Liberty Middle School
What is the liberty middle school?
The Learning Clinic
The center runs a Learning Clinic for fifth and sixth graders who are struggling with literacy. Students receive intensive remediation and are tutored one-on-one or in small groups by Bank Street College graduate students specializing in Reading and Literacy who are supervised by college faculty.
Early difficulties in children's literacy development are major predictors of student failure and delinquency. The Learning Clinic serves 30 struggling fifth and sixth graders, teaching them the skills and strategies that will help them develop solid reading and writing skills. Skilled intervention at this point reduces the chances of students falling further behind each year, losing interest and motivation, and becoming truants or completely dropping out of school — much like some of our older students who have not received support during their early years.
Our goal is to provide the students a learning environment where they can experience success as learners and increase their ability and motivation to do well in school. We aim to bring all students to grade level by the end of the two years.
Fifth and Sixth Grade Program
Students are referred to the Clinic by their families or schools based on poor performance on the citywide fourth grade English Language Arts exam. The majority is from P.S. 165, a public elementary school near Bank Street's campus. Some students are English Language Learners and several have diagnosed learning disabilities. Throughout the year, we offer workshops to the guardians of Learning Clinic children to help them better understand how different neurodevelopmental strengths and weaknesses manifest. We teach families to advocate on behalf of their children. Staff also meets with classroom teachers on a regular basis to share information they have gathered on their students’ learning issues and to discuss strategies that have proven successful.
Seventh and Eighth Grade Program
Beginning in the seventh grade, students will join the regular LPP program and other seventh graders for the rest of their school careers. The seventh and eighth grade program is multifaceted. Students can participate in after school enrichment (reading, math and writing), recreational classes, art workshops, sports clinics, and gender-based counseling groups. They also attend "Saturday Academy/Weekend College," which consists of small-group writing workshops that emphasize both written skills and creative expression. Programs like these play a critical role in helping young people see themselves as capable learners who can pursue academics through high school and beyond.
In the summer after seventh grade, students begin an eighteen-month Adventure Based Counseling program which uses expeditionary learning and community service experiences to strengthen peer group supports, develop leadership skills, and help students develop a better understanding of their own locus of control.
During the first summer, students explore New York City. They build boats and row on the Harlem River, learn about environmental science and find their way around an orienteering course with maps and a compass. During the next school year, they participate in three wilderness retreats (one with parents) and develop team-building skills through outdoor leadership exercises, such as a high ropes challenge course.
Our Boys’ Programming Component serves some of our most influential and high-risk participants: our young men. We employ an Adventure-Based Counseling model to address these students’ need for meaning intervention that makes a difference. In addition to various after-school course offerings, we also provide individual and family psychosocial counseling designed to address young men’s social needs.
To ensure that our males have valuable and important activities during the summer, we facilitate a five-week Wilderness Adventure preparation program during the summer months. Here, eight to 10 students in grades 10 and 11 participate in a five-week program that culminates in a seven-day backpacking excursion in the Catskills. Here, students are responsible for every element, from way-finding to cooking to setting up and breaking down camp.