Middle school students are grappling with essential questions such as “Who am I?” while trying to make sense of the world around them and figure out how they fit in. With this in mind, our Middle School program offers students the opportunity to learn more about themselves and their world, while developing the skills and character necessary to be successful as they move on to Upper School and beyond.
In Middle School, teachers know that their students learn most effectively when they are emotionally engaged and actively involved; middle schoolers learn best by “doing.” Teachers challenge themselves to make the most of the substantial energy and enthusiasm that characterize middle schoolers while incorporating opportunities to develop good citizenship and nurture creativity. Faculty provide students with the support and personal attention necessary to realize their individual potential. Many of the Harvard Graduate School of Education Project Zero Thinking Routines practices are embedded in our program.
Classrooms are learning spaces where risks are taken in an environment of mutual trust and understanding. Our program is varied, and opportunities to experience and explore are numerous. Middle schoolers practice mindfulness, study a core curriculum, and further develop a variety of communication, problem-solving, thinking, listening, and organization skills, which results in increasing academic self-confidence. Students participate in the visual and performing arts and choose an elective to further enhance their learning. Each middle schooler has an advisor who counsels the student in academic and social matters, serves as the liaison between the student and other members of the school community, and communicates regularly with parents. Advisory groups enhance the sense of belonging of middle schoolers and explore a multi-faceted curriculum that helps build character, self-awareness, and perspective.
Assessments are varied and are learning experiences in and of themselves. Many are designed to reinforce the importance of effective collaboration and communication skills. Opportunities for thoughtful reflection encourage students to set goals and to persevere to achieve them. Day and overnight trips further augment the curriculum in each grade. Middle schoolers thrive in an atmosphere of increasing independence, one in which they are encouraged to develop passions, skills, knowledge, and character while retaining the wonder and excitement that undergird exploration. As one middle schooler quipped, “We work hard and we have fun.”
Middle School Division Head