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Why Middle School at Friends Academy?

Middle School students at Friends aren’t stuck in the middle – they’re the leaders of the school. In contrast with common middle school stereotypes, Friends Academy’s sixth, seventh, and eighth graders are seen and accepted for who they are, able to challenge themselves in a safe environment, and rise to the occasion in everyday settings – whether your child comes up from Lower School or begins at Friends for Middle School.

In their academic classes, Middle School students dive deep into math, language arts, social studies, science, and world languages (Spanish or Latin) through an engaging hands-on, project-based curriculum. Rather than simply memorizing information for tests, they are asked to think critically, use their creativity, and collaborate with others. The rigor builds with each grade, as we intentionally design our curriculum to align with what secondary schools are looking for in their students when they graduate from eighth grade.

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    Slide 1: The environment where your child spends their days matters – and at Friends, we offer a newly renovated Middle School facility that was designed specifically for the needs of middle schoolers.
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    Slide 2: In classrooms, students have flexible options for where they sit and how they learn, including traditional desks and chairs as well as standing desks and cushioned wobble seating. This gives students the agency to decide which options help them focus best.
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    Slide 3: Mobile power outlets allow students to charge their devices without having to sit against a wall – which means teachers can better monitor their electronic work.
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    Slide 4: On both floors of the building, common areas give students bright, open places to gather between classes. These common spaces also offer a variety of seating options – from hightop tables and chairs to low, cushiony couches – to accommodate meetings, group work, social gatherings, and individual time.
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    Slide 5: Students stow their belongings in lockers, providing an important opportunity each morning to practice planning and organization – part of our efforts to intentionally build students’ executive functioning skills.
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    Slide 6: Outside of the Middle School building, students spend time throughout our 65-acre campus, where they are the oldest students in an Early Childhood to eighth grade setting.

Within the Middle School’s small community atmosphere, students create trusted relationships with peers and adults. Not only does this prevent students from slipping through the cracks, it also makes them more comfortable with presenting and sharing ideas. Research backs this up: Students in schools with longer grade spans (like Early Childhood to eighth grade at Friends) are more likely to feel safe and perform better in school than at a standalone middle school.

Friends also stands out from other middle school options because of our emphasis on strengthening social, emotional, and executive function skills – from organization and time management to communication, flexibility, and sustaining attention. Students get regular feedback on their patterns of work and behavior, allowing them to learn from their mistakes and grow. These skills are crucial for success as students head to secondary school when they graduate from eighth grade.

“Friends doesn’t just teach academics — they support and uplift mind, body, and soul. That’s why we love them.”

Parents of a Middle School student

Explore Middle School

Students enter Middle School from Friends Academy’s Lower School as well as many other area elementary schools.

Sixth Grade

Newly minted Middle School students develop their identities and start to become school leaders — with caring faculty to provide a guiding hand.

Seventh Grade

As responsibilities and rigor increase, seventh grade retains the close-knit relationships and collaborative support during a pivotal year of growth.

Eighth Grade

While reflecting and preparing for secondary school, eighth graders mark their final year at FA through leadership, learning, and community.

Imagine Your Graduate

FA graduates think critically, express themselves clearly, and rise to the occasion – qualities that serve them well in secondary school and beyond.

Features of the Middle School Experience

  • A Middle School student raises their hand in class.

    Longer Class Periods

    Class periods expand from 45 to 60 minutes in Middle School. This allows teachers to explore topics more deeply and students to engage in longer periods of project-based learning, including discussions and labs.

  • A Middle School teacher high fives a student

    Trusted Relationships

    Because our class sizes are small, Middle School students build close relationships with peers and adults. This is emphasized in morning advisory, when students meet in small groups with a teacher to talk, reflect, and prepare.

  • A Middle School student teaches an elderly person how to use a computer during off-campus service learning.

    Service Learning

    Middle School students take part in weekly service learning experiences. Sixth graders serve on campus to help our school community, while seventh and eighth graders travel off campus to support community organizations.

  • A Middle School student helps a third grade student with reading.

    Leadership and Mentorship

    As an Early Childhood-Grade 8 school, Friends Academy gives Middle School students opportunities to lead, mentor, and be role models to younger students in Lower School.

  • A Middle School student paddles a canoe during Outside the Classroom Week.

    Outside the Classroom Week

    At the start of each school year, Middle School grade levels take part in a week of discovering, learning, and bonding with peers and teachers during on-campus activities and off-campus trips.

  • Two Middle School students perform on stage in a musical.

    Extracurricular Activities

    Outside of their classes, Middle School students can take part in interscholastic athletics and musical productions. We also offer clubs and affinity groups devoted to Middle School student interests.

  • Sixth grade students play at recess.

    Two Recess Periods Per Day

    Big kids need to move their bodies, too! All Middle School students get two recess periods per day, with access to ping pong tables, a gaga pit, and a basketball court.

Make the Move to Middle School

Take the next step toward Friends Academy by requesting more information or beginning an application for your child today.

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Meet the Head of Middle School, Tim Cleary

“Relationships are a particular point of pride for me in Middle School. Each faculty member knows our students in unique and meaningful ways that transcend the typical teacher-student connection.

One of the things I hear most often from new families is how comfortable their student feels – like they are ‘right at home.’ New students find peers who they relate to rather quickly, and they are surrounded by some of the most caring adults I’ve been able to work alongside.”

News & Stories About Middle School

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Events

November 27, 2023

Fifth and Sixth Graders Fly High in “Peter Pan, Jr.”

Congratulations to the cast and crew of Peter Pan, Jr. on three wonderful performances! Watch the full evening show. Read More

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Events

October 6, 2023

Back to School Night Brings Parents and Guardians into the Classroom

At Back to School Night each fall, parents and guardians take a turn in their children’s seats and experience what school is like for them. Read More

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News

September 28, 2023

Renovated Middle School Building Reopens to Students

After a summer-long interior renovation, Middle School students and faculty returned to the Stites Building yesterday. Read More