Middle School

How will you help my son assimilate to this new, big school?

The middle school experience can seem like a tumultuous one, but families come to consider Loyola as a big school with a small school feeling.  Here, students and parents are encouraged to recognize that each boy adapt at his own pace – one that is appropriate and comfortable to him.  As in any new environment, each student should be allowed to explore at his own pace.

As a parent, ask yourself: Does he seem satisfied with his own progress – academically and socially? Is he making friends or taking part at a rate with which he is comfortable? If the answers are yes, he is finding his way.  If not, keep in mind that he has both the time and gifts to make his experience better.

Is there a dress code?

As outlined by the school Handbook, Loyola students must wear (1) a dress shirt and tie, (2) dress trousers with belt, (3) leather dress shoes with socks, and (4) sports coat.  Although students are free to make individual brand and style choices, the Dean of Students acts as the arbiter of the dress code.

Do you provide after-school care?

Our school policy restricts all middle school students from remaining on campus after 3:15 unless they are attending an after-school activity, or accompanied by a parent. For your convenience and the safety of our middle school students, we offer an After School Program for students who are not picked up by 3:15 each day. Both fun and engaging, the program allows your son the opportunity to take part in various games and outdoor actvities with his peers, while also giving time and work space for studies.The after-school hours are from 3:15 to 5:45 every day school is in session. The cost per semester is $450.00 per student.

If you have any questions regarding this program, or Loyola Blakefield’s after-school policy, please feel free to contact our After School Director Mr. Brian Abbott at babbott@loyolablakefield.org.

How will you help transition my son to the high school?

Loyola seeks to create young men who through experience and discernment can decide, act, and adapt for themselves.  An experienced faculty and staff recognize that our students master those skills with maturity.  Therefore, middle school students are given more guidance before making decisions and given less responsibility for fewer decisions.  As students mature, they are allowed more personal responsibility but are made accountable for themselves and their decisions.

While in 8th grade, our students are given the opportunity to shadow an Upper School sophomore for a day so as to see for himself life on that part of the campus. Also, through the Freshmen Orientation program, all students are introduced to the physical space and the ways of proceeding in the Upper School. During that week, students are taught important classroom and study skills, learn to appreciate the value of service, and examine the value of both self-reliance and communication. The intended outcome of these exercises is to help our young men discover their own valuable talents as well as the variety of gifts within their own class.

Is there any overlap between the middle school and high school?

In the end, Loyola Blakefield is one school with seven grades. The Middle School conducts most of its classrooms in Sheridan and Knott Halls. However, a number of faculty members teach classes in both the Upper and Middle School. Also, curriculum is created so as to be sequential, meaning that student learning by curricular area moves seamlessly from year to year. Finally, students who have the desire and talent to take an accelerated course of study may enroll in Math and Foreign Language classes in the Upper School.

Is there any bullying and, if so, how does the school deal with it?

A Loyola Don is a young man who is – at all times, in all places, and in all situations – expected to act as a gentleman. Loyola Blakefield is committed to ensuring respect for the dignity of all members of our community. We recognize that learning must occur within the context of a safe, caring, respectful community. We further recognize that bullying, harassment, and intimidation exists in this world of advancing communication. Loyola is not a haven from that societal problem.

However, given that Loyola, as part of its mission, seeks to develop young men who are loving and who seek justice in the world, our school community has a comprehensive plan in place to identify all forms of intimidation, to encourage timely reporting of any such incidents, to thoroughly investigate any claims, and to apply consequences consistent with the school’s disciplinary policies. In advance of the occurrence of incidences, Loyola’s Safe School Committee coordinates efforts to educate students, parents, faculty, and staff through a variety of forums including orientation sessions, Religion classes, assemblies, Guidance lessons, and other age-appropriate means.

Upper School

What distinguishes Loyola from other schools in the area?

