The Middle School years are a time of exploration and skill development for children. At Friends, students are encouraged to develop their academic interests, self-discipline and a good sense of self within the context of an expanding sense of community.
On most mornings, the Middle School gathers for Meeting for Worship, reaching for stillness in the midst of city noise. This is a gathering time and creates a sense of belonging to the school community. Students also meet in their advisory or homeroom groups on a regular basis; these also contribute to a student’s sense of belonging and provide an opportunity for self-reflection. For middle school students, there are opportunities to engage in new activities and to interact with a range of ages. Beginning in fifth grade, the curriculum is fully departmentalized in the Middle School and students travel to classes along with other students their homeroom. The seventh and eighth grade students have individualized schedules that reflect their Math and Language placements. The curriculum is designed to develop a growing range of skills, not only in reading, writing and mathematical understanding, but also in modern and classical languages, creative expression, athletic skills and performing abilities. As students move from the fifth to the eighth grade, the emphasis broadens from learning skills to an increasing emphasis on learning to master content. The teachers work to develop critical thinking and coherent expression in their students. At this age social and emotional skills such as developing self-awareness, working through conflicts and caring for the larger community are important for students to acquire as well.
Learning extends beyond the classroom in a variety of ways: active participation in school concerts and plays is encouraged; student work decorates the school; many interscholastic sports are offered; and service-learning is part of the life of each child in the Middle School. This service is an opportunity to develop new skills, greater confidence, and a sense of stewardship for the community and world at large. Most activities are open to any student who wishes to participate, giving students the chance to experiment with possibility. The Middle School endeavors to create opportunities for students to channel their energy and their need to articulate a growing sense of self in positive ways.
Head of Middle School