St. Andrew’s Middle School is a small, structured, and supportive program.
Faculty work with students on academic content, while at the same time developing students’ study skills and organizational strategies. As a result, students work to become independent learners, increase their sense of self-esteem, and gain confidence in their abilities.
Students in our Middle School study within the International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Programme (MYP),* which serves students in grades 6 through 10. With a focus on interdisciplinary teaching and learning, the MYP addresses the developmental needs of students in this age group and prepares them for participation in the IB Diploma Programme, postsecondary success, and life in an increasingly interconnected world.
The IB MYP challenges students to make practical connections between their studies and the real world - and is inclusive by design, with students of all interests and academic abilities benefiting from their participation. Within our Middle School's small, tailored classes, students are supported in their development to become effective communicators, critical thinkers, efficient workers, and strong community members.
Middle School is a time of great transition. Our students are navigating early adolescence; they crave independence and autonomy, but perhaps more than ever need the supportive safety nets of both home and school to ensure their continued growth. We seek to provide not only a caring environment, but one that also challenges and motivates our students to become the best version of themselves. This growth will include understanding the importance of setting high expectations and the positive role that learning from failure can play in building one’s work ethic, as well as one’s sense of resiliency and self-reliance.
Through these myriad and often unpredictable changes, it is most important that our students feel known and valued in an authentic way, which is why a strong partnership between home and school is essential to their experience.
As they progress through Middle School, students begin to identify opportunities for positive risk taking and grapple with the challenges that come with being pushed outside of one’s comfort zone — in the classroom, on the sports field, on the stage, or during social activities.
An important part of the Middle School experience is the opportunity to engage in after-school athletic and activity programming. St. Andrew’s Middle School students have the opportunity to play on two competitive teams — soccer in the fall and basketball in the winter. Eighth grade students have the opportunity to try out for any of our Upper School teams, which includes cross-country, lacrosse, tennis, squash, crew, and golf, in addition to soccer and basketball.
Middle School students may also choose instead to participate in one of our after-school activity offerings. These include a fall performing arts event, spring musical or play, art club, homework club, yearbook, and 3D printing and design.
In Middle School, each student is assigned an advisor, who is responsible for supporting holistic development and well being as each student progresses through their Middle School experience. Advisors are in contact with their advisees on a daily basis and attend Morning Meeting with their advising group twice per week. Students check out with their advisors at the end of each day, and meet with their advising group twice a week. During advising sessions, students may spend time reviewing their progress with advisors or participating in different activities that are meant to build community and connection. Advisory groups range in size from 6-8 students and the composition includes mixed grade levels.
Each fall, all students in the Middle School travel to Hulbert Outdoor Educational Center in Fairlee, Vermont for two nights and three days. Hulbert features a world class outdoor learning program. The program is designed to help build individual and collective leadership skills, as well as help students to develop their critical thinking, communication, and problem solving skills. They have a talented and caring staff, expertise in designing individualized, expeditionary learning programs for schools, and beautiful facilities. Hulbert is a nut free campus and students will stay in winterized cabins with adult supervision, including members of the Middle School faculty.
Project Adventure is a spring course for our Middle School students centered around our ropes and obstacle course. It is designed to instill personal confidence, improve group dynamics, and develop strong communication skills. Through individual and group exercises, students participate in activities that stress the need for cooperation, communication, and problem-solving. Through these experiences, students learn how to navigate challenges and increase awareness of the importance of both effort and failure in the learning process. It’s also a whole lot of fun!. Each activity is debriefed, which allows students to both reflect on their challenges as well as successes.