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Meet Middle School Director Bill Schuver

by Bill Schuver

Thanks to all of you who’ve welcomed me to the Charles Wright community. I’m excited to be working in the Middle School, because it was an important part of my life. As we begin our work together, I’m glad to have this opportunity to share my experience and what I believe about building a strong middle school.

The guidance I received in junior high school helped me define what was important and validated my experience at home with family. Those memories of support in a time that was also challenging for me led to my work with students as a vocation. The impact of my PE teacher was significant and I still recall his words and guidance today, particularly when he took the time with each student to demonstrate how we should treat each other during a dance lesson in class.  Middle School can be a stressful time for many and an awkward dance lesson is just one example of a stress inducing interaction at this age. I have heard from adults over the years that their own middle school experience was challenging. Although some elements are universal and similar to our experience years ago, students today have even more to manage. With the introduction of electronic devices, social media, and instant communication, influences of popular culture are delivered at  an accelerated pace. 

How can we help students with these challenges? At CWA, we have begun to establish some routines and patterns to help middle school students focus on learning and growth. Consistency of the daily schedule at school for students is important. One reason is that the adolescent is already experiencing significant personal change in this time period.  They are balancing physical growth and hormonal development, social awareness and the need for acceptance, the quest for independence, and all while just beginning to understand abstract concepts. 

We, as adults, have the benefit of experience and time to level our reactions to things. But middle school students are experiencing many of those things for the first time. Their reactions are more pronounced, both high and low, happy and sad. Working to maintain a routine at school helps calm students by providing a predictable environment. The effort is to reduce the number of changes so as to not compound this time of individual change. This helps provide an environment where academic and social learning can take place – and that positive outcome is the one change we all would like to see. Any instance where a middle school student pauses even for a moment to think about the implications of their words or actions is a positive step. 

All of these circumstances and challenges are why I work with this age group and have for much of my career. I recognize the needs and vulnerability of this particular time of life. The steady guidance provided in partnership with families while adolescents strive to be independent and self-sufficient is critical to healthy development. I appreciate every teacher here at CWA and I see their dedication, commitment, and time devoted to the growth of each student. We also strive each day to be open to grow as educators just as we hope the students do as learners. I am grateful to be here surrounded by this dynamic group of students and adults working to be their best selves every day in this learning community.