SouthWest Middle School offers a nice transition from primary to high school. Our son has begun his 2nd year (as a 7th grader) there and finds the teachers, classes interesting. He attended Oakbrook Primary, which was excellent, and this has been an adjustment process, but it helps having each grade segregated from each other during the day. After school, there are extra curricular activities/clubs for all interests. The teaching style/course work is 'contemporary' or newer approaches to science, math, social studies, english. (versus traditional 3 R's). Nice mix of newer/veteran staff (teachers). Strict when it comes to timeliness/on-time homework, penalized for leaving classrooms for unscheduled bathroom breaks, the mandatory DARE (drug education) and HEALTH segments replace the popular P.E. opportunities. Lunch time is quick/brief (combined with recess) <30 min. are the only areas of suggested improvement by students we know.
As a typical worrying mom sending my oldest child (daughter) off to middle school, I was apprehensive about her leaving the comfort of her elementary school. I was afraid she would be lost in the bigger school, afraid of peer pressure, etc. Soon after the school year began, my worries were laid to rest. The staff at SWMS recognize that these are our 'babies' and they nurture them and ease them into the more grown up, independent environment. They do a fantastic job of separating the grade levels - with each grade having their own hall (house). My worries about 6th grade camp (one whole week of sleeping away!) were also put to rest. The camp counselors (teachers, nurse, etc) understand all of the pressures and worries of adolescence. They do a great job of placing kids with friends or in non-threatening environs. camp chaperones(teachers) are casual/fun so camp is fun!