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Somers Middle School Launches Eighth Grade MYP Community Project

A new program for eighth graders at Somers Middle School aims to encourage students to turn a passion into action while serving a need in their community.

The pilot eighth grade Community Project, a component of the International Baccalaureate’s Middle Years Programme, gives students an opportunity to take initiative, think critically, and communicate effectively as they run a community service project throughout the whole year. Students will investigate needs in a community and address those needs through service learning.

“This is all about finding a project that helps the community,” said World Language Teacher Jenna Iazzetti who is the MYP Community Project Advisor. Iazzetti  introduced the optional program to the eighth graders in a class assembly this week. “This is a great opportunity to try something new and set an example for the students that come up behind you.”

Students can decide on participation by September 23. Those who sign-up will pick a topic and be given a teacher mentor to help them along the way as they investigate, plan, and implement the project. Iazzetti said a project can be anything at all that benefits any community – their school, neighborhood, town, a city, a sports community and more. “The ideas are endless as long as you take action,” she said.

The benefits of choosing to participate this year, Iazzetti told the students, include the ability to try something new, explore their interests and gain a new experience and new skills, learn how to set goals, prepare for high school, and grow as an IB Learner. “It’s your last year at SMS,” she said. “How do you want to make it memorable?”

The program is being offered to eighth graders as a choice pilot program this year before it becomes mandatory. Participating students will spend approximately 15 hours of work from October through May on a particular community service area of their choice. Students can work individually or up to groups of three. They will present their project in May. Iazzetti said eighth graders can also use their hours from the Community Project for their membership requirements in the National Junior Honor Society.

The MYP at the middle school is a five-year program that spans 6 – 10th grade and will seamlessly take students into the IB Diploma Programme implemented at Somers High School in 2018. The MYP is geared towards students aged 11 through 16 that works to inspire them to connect their studies to real world issues and situations. The philosophy helps students hone skills in many areas including inquiry, knowledge, risk taking, communication, and critical thinking.  SMS is working towards becoming an International Baccalaureate’s Middle Years Programme Authorized School by late 2022.