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Middle School

Adolescence is an extraordinary time in childhood development. Students experience countless physical, emotional, and cognitive changes that make it a crucial juncture along their educational journey.

Middle Schoolers thrive when they feel safe, supported, and are known by teachers and their peers. This makes it particularly important for them to experience uplifting and positive learning environments so that they may explore who they are as learners during this key developmental phase.

St. Mary’s Middle School strives to meet the needs of this unique group of learners by creating a transformative academic program that is appropriately challenging and allows the brain to flex and grow. Through being exposed to a diverse range of curricular and co-curricular elements, students begin to understand their talents and interests in order to prepare them, and inform their choices, for any educational and professional pursuits in the future.

Dustin Mittelsteadt 

Head of Middle School

x314  |  dustin.mittelsteadt@smaa.org

St. Mary’s Middle School has an articulated 6-8 academic program, designed to bridge the transition from lower school to high school.

Rooted in inquiry, learning in Middle School is authentic, complex and intellectually rigorous. Through carefully designed collaborative and individual challenges and projects, students discover and master foundational skills in traditional academic disciplines while learning to make meaningful interdisciplinary connections between coursework and real life. Students learn to grapple with the unknown, embrace multiple perspectives, and create novel solutions. By giving students choice, autonomy, and high expectations for growth, we harness intrinsic motivation as the engine for academic excellence. 

The MS program develops key knowledge, skills and understandings in Language Arts, Social Studies, Mathematics and Science. Students also develop their competencies in the areas of The Arts, Physical and Health Education, Design, and Modern Languages (Spanish, French, or Mandarin). The MS follows a 5-day schedule, with six class blocks and a rotating co-curricular block each day.

Explore our Curriculum Guide to learn more about how each grade level and subject makes this ambitious Middle School vision come to life. And for more information about our MYP framework explore our IB pages.

Middle School Co-Curricular Elements

Complementing our academic program, St. Mary’s Middle School offers many co-curricular elements created to meet students’ social and emotional needs, explore individual pursuits and enhance the culture and climate of Middle School. Co-curricular activities may not be tested or graded, but they educate and benefit students in lasting and impactful ways. Some signature co-curricular elements of the Middle School are:

  • Grade Level Field Studies

    • Grade 6: Catalina Island
    • Grade 7: Yosemite National Park
    • Grade 8: Washington, D.C.
  • Intersession

  • Student Life

    • Activities

    • Advisory

    • Chapel

  • Discovery Courses

  • Tutorial