At Seaford Middle School, the day isn’t over when the dismissal bell rings. In line with the school’s stated mission, clubs invite a whole new type of exploration when the regular school day ends.
Seaford Middle School offers 15 different clubs, all of which are very unique and designed to broaden the scope of students. The school building is bustling after hours, especially on Tuesdays, almost as if the school day is simply continuing.
“Our whole thing in Seaford Middle School is exploration, discovery and growth,” Daniel Smith, the principal, said. “That’s the overarching goal, and really what we want as kids come out of elementary school and get ready for the high school. We want them to get a taste of as much as they can.”
Both Smith and assistant principal Jen Bisulca agreed that in high school, students should start figuring out what they want to pursue in college, and therefore middle school is the time to engage students and get them thinking about what interests them the most.
Two of the middle school’s clubs are the Culture Club and the Arts and Crafts Club, which met on Jan. 17.
The Culture Club celebrates different cultures, focusing on a new one every month. Earlier this school year, students were encouraged to bring in food from their own cultural background.
“We had up to five different activities,” Melanie Levy-Roberts, teacher and the culture club’s advisor, said. “We had things like Irish soda bread, German macaroons, Brazilian brigadeiros.”
Culture Club has been around for as long as Smith, who has been principal for 14 years, could remember. It was originally known as the diversity club before Levy-Roberts took it over.
The Arts and Crafts club has a similar story, originally being called the Arts Club. But now, handmade crafts are included, and like the culture club, it follows an annual curriculum.
“The old arts club was just do whatever you want,” Lisa Jones, the club’s director, said. “Now we have a more crafty feel to all of it, and we work on specific projects.”
Jones is a math teacher with a passion for art, which led her to direct the club beginning this year. This ties in with the middle school’s core mission — exploration, discovery and growth. While clubs are not directly a part of its exploratory mission, generally applying to elective classes, they benefit greatly from it.
“Our exploratory side applies to both teachers and students,” Smith said. “For example, say I’m a math teacher, but I really like birding. That teacher can create a birding appreciation course as an elective in addition to their math classes.”
Clubs follow the same concepts, and Jones’ status as arts and crafts director is an example of that.
“At the high school, I saw kids selecting clubs or taking certain pathways,” said Bisulca, who is serving her first year as assistant principal after coming over from Seaford High School. “Here, I really see how it sparks, how the fire starts. The student council program at the high school is thriving, and it’s really the heart of the building. But it started here. So I kind of get to look back in time here and see where we could further nurture some of their interests here. And work with the high school to set up different opportunities for kids.”
According Smith and Bisulca, that nurturing is an essential duty educators have in order to make sure that student interests are cultivated and students get something more than just a grade out of school.