroom instruction. Educational studies demonstrate the academic and disciplinary advantages, particularly during the middle school years, for separating boys and girls in the classroom. One such study by the Australian Council for Educational Research compared student achievement in single-sex and co-educational schools. The study, which was based upon six years of analysis of over 270,000 students in 53 academic subjects, demonstrated that both boys and girls who were educated in single-sex classrooms scored on average 15 to 22 percentile ranks higher than did boys and girls in co-educational settings. The report also documented that "boys and girls in single-sex schools were more likely to be better behaved and to find learning more enjoyable and the curriculum more relevant." The Council's report concluded: "Evidence suggests that co-educational settings are limited by their capacity to accommodate the large differences in cognitive, social, and development growth rates of boys and girls aged between 12 and 16."
Under the guidance of the school's Department Chairs, St. Joseph's has developed an outstanding middle school curriculum preparing 11 to 13 year-old students for the challenging college-preparatory curriculum found in our high school. Consequently, a St. Joseph's education is viewed as a Seven-Year Program of Study. Starting with the end in mind, (that is, with an awareness that our academic program terminates with Advanced Placement (AP) courses in the eleventh and twelfth grades) the middle school years can be spent on a gradual, deliberate, and focused preparation for each child's academic future. For a detailed listing of the middle school course curriculum, view our Middle School Course Offerings.
Unlike parish schools that end after the eighth grade, St. Joseph's is a seven-year academic program that extends through twelfth grade. Therefore, St. Joseph's does not award eighth grade diplomas nor celebrate an eighth grade graduation. Our seven-year program of study is the same reason that St. Joseph's eighth graders need not reapply for admission to the ninth grade, but simply re-enroll. The school, however, does recognize the end of middle school as a time of transition from the middle school to the high school years and that transition is specially noted during our Eighth Grade Convocation ceremony.
Sports and Co-Curricular Offerings
Our middle school students have access to an outstanding on-site athletic complex, which includes a gymnasium, tennis courts, and baseball, football, soccer, and softball fields. The school competes in the South Carolina High School League, which allows seventh and eighth grade students the opportunity to try out for and compete in the following sports: baseball, basketball, cross-country, football, golf, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track and field, volleyball, and wrestling. All middle school students, regardless of grade level, may participate in our intramural program, which includes flag football, volleyball, basketball, and soccer.
In addition, middle school students are elected to serve on the Middle School Council, and they may also participate in many organizations which are exclusive to the middle school, such as Junior Beta Club, Origami Club, Vocations Clubs, and more. For a complete listing of all co-curricular activities available to SJCS middle school students, click on Co-Curricular Activities.
Finally, unlike many middle schools today, SJCS middle school students are given the opportunity to go outside each day for recess. Immediately following the middle school lunch period, approximately twenty minutes are reserved for supervised outside play.
While St. Joseph's does not currently offer merit scholarships at the middle school level, tuition assistance is available for families who qualify. For more information, visit the Admissions page and click on Affording SJCS.