An all-male Catholic school founded over 160 years ago in the Jesuit tradition of education, Loyola is one of the finest school in the Baltimore area for forming men who are prepared for the rigors of college, who have examined deeply their own faith and convictions, who are open to loving relationships, and who are committed to seeing justice done in the world – in short, a “whole” man.  

What kind of grades/scores are you looking for from a successful applicant?

Because our school community is committed to diversity and the richness that a variety of students bring, Loyola’s Admissions Committee does not seek to find one type of student. Admitted students come from public and private schools, city and suburbs, and have experienced different measures of success. One common factor that all successful applicants share, however, is a well-developed sense that hard work itself yields tangible benefits. At Loyola, when hard-working young men are challenged by a committed faculty, success occurs.

What is the average class size?

Class sizes may vary from 10 to 24 depending on the course and student needs. However, Loyola deliberately forms smaller class sections in those disciplines in which collaboration is most essential. For example, some freshmen English classes, in which the craft of quality written expression begins, may be as small as 10 students per class. By contrast, in those classes where a variety of opinions expressed leads to greater appreciation and learning of the subject matter, such as history or religion, larger classes are formed.

Do you provide bus service?

Loyola contracts with private bus companies to provide service from Carroll, Harford, and Howard Counties. Moreover, because students from all over the region enroll, new families often discover other “Loyola families” in their neighborhoods and make appropriate carpool arrangements. Loyola also provides bus service to school from the MTA #11 bus stop at GMBC.

What forms of financial aid do you have?

Please refer to our Financial Aid brochure.

How does the school develop the boys spiritually?

Through daily Religion classes, annual retreats, and regular opportunities to perform service in the community, Loyola students have the opportunity to nourish their spiritual side – one present in all young men. Centuries ago, the Jesuits realized that, in order to teach, they first needed to learn the language of those whom they meant to instruct. In the same way, conversations about faith and spirituality and the tenets underlying them – tenets like integrity, honesty, and faith – are the means by which experienced instructors translate theology for our young men. Throughout their years at Loyola, students are continuously challenged – in ways large and small – to discuss, to explore, to reflect, and to express their individual core beliefs. By graduation, students will have developed a bedrock understanding of their own creed upon which they can build the remainder of their lives and through which they can (in the words of St. Ignatius) Go forth and set the world on fire.

In what kinds of activities can my son participate after school?

Because Loyola seeks to form the whole man, students are led to recognize the contributions and talents of each member of the community. Students are encouraged to remain at school beyond 3:00 p.m. and to become involved in a number of co-curricular activities from athletics to drama, visual arts to speech and debate, intramurals to robotics. Students can find a variety of options to satisfy their own interests through presentations from club moderators and leaders as well as an annual Activities Fair held early each school year. Loyola Dons are young men who celebrate the talents of every member of the school community.

How do you incorporate technology into the classroom?

At Loyola Blakefield our teachers and students have access to state of the art classrooms outfitted with wireless projectors, sound systems and multimedia. Each teaching faculty member at Loyola has a Tablet PC that connects wirelessly to our classroom projectors. Our faculty implement their Tablet PCs into their classroom instruction, professional development, and professional and personal productivity. With our three laptop carts outfitted with 24 laptops each our faculty are able to design and develop digital-age learning experiences and facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity through engaging technology-embedded lessons and activities. Our teachers are leveraging this available technology in the classrooms and combined with their expert pedagogical backgrounds are able to create rigorous, technology-enhanced lessons with cutting edge web tools, websites, software, and resources that enhance and complement how and what the students learn. Between the laptop carts and five computer labs on campus (including an Apple Digital Media lab) students are always able to connect and utilize available technology before, during and after the school day.    

I know the curriculum is rigorous. What kind of academic support does Loyola provide?

