I know it’s going to make some of you envious, but I’ve been invited to the Middle School Dance tonight. As I grew up in France in the 80s, memories of the movie La Boum are rushing back. It’s going to be a cold and rainy weekend, so if you’re tempted by this extract you could check it out. It’s by no means a cinematic masterpiece, and certain scenes will definitely make you cringe in 2023, but in my opinion, no other film comes as close to capturing what it means to be 13 years old.

Because being 13 years old is both exhilarating and terribly complicated. It’s a crucial time, with so much at play on a personal and emotional level – those who attended Marie and Stéphanie’s Counselor Chat on Adolescence know this only too well – and the school environment that surrounds teenagers is both a determining and structural factor.

I think that one of the greatest strengths of The École is being able to provide a particularly inspiring framework for our young adolescents. Each week brings another stimulating experience, whether it be a trip to Costa Rica or to Philadelphia, a private movie screening (a superb film about two ambitious, talented musicians from the suburbs who provoke an inspiring reaction in a bourgeois Parisian high school), a Broadway show, chorus or soccer practice… we’re providing nourishment for the body and soul.

We are therefore delighted to see that a growing number of parents are choosing The École’s Middle School, confident that their children will grow and thrive with us while also benefitting from a rigorous, demanding, and ambitious teaching and learning program that places them in the best possible position when it comes to moving on to high school. I was struck this Wednesday during my monthly P’tit déj (which Tony, the Elementary & Middle School Security Guard, thinks we should rename The Breakfast Club ! ) by the number of parents who wanted to learn more about The École’s vision and trajectory beyond Elementary, which not so long ago was considered the end of the line!

We’re preparing every day for the changes and challenges this growth will entail. We’re anticipating a slight growth in our student body next year. Our Pre-Nursery, Pre-K, 2nd Grade, and 7th Grade classes are already full. Overall, we are almost at capacity in Maternelle and our last years of Elementary (4th and 5th Grade), which are traditionally our smallest classes, are at 15 students per class (30 per grade level). These figures allow us to imagine sustained growth in our Middle School over the coming years. Our teaching team will remain stable for the most part – I will be sharing the traditional list of departing and incoming staff with you before the end of the school year.

There is still plenty to be done, but all the lights are green. The only downside is that I have nothing to wear to the Dance tonight and with my luck, Sophie Marceau might just show up!