Middle School is a time of explosive growth and irrepressible energy, joyful exuberance and change; a time when children are likely to value peer relationships and friendships more than time with mom, dad or teachers. Stepping out of the world of childhood into adolescence is a process of self-discovery requiring new and thoughtful decision-making strategies to meet increasingly complex challenges and demands. We are ever mindful of the need to provide an educational environment rich in intellectual rigor but also in safety, humor, compassion, challenge and fun.
Students at New Roads Middle School participate in a core curriculum consisting of Humanities (combined Language Arts and Social Science), Mathematics, Science and Spanish, further enriched by a diverse program of Sports, Arts and other Electives, by our Workshop for Social, Economic, and Ecological Action, our Human Development Program, and our program of Independent Study. Typical class sizes range from 16-20, with Workshops and electives often as small as 10 – 12.
During the middle school years we encourage students to take ownership of their educational experience. From the beginning, we engage them in a process, together with their teachers and parents, of setting individual goals for growth and for learning. Throughout the school year, we ask the students to reflect upon how they are progressing towards the goals they have established and how their own learning strategies are helping or hindering them in this process. The school year culminates with each student’s presentation of a “portfolio” of self-selected work that represents the story of that student’s learning for the year.
We do not use standard letter grading to assess students at the middle school level. Our program is geared toward development and understanding of fundamental skills rather than towards competition for grades. Teachers set expectations for skill acquisition and assess students with respect to whether they have exceeded, met, or not yet met the desired skill level.