"We prepare students to engage in the world that is and to help bring about a world that ought to be."

Middle School

Explore the Curriculum

Middle School is an opportunity to explore the real world, develop lifelong learning skills, form meaningful relationships, and fail forward—all while having fun and laughing. The beauty of Middle School is the way messiness is wrapped inside the joy and innocence of the child. It’s a time for students to make mistakes, embrace discomfort, and learn to do better next time. One moment they organize themselves into games of tag during recess, and the next moment they engage in analysis of primary and secondary source documents from the post-Civil War era, or write and solve algebraic equations. At Friends students are guided and supported by exceptional educators to develop their academic interests, self-discipline and a strong sense of who they are within the context of a larger community. 

On most mornings, the Middle School comes together for Meeting for Worship, relishing in the stillness and calm that can often be difficult to find in the midst of the bustling city. This time together is an important element of the Friends experience, as it fosters a strong sense of community and belonging. Students also meet weekly in their advisory group. This space is the anchor for supporting students in their social and emotional needs, as these smaller groups allow for more intimate connections and community building while also addressing topics and needs that are most relevant to the students. 

The Middle School experience at Friends is designed and structured in a way which fosters student independence, responsibility, curiosity, creativity and intellect in a developmentally appropriate manner. Beginning in fifth grade, the curriculum is fully departmentalized, and students travel to their classes alongside their peers within their homeroom. By seventh and eighth grades, students have individualized schedules which reflect their math, language and instrumental music placements. The Middle School curriculum is written to develop student skills within a growing range, not only in reading, writing and mathematics, but also in classical and modern languages, creative expression, athleticism, performing abilities, collaboration and communication. As Friends students move from one grade to the next, not only will they continue to develop and hone their learning skills, but they will also experience an emphasis on learning to master content—all of which will be essential for their educational journey beyond the Middle School years. 

Experiences outside the classroom are equally important, extending the learning beyond the confines of classroom walls. Active participation in school concerts and plays is strongly encouraged; student work adorns our walls; clubs and affinity groups meet regularly during the school day; a variety of interscholastic sports are offered; and our goLEAD program is a robust service learning experience in which all students participate during their four-year Middle School tenure. As a result of learning beyond the classroom, students develop new skills, greater self-confidence, and a sense of stewardship for our school community and the world in which we live. Middle school students at Friends have so much to explore, and there is possibility at every corner. We aspire to offer students opportunities to channel their energy, try something new, and articulate their individuality in a positive way. 

Middle School at Friends is a truly beautiful and wonderful place to be. 

Michelle Cristella
Head of Middle School

Middle School Office

Michelle Cristella
Head of Middle School
(646) 979-5115

J. Penney Peterson
Assistant Head of Middle School 
(646) 979-5108

Afemi Banx
Middle School Assistant
(646) 979-5116
Friends Seminary actively promotes diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism in all its programs and operations, including admissions, financial aid, hiring, and all facets of the educational experience. To form a community which strives to reflect the world’s diversity, we do not discriminate on the basis of race or color, religion, nationality, ethnicity, economic background, physical ability, sex, gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation. Friends Seminary is an equal opportunity employer.

222 East 16th Street
New York, NY 10003
P: 212-979-5030
F: 212.979.5034
Friends Seminary — the oldest continuously operated, coeducational school in NYC — serves college-bound day students in Kindergarten-Grade 12.