Ages 12 & up, a two year cycle for grades 7 and 8
The Middle School is part transition zone, part staging area, part performance, part R & D space, part Silicon Valley, and part launching pad. It is the place where the key materials of one’s childhood classrooms are traded for the tools of society: where the manipulative is exchanged for the calculator; the notebook for the computer, the concrete for the abstract. The Middle School environment serves the ample reflective, introspective, and intellectual needs of the adolescent. It also serves as refuge during a tumultuous phase of development as students prepare for entry into adult society. The need to “follow the adolescent” is great and the environment must keep up, must be there to support, must encourage them to push on. The Middle School environment is all about flexibility and technology, large scale projects and intimate dialogue. The essence of the Middle School environment is that it meets the radically changing and diverse interests, passions, and needs of the adolescent.
Middle School Curriculum
Welcome to Hilltop Montessori Middle School and to the world of budding and flourishing adolescence. A word about adolescent development – this is a time of intense physical growth and an increased focus on socialization and self-involvement, a new plane of development from the great intellectual awakening of their upper elementary years. Juxtaposed with this self-involvement is also the quest to understand their individual place in the world while they grapple with “who likes who”, “don’t standout”, “I don’t want to be like everyone else” and “who am I?” It is said that these years are most similar to their days in the Children’s House as 3-6 year olds.
The Middle School curriculum, “What does it mean to be Human?” is a program that strives for an equal balance of socialization and academic skills; direct hands-on connections with community and the examination of expansive concepts; prepared environments and classrooms in the woods, the streets of Brattleboro, and beyond.
The Middle School program is based on strong skill building. All the curricular work connects directly to the growth of academic and social skills. The studies are integrated across discipline lines but, unlike the elementary years, the staff is far more specialized in their particular areas of interest.
Average number of students in a class: 25-30
Number of teachers: 4 full-time
First graduating class: 1996
Number of graduates: 211