The transition from middle school to high school has always been a big deal for kids, and Recent research from The University of Chicago suggests that it may be an even more critical period of time than was previously thought. The research shows a strong correlation between success in the freshman year and the likelihood of staying in school through graduation. In short, those kids who have troubles as freshmen continue to have problems in subsequent years, possibly leading to dropping out of school altogether. The question all educators need to be asking is what can we do to best prepare our 8th graders for the challenges they will face in high school.
FLOW, while short in duration, packs a punch. It pushes kids into their learning zone and creates lessons, relationships and memories that will at the least be remembered, and at most transform lives. The social benefits of FLOW are significant. Students taken out of the context of the traditional classroom setting may interact in new ways, and they may uncover capabilities and interests that were not apparent inside the four walls of the school house. Surprisingly, in our small, tight knit community, many of the incoming freshman at Morse High School don't know each other very well when they arrive. FLOW is designed to mix students between both our middle schools and the academic houses of BMS, and provide them with the chance to foster new relationships and strengthen those that already exist through the common experience of a canoe trip.
As an experience open to all 8th grade students in RSU 1, FLOW systemically elevates the level of experience, engagement and discourse among the student body. With an academic focus on writing based on student interest, FLOW lends itself to differentiation and tiered activities. In this way, FLOW represents one aspect of a Schoolwide Enrichment Model (S.E.M., Renzulli 1977; Renzulli & Reis, 1985, 1997).