Our middle school serves an example of the positive experience that students and their families can have during the phase of rapid growth and intense change that occurs between ages 12 and 15. Students appreciate intellectual challenge and opportunities for meaningful work through which they can explore possible roles for them in the world. With opportunities for both independence and community, they grow as adaptable members of a team and they begin to create a vision for their personal future.
At Mountaintop, we have one middle school class in which students study all of the subjects traditionally covered in these grades at all types of schools while also gaining self-confidence and self-knowledge that are not often found among this age group in other settings.
Schedule: Students' work at this age takes place in a whole-class seminar format that stands in contrast to the small-group lessons of their elementary years. The schedule includes blocks of time dedicated to particular subjects as they are both ready to benefit from seminar work and preparing for the more traditional schedule that they will encounter in high school.
Practical Life: Elements of the practical life curriculum that students have experienced over their years at Mountaintop come to fruition in this classroom where students are responsible for maintaining a clean classroom and planning meals, regular social events, and a week-long trip as a group. Individual growth and preparation for the level of freedom and personal decision-making that lie just ahead in high school are addressed in through regular health and wellness sessions.
Leadership & Entrepreneurship: The middle school classroom is a bustling micro-economy in which students earn money by delivering pizza on campus on Fridays and operating a snack shop. Profits are used for a class trip in the spring. All students assume leadership postions that support the business.
Language: Writing permeates work in many disciplines from analytical and persuasive writing to substantial research papers that students write twice each year. Literature is used both for discussion of issues that are important to the students and as examples of the various styles and structures used by authors. Across all forms of writing, students provide feedback to each other on works-in-progress. Presentation skills are also honed regularly.
Math: Students earn high school credit for Algebra I and have the option of going on to a Geometry course for high school credit as well.
History & Culture: In the middle school years many students take a new interest in current events around the world and are drawn to social action. These inclinations make this period a natural time to study history and find patterns and connections to contemporary issues.
Science & Permaculture: Lessons in the sciences flow from students' need to understand biology, chemistry and physical science in order to keep the web of living things on campus healthy and productive.
Technology: Students acquire essential skills in technology and their expanding use of technology at this age for both research and social purposes is supported by ongoing lessons on safe and appropriate use.
Creative Expression: Students continue working in the visual and performing arts. Creative use of their growing repertoire of culinary skills is a popular pursuit and creative work in technology is also available. Students can specialize within these disciplines through a series of electives from which they can choose.