Students are instructed and encouraged to be self-regulated, self-directed learners. In order to create an independent young man committed to life-long learning, Loyola instructors teach essential study, note taking, and class management skills. As self-regulated learners, students are expected to seek help when needed rather than wait for teacher-required remediation. However, Loyola faculty, living out the concept of cura personalis, invest themselves both to challenge and support their students. Upon request and at mutually beneficial times, students and teachers will meet to collaborate on papers and projects, to reinforce skills, and to help prepare for major assessments. In addition, Loyola provides a Writing Lab, where students can seek help on writing projects, and a drop-in Math Lab where students can receive one-on-one support for that subject. Students requiring more intensive support may be assigned a tutor from the National Honor Society. Also, teachers make available a variety of support material linked to their assignments on NetClassroom, Loyola’s online gradebook and campus community.

You're a single-sex school. How do the boys socialize with girls?

After school and on weekends, they have opportunities to socialize by participating in interschool clubs and activities like dances and mixers, forensic tournaments, play productions, charitable events, service opportunities, and even as spectators at school functions and events. In the same way that Loyola advertises its many social offerings at the area girls’ schools, those “sister” schools make known their opportunities for boys to visit their respective campuses.

How well prepared are the boys for college?

Because of its low student-to-college counselor ratio, Loyola helps each student find his “best fit” school. Administrators and professors at many colleges and universities tell us that they know almost immediately when they have encountered a Loyola Don, both by his respectful manner and by his academic prowess. Most especially, they recognize Loyola graduates by their writing proficiency. Alumni describe their freshman experience at some of the best universities as “easier than they expected” and that they felt no intimidation by the rigor or expectations. Though many are drawn to continue their Jesuit experience at the university level, recent graduates are attending Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Duke, Dartmouth, Virginia, Penn, Hopkins, Notre Dame and many more.  

How diversified is Loyola?

As a key component of our mission statement, Loyola embraces all forms of diversity and seeks constantly to widen its appeal so as to create a vibrant community of racial, religious, and economic diversity. Presently, students of color make up 15% of our school population and students of faiths other than Roman Catholic over 23%.

How do the boys new to the school mix with those rising from the middle school?

Creating a unified freshman class begins before the first day of academic classes. For those interested in participating in team sports, fall tryouts begin each year in August. There, students have the chance not only to make new acquaintances and friendships, but also to share in the achievement of a common goal. The entire freshman class becomes better acquainted during the Orientation period that occurs one week prior to the start of school. Each day, students are re-grouped and then participate in shared activities like study skills classes, social service work, and team building at a “challenge course” facility. As the school year begins, events like the Freshman Welcome Mixer and community homerooms continue to promote unity.

What's a typical freshman schedule?

All students through 11th grade complete courses in each of the six core curricular areas: Math, English, History, Science, Language, and Religion. As such, most freshmen enroll in Algebra 1, English 1, World History, Biology, Morality (Religion), and Foreign Language. In addition to these, freshmen complete courses in PhysEd, Studio or Performing Art, and Computer Science.

How late can students stay after school?

Middle School students not playing a seasonal sport may be picked up as late as 3:30 p.m. Those participating in sports are picked up by 4:00 p.m. Supervised after-care is also available on a fee-basis through 5:45 p.m. Upper School students are free to take advantage of a variety of clubs and activities after school or simply to move about our 60-acre campus. The Library is available until 4:00 p.m. The computer centers in Wheeler and Burk Halls are available until 6:00 p.m. while Knott Hall remains available for activities until 9:00 p.m.

 

For Students, By Students

Will I make a sports team and have the opportunity to play?

The Upper School fields 17 varsity teams, all in the “A” Conference, and an appropriate number of under-squads in each sport. Loyola’s Middle School fields 15 teams in 12 different sports. On average, 65% of students play on a school team. However, athletics is only one segment of a rich and varied co-curricular life at Loyola. We also have an extensive intramural program, as well as an assortment of non-athletic co-curricular organizations through which your son may learn many of the same leadership and teamwork skills that are taught on the athletics fields.

Do you have a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) program?

