Learning at the Middle School
By engaging students’ intellectual curiosity and enthusiasm for learning in an innovative, engaging and challenging academic program, faculty help students to become self-reliant learners who strive for academic excellence. A school-wide focus on developing positive social and emotional skills is essential to students understanding themselves and to their success as learners.
View an interactive version of the Curriculum Guide, click here.
Download a PDF of the Curriculum Guide, click here.
Learning is fun! Teachers find really creative ways for us to show what we’ve learned.
- A fourth-grade student
With a focus on inquiry, creativity and hands-on learning, the MKA Middle School fosters extended experiential and collaborative classroom experiences that expand students’ knowledge and allow them to make connections to the world around them.
Instructional choices are based on educational research, helping us best reach our students and enhance their learning. Because brain research indicates that Middle School students need frequent opportunities to process what they learn, direct instruction is interspersed with opportunities to synthesize and check understanding. Collaborative opportunities are carefully structured to leverage student voices.
Across all disciplines, teachers provide copious feedback and frequently encourage students to revise their thinking, not just edit their work.
. . .teachers go out of their way to help you and to be available in person and online.
- An eighth-grade student
Middle School faculty are Middle School specialists, and they are fully dedicated to and embrace the joys of teaching students this age. They foster independence by providing challenge, guidance and support as students work towards mastery.
Students build close partnerships with their teachers through class interaction as well as by working with them in small groups or individually in Collaborative Work Period, during recess or after school.
The daily schedule provides age-appropriate opportunities for innovative teaching and learning. All Middle School students enjoy two outside recesses daily, which research has indicated are essential not only to health, but also to effective learning. Every day, Collaborative Work Periods enable students to work with teachers or peers, or independently.
Lower House students (grades 4 and 5) follow a modified elementary school model, in which they learn and travel to most classes with their advisor groups. Lower House students have their own dedicated lunch period.
Upper House students (grades 6–8) move throughout the school according to individualized 10-day schedules. All students engage in core academic courses that include English, history, math, science, world language, fine and performing arts, physical education and health. World language—Chinese, French and Spanish—is tailored to a variety of entry levels. Fine and performing arts include dance, music, theater arts, media arts and visual arts.
Students may also explore and extend their interests by participating in a variety of school-day activities, such as advanced music groups (Advanced Strings, Jazz Band and Chamber Singers), coding, Student Government, Student Laptop Leaders and Green Group. After school, all students can participate in specialized clubs, such as Robotics, Stagecraft and Stop Motion Video. Upper House students are able to join a wide array of interscholastic team sports.
Advisor groups help me to meet new people.
- A sixth-grade student
The Middle School advisory program guarantees that every child has at least one adult at school who knows him or her well and serves as both advisor and advocate. Middle School students begin and end their day in advisory, where they can connect with faculty advisors and get academic advice. To meet academic demands, students must first feel a strong sense of belonging to a community that values who they are. This begins in advisory and extends to all aspects of school life.
During extended advisor periods, Middle School students engage in a curriculum designed to help them build the social and emotional skills they need to be productive students and members of the MKA community. These include understanding their own emotions, relating to others, seeing and valuing different perspectives, conveying empathy and communicating effectively. Students learn and practice these skills regularly so that they can better understand themselves and develop meaningful relationships.
of Middle School students engage with the world through an unparalleled assembly program.
of Middle School students go on an annual overnight trip with their grade level to build community.
of students in grade 4 visit Ellis Island to research a family's primary-source immigration records.
of students in grade 6 commit to a service-learning project through grade 8.
of students in grade 8 design and conduct an independent scientific research experiment.