School Culture

Kirkland Middle School is dedicated to creating a positive school culture for students, families, and staff. We want students to be excited to come to school every day. We want students to be the best version of themselves and recognize that making mistakes is part of growing up; learning from those mistakes shapes us. 

What we do matters. This includes how we act, how we talk, what we think to ourselves, how much effort we put forth, how we treat others, how we treat things, and much more. We've taken purposeful steps to show our commitment to our values (using the Panther Way). We believe learning how to make these values part of students’ lives will support student success in and out of school now and in the future. 

Panther Way 
The Panther Way represents our values: These include being KindRespectful, and Responsible. When students live these values, they will be their best selves as well as positive members of our school community and the greater Lake Washington community. We will be explicitly teaching what these values and associated behaviors look like and will be acknowledging students when we observe them. We want to catch students making great choices; that's what the Panther Way is all about.

Panther Time 
Panther Time is our personalization period and lasts the entire year. Classes tend to be smaller than academic classes (typically 25 students or less) which allows students to get to know each other and their teacher well. The purpose of Panther Time is to build a community within the student's grade level. Students will likely know a few members of their Panther Time and will get the opportunity to build relationships with students who are not in their classes. 

Social Emotional Learning and Being Your Best Self 
Students in every grade level will be learning social emotional skills through the Panther Time every Monday. They will receive instruction and participate in activities on Zones of Regulation, coping skills, and connecting with others as the school progresses. Each month in Panther Time will have a specific SEL focus, and students will be reflecting on this focus with their classes and individually in their planners on a weekly basis.

The House System 
There are seven Houses in our school: Altruismo, Amistad, Isibindi, Reveur, Nukumori, Protos, and Sollevare. Each student is a member of one House, and they remain members of the same House for all of middle school. Students will participate in activities with their mixed grade level Houses at least once a month. This allows them to interact with students with whom they most likely don't have class. They will play games, have discussions, participate in friendly competitions with their fellow Houses, and get know a variety of teachers and staff who are also members of their House. Each House will work together to demonstrate how they are embodying the Panther Way at KiMS and in growing our whole school community. Though each student has membership in one House, all students support the other Houses because at Kirkland Middle School, we support each other. Learn more about the house system.

Panther Partners in Panther Time 
Our Panther Partners are leaders in Panther Time and throughout the school and community. Students interested in becoming Panther Partners apply for the role by submitting an application at the end of their 6th or 7th grade school year. Students selected from this process become the following year's Panther Partners. Each Panther Partner is assigned a Panther Time class. Our Panther Partners lead a number of activities. Perhaps the most important role for our Partner Partners is in making connections with their Panther Time and House members. For our 6th graders, our Panther Partners act as peer mentors - answering questions, giving advice and tips, and making students feel welcome in our school. Panther Partners model the Panther Way in and out of school.