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Why A JK-8th Grade Education?

Like many independent schools, Palisades Episcopal School covers a grade span from Junior Kindergarten through grade eight because we believe this grade pattern best serves the educational, social and emotional needs of children.

Our philosophy is supported by a number of underlying precepts including the conviction that the continuity of the academic program is important. Elementary programs need to build year by year in a consistent format on the skills acquired in the preceding grade. Seventh and eighth grades represent a culmination of that development and those skills. During the elementary and middle school years, when the foundation for life-long learning is laid, we can devote all of our resources to serving our students during these formative years, better preparing them for high school and beyond.

What are the hallmarks of a JK – 8 education?

  • In a JK-8 grade school, middle grades students are senior members of the student body. They have many early leadership responsibilities, resulting in greater confidence and self-esteem, and a sense of belonging. At PES, students publish their own school newspaper, serve on committees that give input on school matters, mentor and tutor younger students, captain athletic teams, lead school performances, represent PES in the Junior Classical League, and more.
  • A JK-8 grade community allows students to experience age appropriate activities and events, without being exposed to the very different social and academic pressures of middle school students. At PES, our middle grades students take on the role of upperclassmen. They are the role models for the entire student body. At the same time, they can be themselves as they begin their transition from childhood to adulthood.
  • There is a vibrant sense of community in a JK-8 grade school where every child is known by every teacher, administrator and other students. This creates a nurturing environment where students are honored for who they are and safe to grow into the young adult they are meant to be. Parental involvement, which often drops off during middle school years, stays strong right through graduation in a JK-8 grade school.
  • PES students benefit greatly from the opportunity they and their parents have to choose the right high school at the right time. By eighth grade, your child’s academic strengths, interests, learning styles, and gifts are clearly understood, making it easier to determine the best “match” for high school. At PES, all of our graduates have been admitted to their first choice high school and are thriving academically and socially. They are campus leaders, scholars, athletes and artists.
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