Life inside the middle school is intended to simulate the richness and diversity of life outside its walls, providing students with academic, practical, life, and social opportunities that encourage the development of the whole person.
Middle School students begin each school year with a three day retreat. During this time students collaborate with fellow classmates and the Middle School faculty to develop unique guidelines for the current school year. Guidelines include how the Middle School will be governed (such as: required committee work for each student). Students and teachers explain and discuss expectations, and proposals are accepted or rejected by group consensus. The students claim ownership of their program with this as their goal: to make it uniquely their own.
Whether the current school year goal is to improve community service, create more school dances, design a better yearbook, or develop their photography skills, the students, working with teacher/advisors create a richness to their education that could not be created by adults only. Successes and failures are evaluated at student-led meetings and working lunches are the norm for each committee member. This type of atmosphere is an essential component of the VMS Middle School experience.
The VMS Middle School is based on a rigorous core academic program that supports success for all students. The Middle School faculty specialize in the following areas of study: Science, Math, Language Arts, History and Spanish.
The Science curriculum consists of Earth Science, Life Science, and Physical Science. In each class, discussion, experimentation, lab work, and field trips enrich the classroom experience. Math classes are small and specifically designed to meet the needs of each child—whether it be Middle School Math, Pre-Algebra, Algebra or Geometry.
In Language Arts, students focus on the use of language conventions, creativity and the writing process. Active and meaningful participation in literary studies creates a rich environment. The History curriculum allows for each child to explore the” story” of World and American History, building upon the Montessori “Great Lessons.” Middle School students actively participate in individual presentations, field trips, research and discussion in order to find the interconnectedness of all humans.
All students take part in Art, Spanish, Physical Education and Music classes. Additionally, the Middle School offers a wide variety of enrichment courses, such as Math Club, Yearbook class, music, Yoga, Wood Shop, Book club, Musicals, a variety of sports clubs and Running club. Enrichment classes vary by semester. The skills developed by participating in each of these committees, events and classes can be used in all areas of the students’ lives. And, while preparation for high school is of great importance, preparation for life is essential.