We strive not only to challenge our middle school 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.
Beginning in the 2018-2019 school year, our middle-school program will consist of two classes, a combined 5th-6th grade class and a combined 7th-8th grade class. A mixed-age classroom offers our students many benefits: the consistency of working with the same team of teachers for two or three years, the flexibility to reach broader academic goals at their own pace, and the valuable experience of being both followers and leaders within the same setting. Each classroom has a unique environment designed to best meet the needs of that particular age group.
Fifth-Sixth Grade Classroom
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-Eigth Grade Classroom
This class 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 addition to classes, study hall, and the chance to participate in Afternoon Activities with the rest of the school, middle-school students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of workshops to supplement their learning. One afternoon a week, our students will take a break from classes to explore topics like study skills, computer coding, fine arts, building with tools, business, and cooking. 8th grade students will take part in a year-long capstone project of their choosing, which will incorporate research, writing, and a project presentation.
Independence and Travel
We strive to foster a sense of independence and confidence in our students. When our students transition to middle school, they begin to learn about the importance of responsibility as leaders in our school through the trust and privileges they earn. Middle-school students participate in the Hospitality Sports League and volunteer outside of the school on a monthly basis with Asheville GreenWorks. At least once a month, we leave school on a Friday for a Teen Club outing in order to teach our students about the world outside of the classroom, both through educational field trips and fun team-building outings. We might visit the Mountain State Fair, participate in a high-ropes course, play paint ball, visit a local research laboratory, explore downtown Asheville, search for fungi on a Mountain-to-Sea Trail hike, complete a scavenger hunt, or go on a two-day camp out.
Beginning in the 2018-2019 school year, our middle schoolers will take annual adventure trips to further their learning about the topics we are studying that year. Since our whole school follows the model of a 4-year curriculum rotation, the travel will also rotate every 4 years to keep it relevant to our studies. We were thrilled to announce that the travels will range from Boston to Central America, and lots of places in between.
671 Sand Hill Rd. Asheville, NC 28806 828.225.1993 firstname.lastname@example.org