Define Middle School. Bounding physical energy. Hilarity. Passionate likes and dislikes. Easily hurt feelings. Demands for authenticity, leaps to quick conclusions, creativity and frustration, uncertainty and ideals. The Lexington School GETS middle schoolers. That means every day we offer balance, understanding, and days full of absorbing activity.
Picture adolescents busily engaged in metric games, dramatic reenactments, group projects, and lively classroom discusions. It looks like fun because it is. That picture coupled with TLS alumni success is proof of how our innovative middle school curriculum, designed by our own faculty on the basis of hard research about how young adolescents learn, works.
When you chart something—whether it’s the position of a star, the plot line of a novel, or the rise and fall of market shares, you assert order. You observe, postulate, graph, and consider. The result is new knowledge and a new basis for application.
Through increasing levels of responsibility and independence, our Middle School students learn to channel their adolescent natures into productive, curious, critical thinkers who are ready for the most demanding secondary schools. We chart them, and watch them rise.
T.H.I.N.K you know what it takes to engage a middle school mind? It takes a schedule that allows for focus and flare with challenging course work and intermittent brain breaks, moments of introduction and time to find and follow a passion. It takes dedicated faculty who build class concepts and curriculum to draw kids into an active experience where he/she finds their best individual experience and turns it into self-advocacy and a lifelong love of learning. Core subjects in sixth grade are English, history, foreign language (French or Spanish), mathematics, and science (Anatomy). Thanks to a rotating schedule, all students are able to experience an array of Specials and elective classes all year long, which include art, drama, music, physical education, and the list goes on and on. Middle School is an increasingly social time in a child’s life, a fact we do not ignore. Social bonding is an important aspect of Middle School, and early in the school year, we take 6th graders for almost an entire week to North Carolina where, with the help of faculty counselors and nature's teachings, students develop a respect for each other and themselves. It is a great way to start their new journey through Middle School, and through our “outdoor education” curriculum, students can anticipate a new challenge each year. We make time for the social. Kids don't have to choose whether to engage in class discussion or talk to their friends. With social breaks built into the day, antsy middle schoolers get to shake out the willies and come back to class ready to focus and get down to business. The end result is a transition from elementary school that is positive and effective for everyone. The end result is a community of honesty and respect, fun and focus, and active, thoughtful energy. It's all here, and it's just right for that 6th grade mind.
Because they tackle real problems, and they work with real equipment, from personal pads, wood saws, or robots in science or mosaics in art, our 7th grade students generate abundant enthusiasm for learning, both individually and with friends. Picture 7th graders as they pair to teach English class or huddle outdoors to evaluate PH levels in sunscreen. They walk to the Spanish grocery at lunch and chat with native speakers. They research an artist of interest, write well-documented reports, replicate the artist's style, build web pages and give presentations. They are active learners, busy, bright, and curious. All of this is what makes 7th grade learning different at The Lexington School. Ownership of one's work and thoughts are what drives them. It is what builds the curiosity and courage that is the key to each individual student’s maximized potential and success. We work hard and we play hard in Middle School, but the balance is what is important. With a culture of expectation where trying hard and being smart is cool, we can ask for more. We can challenge their minds in ways other schools cannot. It may be middle school, but there is no teaching to the middle at this one. In this TLS culture, there is a need for expression, which is why all Middle Schoolers take a complete curriculum of the arts all year long, and it is why they break frequently during the day for food and play. It is also why we offer an active itinerary of electives and competitive sports. Our ultimate goal is to graduate the student who is well-prepared to tackle any and all secondary school programs, the student who is well-rounded, and the student who is still curious, who still loves going to school to learn new things.
8th grade is the capstone year. It is the year where the final piece of architecture is placed to complete the arch of who these kids have become through The Lexington School experience. TLS 8th graders are the leaders of the school, and that doesn’t mean each is a member of student government. It means eighth graders are the top of the food chain, and they know it. They are role models for our younger students, and they have certain responsibilities and experiences no one else has. Eighth grade students must give a “Capstone Speech” in which they present a topic of interest to the entire Middle School using research and technology and including aspects of each of the Mission Skills. All eighth graders participate in at least eight hours of community service outside The Lexington School as well as service responsibilities within the school. Eighth grade is the final chapter in The Lexington School book, and it is compelling. With Algebra I the minimum mathematics class offered, three years of foreign language as a core subject, an interdisciplinary pre-AP English and history curriculum, and three complete sciences in Anatomy, Physics, and Chemistry, Lexington School students have essentially completed the first year of high school, so students are ready for a competitive and advanced secondary program. A year of leadership culminates with a final lesson in courage for our eighth graders as they join faculty and their fellow students in an epic Southwest adventure. It includes Zion and the Grand Canyon for a week of camping, climbing, hiking, biking, and all the natural and human lessons that accompnay such a sublime experience. We believe that learning also occurs outside the four walls of the classroom, experiential education is vital to the eighth grade experience. It is through this final journey that the Lexington School mission is complete. Our graduates leave The Lexington School filled with the academic skill and desire to compete anywhere at any level, and they have within them the courage and confidence to make wise choices and overcome obstacles for the rest of their lives.