Program Overview of the Middle School
The Orchard School’s Middle School (MS) includes approximately 260 students in grades five through eight. Students in fifth grade transition from self-contained classes in the Elementary School (ES) to become part of a grade level of classmates in MS.
Each grade level is grouped in a variety of ways for various classes and activities and are instructed and guided by a specific team of teachers.
MS students develop increased independence and personal responsibility and accountability as they encounter increasingly higher expectations for academic and behavioral excellence.
The MS program provides a well-rounded education, including core academics, arts, and physical education, and centers around the academic, social, and emotional needs of young adolescents. Additionally, all MS students have use of a laptop computer during the school day.
Units of study at each grade level promote integrated learning, multiple perspectives, social development, and a balanced education. Teachers differentiate instruction by providing various levels of content, methods of delivery, and options for students to represent learning.
MS teachers model Orchard’s commitment to a “love of learning” and demonstrate flexibility. Teachers encourage students and create active, engaging lessons and units of study. The MS faculty strive to ensure that graduates meet the high expectations of the Orchard diploma, which calls for “ethical character, academic excellence, and demonstration of service.”
Significant Elements of the Middle School
- Advisory and home circles are small groups of students that meet daily. Click here to learn more about Advisory.
- Specific courses in MS are:
- Social Studies/History
- Language Arts
- Music (Band, Choir, Orchestra)
- Analytical Reasoning
- Physical Education
- In addition to specific course instruction, teams create integrated levels that enable students to make connections across the disciplines.
- All MS grade levels have out-of-town study trips with strong curricular connections (grade five to the Cherokee Elementary School in North Carolina, grade six to St. Louis, grade seven to Chicago, and grade eight to Washington, D.C. and Williamsburg, Virginia).
- A partnering relationship is encouraged among parents and teachers. Reporting of individual student progress is based on a four-quarter system of grades and comments.
- Regular homework assignments that are developmentally appropriate for each grade level reinforce classroom work, challenge and enrich, foster self-discipline, and promote organizational skills and study habits. Click here to learn more about Orchard's homework philosophy.
- The Middle School Kids Connect before/after-school program includes clubs, classes, and athletics.
- Both the administration and faculty, particularly the eighth grade advisors, have a close relationship with the high schools that most of our graduates attend. There is a strong commitment to finding the high school that will be the most appropriate experience for each child.