Some call it STEM, others STEAM (+arts), but we've been doing it for hundreds of years. In Jesuit education, collaboration is key. That’s why it is not uncommon for our teachers in different academic disciplines to combine lessons and projects to help our Dons garner real-world experience. For example, last year our engineering students designed various components of a golf course while Digital Media students helped create marketing materials for the course. Engineering students also designed water filters for an African village scenario and built baseball pitching machines, which AP Statistics students analyzed for speed, accuracy and cost. The Engineering program, introduced in 2011, continually emphasizes these cross-curricular interactions to help students prepare for college and beyond. We also offer Robotics and Cyber Security (2013 World Champs!)

How will I find my way around that big campus?

Prior to the start of the school year, all students new to Loyola take part in a tour of the campus led by a student guide. Once a new student learns the names of the individual buildings and where subject-area classes are clustered, the campus doesn’t seem so overwhelming. Inside, classroom numbers are clearly marked, and teachers and staff during the first weeks of school mingle with students in the halls to help direct them to their destination. 

How much homework will I have every night?

As one might expect, the amount of nightly homework will depend on a variety of factors – among them class level, sequence in the semester, and free time. Students at Loyola quickly master time management and use wisely opportunities to study and prepare. For Middle School students, a rule of thumb is ten minutes per class year. For example, students in the 6th grade might expect, on average, 60 minutes of homework per night. For Upper School students, homework for each core subject may average 20-30 minutes, or two to three hours, per night.

What kinds of clubs and activities do you have?

Student participation in co-curricular activities is an effective way of assisting a student’s transition to Loyola and developing his openness to growth. At Loyola, there are dozens of clubs and at least one to satisfy the curiosity and interests of just about every student. That’s because Loyola encourages students to express their leadership skills by directing and, if desired, creating new clubs and activities. In order to form a new club, a student need only develop a mission statement, find a core group of members, and locate a faculty/staff moderator. Some of the school’s most vibrant activities – from dodge ball to the Culinary Club, from robotics to whiffle ball – are the result of student-led formation.

Can I get extra help if I need it?

Loyola students are instructed and encouraged to be self-regulated, self-directed learners, and, as such, are expected to seek help when needed rather than waiting for the teacher to suggest ways to improve. However, most students quickly learn that, upon request and at mutually beneficial times, teachers will meet with their students to collaborate on papers and projects, to reinforce skills, and to help prepare to major assessments. In addition, Loyola provides a Writing Lab, where students can obtain guidance on writing projects, and a drop-in Math Lab, where students can receive one-on-one support for that subject. Students requiring more intensive support may be assigned a tutor from the National Honor Society. Also, teachers will make available a variety of support material linked to their assignments on NetClassroom, Loyola’s online grade book and campus community.

Do you have lots of Masses?

The Loyola community celebrates four Masses during the school year. Members of all faiths are encouraged to participate. Through their scheduled Religion classes, all students Loyola are instructed in the meaning and ceremony of the rites and liturgy of the Mass that they might experience a service based in age-appropriate reverence and spiritual contemplation. For those who desire more frequent opportunities to worship, Mass is celebrated each morning at 7:20 a.m. in the Chapel where all are welcomed.

Do I have to apply to go to the Upper School?

Students enrolled in Loyola’s Middle School matriculate directly to the Upper School so long as they are in students in good standing.

Is there an advantage to going to Loyola for middle school over my own school?

Each school has its own virtues. However, by attending Loyola, a student could benefit from smaller class sizes that allow for appropriate but exceptional acceleration, from first-class academic and athletic facilities, and from a curriculum designed to promote best practices for teaching boys.

Do you welcome students who are not Catholic?

Loyola does not try to take the place of a young man’s family house of worship. Instead, our goal is to lead each student on a spiritual journey, to help him discover for himself his core beliefs so that he might use those gifts to create a better world. Young men of all denominations and degrees of devotion learn from each other in Religion classes, service trips, and class retreats where group discussion and personal reflection lead each person to a better understanding of self. The presence of young men of many faiths enriches the Loyola community and helps make all present more faithful believers whatever their religious traditions.