Named a Model Program by the National Association of Independent Schools, the Fenn Student Life Program supports boys as they mature. The curriculum reinforces the school’s core values of honesty, respect, empathy, and courage. The program helps students understand and engage successfully the social, emotional, and physical challenges and changes of adolescence.
Some of the topics covered are:
Grade 6 Social, emotional, and physical changes of middle school and adolescence and decision making regarding tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs.
Grade 7 Forming relationships; creating a healthy lifestyle; digital citizenship; and human intimacy and sexuality.
Grade 8 Decision-making relating to peers; balancing school, home, and other relationships; adolescent sexuality; substance abuse; and transitioning to ninth grade.
Grade 9 Relationships with peers, families, and friends; the impact of media and advertising on sexuality; making safe and appropriate decisions; and beginning a new school.
Student Life Curriculum
Lower School Student Life
In fourth and fifth grades the emotional and social growth of boys is addressed and nurtured through the advisor program. Advisors have both formal and informal interactions with boys on a daily basis.
Middle School Student Life
The sixth-grade student life curriculum is taught by the Headmaster. The curriculum provides boys with relevant information, skills, and guidance to support them as they enter middle school and adolescence. Discussions focus on the social, emotional, and physical changes of these years. In the fall term, topics include: adjusting to middle school; managing changing peer and family relationships; and using technology responsibly. Winter and early spring term topics are: the physical, emotional, and social changes of puberty, adolescence, and sexuality. A final unit in the late spring focuses on responsible decision making in adolescence regarding tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs.
The seventh-grade curriculum is taught by the Head of the Middle School. Seventh-grade student life continues to provide essential information, skills, and guidance relating to the emotional and physical challenges that boys will experience in middle school and adolescence. Students study the theory and reality of adolescent development. The curriculum offers a forum in which to discuss current climate and events within the School and the world. Finally, the curriculum provides emerging adolescents with social, emotional, and learning resources so that they can continue to make healthy choices throughout their teenage years. During the fall term, students explore forming relationships, coping with difference, and respecting classmates. The winter term focuses on creating a healthy lifestyle. The focus is on digital citizenship and how media and advertising influence society’s expectations about masculinity. The spring term centers on decision making, using real-life situations to resolve conflict and make healthy and ethical choices in their own lives. The term ends with a focus on human intimacy, sexuality, and substance abuse.
Upper School Student Life
The eighth-grade student life curriculum is taught by the Student Life Department Chair. The curriculum in the eighth grade is broken into three parts. The fall curriculum centers on decision-making as it relates to acceptance and treatment of peers, self-esteem issues, and the balance of stress at school, home, and in other relationships. Also discussed are students’ responsibilities as digital citizens. The winter term focuses on adolescent sexuality, including male and female anatomy, contraception, and sexually transmitted diseases, as well as an exploration of the social and emotional aspects of sexuality. In the spring, the boys participate in a substance abuse prevention program that focuses on the effects of alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana use. A unit is also offered by the educational consulting firm, Freedom from Chemical Dependency. The eighth-grade year ends with a unit on transitioning to the ninth grade, either at Fenn or other schools.The ninth-grade student life curriculum is taught by Fenn’s Consulting Psychologist. In the fall, students discuss balancing school life, home life, and outside relationships; they examine relationships with peers, families, and friends; and discuss issues of self-esteem, digital citizenship, and moral grounding in our society. During the winter term, class discussion centers on sexual education: dealing with relationships and appropriate sexual behavior, understanding one’s sexuality, understanding the impact of media and advertising on sexuality, and making decisions that are safe and appropriate. In the spring term, students discuss the exposure to drugs and alcohol in high school; risky behavior as it pertains to drugs; and media and advertising of alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco use. A unit is offered by the educational consulting firm, Freedom from Chemical Dependency. Finally, there is discussion about graduating from Fenn, leaving friends, and beginning a new school in the fall.