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  • Nathan Sokol-Margolis 

    Middle School Principal
    212-477-5316, ext. 285

Welcome to the Middle School at LREI

Life in our community of learners is at once demanding, engaging, supportive and always exciting. The middle school years are steeped in the spirit of inquiry and discovery that are at the core of LREI's progressive mission. During their time in the Middle School, students come to better understand the world that surrounds them and their capacity for effecting change in it.

Walking through the doors on Sixth Avenue every morning, what is each child hoping for from us? What does she need most? What does he think makes a good day, or a good class, or a good year? Of course, all of our middle schoolers are different - and delightfully so - but there are certain shared wishes that they all have in common. Here is what I believe middle schoolers would ask, if we were to prompt them:

List of 3 items.

  • Will they know me?

    Despite their reputation for being standoffish, middle schoolers want what we all want: to be recognized and understood. They want to know that someone will go out of their way to make contact with them, to find out about their preferences, their habits, their talents. Middle school teachers excel at noticing small details of their students: who loves to draw, who is eager to be the one to show the new students where the water fountains are, who is working on writing a novel. Not only are teachers skilled at using their own classrooms for the detective work of understanding the children, but the middle school program is designed to give everyone the opportunity to be known in different ways by their teachers - through advisory, sports, activity period, or band. Whether it is a lunchtime meeting or the middle of science class, the teachers are watching closely. And as much as middle schoolers want their space and independence, they also want to know we’re noticing them. We are.
  • Will it be hard?

    The question behind this question is, will it be boring? Middle school is challenging in just the right amount in the right ways. Sometimes a math problem will be especially tricky or writing a research paper will require a new level of organization. Sometimes a student will be called on to speak in front of his or her peers. But the middle school teachers like to see the children leaning into the wind a bit, tilting themselves toward a challenge. Sometimes we draw the target a little closer to build confidence. Sometimes we step it back and watch students stretch - making predictions, debating, going out on a limb. Middle school classes are perplexing, lively, weird, surprising, intense and joyful. They are busy, not boring.
  • Will people be nice to me? Will I be ok?

    Elisabeth Irwin was passionate about school being made to fit the children and not the other way around. Among other things this means that children are taken seriously, not only as intellectuals but as whole people. Their relationships are real and important. The ebb and flow of friendships, their grappling with reputation and integrity, the way they use their words in and out of classrooms is not a sideshow in our school. It is central. We are helping children learn to be citizens of their classroom and the middle school - how to disagree without meanness, how to stand up for a friend, how to change your mind gracefully, how to take a risk, how to admit when you are wrong.
These criteria are as much a part of our days with the children as math, Mandarin, reading, and dance. Trying something new won't always be comfortable. We don’t promise that everyone will always be nice, but this school is a place where we are committed to leaving nothing in the shadows - teachers are here to listen, to encourage respect and kindness, to model it ourselves. Expect school to be eventful. Expect the unexpected, but know it is safe. 
The middle school years are steeped in the spirit of inquiry and discovery that are at the core of LREI's progressive mission.


Our Program by Grade

Little Red School House
and Elisabeth Irwin High School

LREI. Powered By Questions.

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  • Since 1921