SARATOGA SPRINGS - Saratoga Independent School (SIS) was founded by parents in 1991 and is a private school for children in kindergarten through fifth grade, until this year. The sixth grade is finally open with the rest of the middle school grades to follow in the next two years. SIS’s mission is to empower students to “become confident learners who are capable of critical thinking, problem solving and teamwork,” according to their website. This year, the sixth grade is open for business and currently has 13 students enrolled, 12 of which are recent graduates from the fifth-grade class.
"A middle school was a dream of SIS parents for years... I’d say probably five years ago, there was another effort and enrollment had grown significantly and it looked like this was really the time to focus on starting a middle school. There was a very determined board of trustees and they worked hard to come up with a plan and then when I came, it was my job to put the plan into action. I work with a middle school coordinator, Jeny Randall, who has done excellent work in creating curriculum and ideas for the middle school,” explained Lisa Brown, Head of School.
All teachers from the elementary school will be taking on classes for the middle school as well.
“We’re really excited! In fact, we had a bunch of middle school students who came in and met with us last week and we talked a lot about the middle school and what it was going to be like and what their ideas were and we’re having them help us write the middle school handbook. They took it really seriously and they’re really looking forward to all of the privileges and responsibilities that they have as middle schoolers,” Brown said.
The middle school adds a longevity to prospective parents looking into the school.
“As people are looking at schools, that’s really important so that they don’t have to think ‘well I’m coming into the school now but I’m going to have to look for another school in another few years,’” Brown explained.
Each grade has a theme for the year. Sixth grade’s theme is Identity and Origins, with the curriculum tying into that theme and also helping students make connections between different disciplines.
“It’s also a writing intensive curriculum so they are asked not to write just in language arts class but also in social studies and science and across the curriculum. We are focusing through our advisory program but also on social emotional learning and building community and a sense of respect for each other and for our school community and the larger community through service projects,” said Ms. Randall.
“I think it makes parents very comfortable to know that their kids are in an environment that values the same sorts of academics and social values that they’ve experienced in the elementary school,” Brown said.
For additional information or to schedule a tour, Saratoga Indepenent School can be reached at 518-583-0841. Visit the website at siskids.org/new-middle-school.