Middle School – Gutenberg
Where Essential Academic Skills Meet Real-World Learning
We take an interdisciplinary approach to learning, which results in deeper engagement and more “sticky” learning experiences for students. In everything we do, we incorporate social-emotional learning to give students the skills and habits they need to become the people they want to be. Our learning environment encourages conflict management, problem-solving, critical thinking, and self-governance. The Middle School experience culminates in a capstone trip with eighth-graders from both campuses.
The Middle School aims to offer an authentic educational experience, developing joyful, lifelong learners who are prepared to positively influence their world. Through project-based learning, students develop essential academic skills while learning to collaborate and communicate effectively to solve problems. We embrace students as individuals as we guide them through healthy development for their own success, as well as the benefit of their communities.
An interdisciplinary, project-based approach allows students to connect content, skills, and dispositions across subject areas. Our inquiry-based curriculum is grounded in observing, asking relevant questions, making predictions, and collecting data to understand the world through multiple lenses. This multifaceted approach leaves students prepared for Upper School and beyond.
Students are encouraged to take intellectual risks, ask and answer their own questions, and express their unique thoughts and ideas. Middle School faculty work hard to provide opportunities for student voice and choice. Our learning environment encourages conflict management, problem-solving, critical thinking, and self-governance.
Community Engagement Pathway
Community at Mountain Academy incorporates the classroom, school, and local and global realms. Communities serve as learning ecosystems for our school, where local and regional experts, experiences, and places are part of the expanded definition of a classroom. We build reciprocal relationships with local and regional partners to impact the community and enable immersive student learning.
“I’m happy to be at Mountain Academy because, no matter the circumstance, our community focuses on staying positive. I was a little nervous going into Middle School, but my teachers and friends support me so much, I feel right at home. And the campus is epic!”
Quote from Middle School Student ’28
Capstone: Rite of Passage for 8th-Grade Students
A Rite of Passage (ROP) is typically a ceremony marking the transition from one phase to another, usually from adolescence to adulthood.
At Mountain Academy our Rite of Passage is steeped in tradition. Eighth-grade students travel to Red Canyon Ranch outside of Lander, Wyoming, where they spend the week climbing, backpacking, building fires, taking on leadership roles, participating in a solo experience, and reflecting on their journey. The learning from these experiences is tremendous and our eighth graders come home ready for the challenge of moving into the upper school.
Some objectives for the Rite of Passage are:
- Foster and celebrate personal transformation and growth to mark the transition from one phase of life to another: the often tumultuous transition from adolescence to adulthood
- Promote self-reliance, independence, and collaboration in potentially challenging situations through the learning of primitive skills (journal making, fire building, climbing, shelter set-up, cooking with basic food rations, and a 10-hour solo)
- Practice appropriate risk management and leave no trace skills for the wilderness setting
Students will examine the following essential questions:
- How do I show initiative to take care of myself and my peers?
- How do I show grit in the face of challenge?
- How do I use reflection to better know myself and prepare for what is next?
Each student and their parents/guardians work with a faculty advisor who provides guidance regarding long-term academic planning, social and emotional development, and community performance. Our goal together in these learning teams is to develop strong, supportive adult-child relationships that are so critical during the middle years. Advisories meet each week, and the advisor serves as the primary contact between school and home.
About Our Schedule
(Sample daily schedule)
8:25 – Morning Meeting
8:50 – Math/ELA/Spanish
9:50 – Art/Math/ELA/Music/Study Hall/History
10:50 – Break
11:00 – ELA/Science/Spanish
12:00 – Lunch
11:00 – Science/History
2:00 – Advisory
2:10 – History/Spanish/Science/SEL/Elective
3:10 – Hands to Work
3:15 – Dismissal