The Middle School at Joseph S. Bruno Montessori Academy covers the seventh and eighth grades. The middle school years are an important time of personal reflection and growth in adolescents. We work with the students to develop themselves, their personalities, and their values through an open, tolerant environment that encourages discussion and understanding as well as critical reflection and dialogue. Throughout our work we support the institutional mission of helping students achieve their full potential cognitively, socially, emotionally, physically, morally, aesthetically, and spiritually.
Our aim across content areas is to help students develop their own learning goals and expectations for their work and performance. Students are encouraged to ask questions of the material, of others, and of themselves. We work within specific content areas to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills in math, science, English, and history. We challenge students to think and learn across disciplines through projects that combine interdisciplinary tasks.
Students move from a weekly work plan in the Upper Elementary to a mix of daily homework and ongoing self-directed projects.These projects engage students in working collaboratively but also in setting timelines and deadlines for their own learning process as they learn to balance their activities and learning.
We engage the students in active learning through service learning projects and internships with area businesses as well as through their field trips. Middle school students direct the collection and distribution of supplies for various relief and charity efforts like Soles for Souls and the St. Jude Trike-a-thon every year. A yearlong internship with the Exceptional Foundation includes monthly trips to work with physically and/or mentally challenged adults and adolescents.
Eighth graders attend the Montessori Model UN in New York City every year. The seventh and eighth graders work together as ambassadors to study real issues affecting their given country. While the eighth grades go to the UN, the seventh graders complete their internship during Work Force Week. This involves students selecting a professional area that interests them and working in that environment.
Active research with real world application is a critical part of the week-long middle school trip that all the middle school students take each year; the trip is planned by students as part of their learning. Students identify where they want to go and present their options to the class, make collective choices on the final destination, including budgets and activities and then fundraising to make their trip possible. Trips in recent years have included Oregon, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Maine, and the Everglades.