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 typically begin each school year with a three day retreat. This year with Covid protocols in place, the retreat will likely be during second semester. However, in the first weeks of the school year, students will continue with the tradition of establishing community norms, guidelines, and programs. Students and teachers will present and discuss goals, expectations, and proposals such as ideas for the middle school run business and other committee ideas that create opportunities for leadership, collaboration, meaningful work, and social activities. A key part of the middle school program is for the students to 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, host sporting events, plan more school dances, design a better yearbook, or produce a podcast, the students, working with teacher/advisors, create a richness to their education that could not be created by adults only. In student-led meetings, students reflect on the successes and challenges of committee work where each student has the opportunity to discover new interests and individual talents and skills. This type of atmosphere is an essential component of the VMS Middle School experience.
Our Middle School is based on a rigorous core academic program that supports success for all students. The faculty specialize in the following areas of study:
Science and Math
The Science curriculum consists of Life Science and Physical Science. 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.
Humanities: Language Arts and History
In Language Arts, students form a community of readers and writers. Through the formation of book clubs and formal novel studies, students explore connections between literature and history, their own lives, and the world around them. As writers, they focus on the power of language conventions, poetic voice, formal writing, and the writing process. The History curriculum allows for each child to explore the “story” of the World including Modern 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.
The focus in each Spanish class is on the following elements: Spanish grammar rules, pronunciation, reading-comprehension, vocabulary and cultural studies. Each day the students will be building their skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing in Spanish.
All students take part in Art, Music, Physical Education, and Technology classes. Additionally, the Middle School offers a wide variety of enrichment courses. 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. While preparation for high school is of great importance, preparation for life is essential.