[The New Century school students] have been doing a really good job of advocating for the type of special events they want to do. They have to be partly accountable for their experience here. I tell them ‘I’ll do my part of executing if you do your part and bring me ideas of what you want to do.’ I’m a firm believer in planning things with students as opposed to for them. If I already have their buy-in from the jump, it makes the process so much easier.
–Alexis Boyd, TNCS Director of Student Support
This quote exemplifies a few things about The New Century School. To name just a few: education is inquiry-driven, so it follows that TNCS students would have a voice in their extraclassroom activities; TNCS nurtures the whole child, so cultural and social events are just as important as academics; and education is a partnership, with student advocacy helping drive learning. And that’s how TNCS’s first-ever Middle School Social evolved!
In talks with students, Alexis Boyd heard loud and clear that socializing with students from other schools is important to them as well as participating in events that give them the chance to lean into their seniority at the school and their budding maturity. The Middle School Social was Mrs. Boyd’s answer.
Held on Valentine’s Day, the social was, by all accounts, a runaway hit. With 100% attendance (with the exception of one illness), TNCS 6th- through 8th-graders embraced it wholeheartedly. Although students from another school were supposed to join, plans fell through at the last minute. Mrs. Boyd says they quickly pivoted, and the event morphed away from a dance and more into a chance to hang out, dance, listen to music, play games, and get to interact in a new way—just have that special time together, as Mrs. Boyd put it, and have it be just for them.
They were so excited, that some students bought special outfits, or had their hair and/or nails done. Even the gents got into the dressing up aspect and wore suits and special jewelry. Mrs. Boyd did not impose a dress code, however. She told them to channel the Met Gala, which is more about creative self-expression through formal dress than adhering to prescribed norms. “I want people to feel comfortable, and I think this is a good opportunity for them to present themselves to everyone the way that they want to,” she said. Mrs. Boyd herself wore a gown to honor the occasion (with sneakers to honor her feet!).
To start off the event, they went out to dinner at nearby Chilango’s restaurant. Mrs. Boyd says, “It’s important that all students have that social component on how to represent themselves and the school in public. They got to use their Spanish language to order, so also using the tools they are learning in the real world.”
Back at the ranch, parents pitched in to help Mrs. Boyd arrange food, games, and decorations for the main event. Even before they arrived, it was clear that TNCS students were going to have a wonderful time!
On returning and getting the social into full swing, TNCS students upped the merriment factor exponentially.
After it was all said and done, Mrs. Boyd says she got nothing but positive feedback from students and parents alike. “One of the students let me know that they felt proud to be ‘giving high school vibes by being out to eat and dressy,’ and I was like, mission accomplished! You are getting ready for high school, and I want you to make sure that you have those functional elements intact.”
We ❤️ these awesome, talented, funny, vibrant kids! Watch out world!