John Hokenson, Principal
My name is John Hokenson and I am the principal of Rosendale Intermediate School and Rosendale Primary School. My wife and I both work for the District and all of our children attend or have graduated from our schools, so as you can imagine I have a huge stake in sustaining and fostering an excellent education for all of the students in our district. I am very proud of what we have and that we are always trying to improve.
Rosendale Intermediate School has a unique grade configuration. We teach students from grades four through grade eight. We find our configuration to be a natural break along the lines of how and why we teach reading. From kindergarten through grade three we spend most of our efforts teaching students how to read. From sounds to letters to words, to paragraphs, stories and books, we teach the process. Once the students know how to look at all those letters and make sense of them, we then begin a different process, we begin to ask the students to explain the meanings of what they have read, and then use that understanding to learn about new things. The shorthand explanation of this process is, "Students learn to read, then read to learn".
Middle school is also unique in its social/emotional aspects. As any parent with a middle school student can tell you, they get a bit different. There is evidence that student brains are doing a major reshuffling and that wreaks havoc on their ability to be organized and make rational decisions. Parents need to be careful at this time as well since they can be pulled into their student's irrational situations. Parents also need to remember that middle school students usually inform their parents on a "need to know" basis. Your child will no longer want to tell you everything. That is not a bad thing, but you do need to remember there is often quite a bit more to any story you have been told. Ask lots of questions when being told an important story.
Our school does a great job of teaching our students and addressing these issues. The teachers all know each and every student they teach. They have all chosen this level because they find these students so unique and interesting. We devote special time to getting to know the students, their interests and frustrations. We work hard to help them develop their capacity for empathy and self-discipline. Middle school students have just as much a need for caring adults as all children, but those adults need to understand how different adolescents' needs are, and have the ability to meet them. The staff at Rosendale Intermediate School has that expertise and works hard to make the school an excellent place for our students and their families.
I invite all of those interested in middle level education to stop in, call, or e-mail. I always have an opinion that I am willing to share...or debate.
John A. Hokenson
Rosendale Intermediate School