A Montessori Inspired Middle School
Montessori-inspired schools offer children opportunities to become independent learners, express their unique personalities and develop a life-long love of learning.
Authentic learning opportunities with integrated subjects
The Valley School's curriculum is thoughtfully designed to meet the developmental needs of students in sixth, seventh and eighth grade. The standards are taught in an integrated, multi-disciplinary way. Field study and meaningful inquiry-driven projects anchor the learning units. The projects center on current real-world topics in science, technology, engineering business and global studies.
STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)
At the Valley School, we know that strong skills in math and science are critical to our children's future high school success and career options. Many of our current middle school students will have jobs that we don't even have names for today and may be in the fastest growing industries, of health, research, engineering, aerospace and biotech. This will require our students to have a good amount of proficiency in the sciences, technology, mathematics and engineerings. Our goal is to encourage our students to explore and learn to love the STEM subject areas, to build their confidence, curiosity, and proficiency in these areas so they continue to take STEM classes in high school and beyond.
Project Based Learning
Subjects are not taught apart from one another as in a traditional "block schedule approach". You will see students working independently or collaboratively on projects where they might be researching from primary resources, analyzing data to construct graphs and timelines, conducting interviews or performing scientific experiments. Project based learning is academically challenging, aligns with grade-level standards and builds the valuable skills of information synthesis, problem solving, critical thinking, collaboration, communication and creativity/innovation. The projects are centered on STEM subjects. Literature, history, global studies and the arts compliment the topics being studied. Explicit reading, writing and math skills are taught and practiced in small-group workshops while meaningfully imbedded into the project-based learning.
Students’ social-emotional needs are met at the Valley School through the integration of social skill building and the modeling positive and caring interpersonal communication skills. We aim to nurture spirits through the acceptance of each others' viewpoints and background. We take proactive steps to create an environment where everyone feels safe and welcome to express their individuality. We build our community through daily meetings, democratic decision making, shared student leadership opportunities, students choice, personalized learning goals and volunteer service projects within the community. We emphasise successful cooperative learning and teamwork.
We know that physically active kids are happier and perform better academically. It is important that teens get activity and movement breaks throughout the school day for improved concentration, focus and motivation. Our physical fitness program is varied and includes games and intramural sports that improve coordination, strength, flexibility, endurance and sportsmanship.
Systematic and routine academic screenings and progress monitoring systems will be established in core subjects to assure that students are making adequate progress toward meeting grade-level expectations set by the State-adopted Common Core Standards. Students performing below benchmark on these screenings will be given more in-depth diagnostic assessments so that targeted interventions using research-based instructional methods may be delivered to fill any gaps, target weaknesses and bring students up to grade level. Instead of a "one size fits all" model to education, we believe that with thoughtful planning and flexibility, we are able to individualize student learning goals to meet everyone's needs and keep all students challenged.