Our middle school consists of two classrooms: Fifth and Sixth Grades, and Seventh and Eighth Grades.
At this level, a mixed-age classroom allows more academic flexibility for our students and gives them a larger group of peers with whom to interact. Having the same primary teacher for two years is especially beneficial for preteens, as they thrive in environments of consistency and caring. At the same time, students in our middle school also have the experience of having different teachers come in for different subjects, which introduces them to a more typical high-school style of learning.
In our middle school, we strive not only to challenge our students academically, but also to give them a safe and familiar place to learn how to navigate their growing world. By keeping our program small, we can offer a safe place for maturing pre-teens, where they feel loved and valued, and we can provide an education at a more challenging level than is often found in middle-school programs. When our students leave us for high school, we know that they are well prepared for whatever the future holds, in both high school and in life.
Fifth and Sixth Grade
This classroom serves the transition between the grammar stage learning of third and fourth grade, and the logic stage learning of middle school. The facts and rules learned during the grammar stage now serve as a basis for deeper exploration as we begin to ask the students to think about “why?” and “how?”
In this classroom, our students are encouraged to begin to think abstractly, make inferences and connections, and explore open-ended questions.
Our teachers support this transition by working with students on reading difficult texts, writing clearly and concisely, reviewing and studying, and managing their time. The morning academic time is split between quiet time for individual, self-paced work and more formal, structured classes, while in the afternoons students are given the freedom to choose whether to explore activities or work quietly. We also begin the transition to letter grades and homework in this classroom.
Seventh and Eighth Grade
This classroom has a more traditional structure, with two-hour subject blocks during morning work time dedicated to math, English (including grammar, spelling, writing, and literature), Latin, American history, world history, science, and geography.
Students split their afternoons between academics and fun, spending two afternoons each week in teacher-supported study hall.
They are now expected to demonstrate full personal responsibility for their school work by managing a demanding homework load each week. We assign letter grades in all subjects to increase accountability and ease the transition to high school. Students do advanced academic work in preparation for the Honors or Advanced Placement track in high school.