A Place of Belonging: A Closer Look at 6th Grade

By Christine Coddington, communication specialist

Mr. Martin's puppies visit for puppy therapy.

As the school year reaches its midpoint, 6th grade students at EMS discover a profound sense of community beyond academics. Guided by the dynamic duo of Mr. Martin and Ms. Huyard, 6th grade serves as a nurturing space, providing belonging and support during the pivotal transition from elementary to middle school – one that many adults don’t reflect on fondly!

Mr. Martin notes, “middle school signifies a blend of newfound freedoms and increased personal responsibility. While there are more students per grade in middle school, small class sizes allow teachers to tend personal needs.” Drawing from their own experiences as alumni, they aim to ease growing pains for students. Ms. Huyard shared, “our goal is to guide the students through their initial days and months in middle school with comfort and understanding.”

Both Ms. Huyard ’17 and Mr. Martin ’76 not only bring years of teaching expertise but a personal connection to students and the school’s mission. Viewed as family, they create a familial atmosphere within the classroom. Charlotte Wright, 6th grade student, praises Mr. Martin and Ms. Huyard for their hands-on teaching methods, including their interactive labs. Students speak highly of this dynamic teaching duo, expressing gratitude for the invaluable support during this pivotal year.

Beyond classroom roles, Ms. Huyard’s involvement in the theater department enhances creative experiences, while Mr. Martin’s passion for raising boxer puppies adds a unique dimension to the classroom, creating memorable moments for students during puppy therapy visits.

Programs like our Bigs and Littles pair 6th grade students with a junior or senior student, bridging connections. Throughout the year there are “bigs/littles” events during lunch to help build community within our school. It gives the new student a sense of belonging and our juniors and seniors look forward to the activities and relationship building.

Through the unwavering support of teachers like Mr. Martin and Ms. Huyard, students not only navigate this critical transition but thrive in a community that values belonging and
holistic development.

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