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MIDDLE SCHOOL

Middle School Parent Handbook

Middle School students are entering the THIRD PLANE OF DEVELOPMENT.

This is a stage characterized by a tremendous amount of physical growth.

Middle School Classroom

Adolescents require meaningful physical work, increased autonomy, opportunities to develop a personal vision, an environment that helps them develop positive and durable self-esteem, involvement with social issues, and a stimulating and thoughtful curriculum. Goal-setting and Time-management skills and personal accountability are stressed.

Characteristics

White Rock Montessori Middle School
 

  • Children working on a project togetherOne middle school classroom consisting of twenty-four students, ages 12-15 (correlating to 7th and 8th grades)
  • Classroom directed by two Montessori-certified teachers
  • The student/teacher ratio is 12:1
  • Weekly classes with specialists in visual and performing arts, environmental science and Spanish
  • Physical Education daily (two classes per week with specialist)
  • All students attend five days per week from 8:30 A.M. - 3:30 P.M.
  • Students remain in the same classroom with the same teachers throughout their middle school years.
  • Curriculum integrated and organized into five-week thematic cycles. Includes:
    • Math
    • Geometry
    • Pre-algebra and Algebra
    • Language Arts
    • Research and Creative Writing
    • Foreign Language (Spanish)
    • Everyday Living Skills, Personal Understanding and Development
    • Geography
    • History
    • Civics
    • Visual and Performing Arts
    • Music
    • Science
    • Computer Science
    • Environmental Science/Gardening/Fairfield Wilderness Area
    • Physical Education/ROPES Course/Week-long Adventure Trip
    • Business Internship (served in the community)
    • Community Service
    • Student-owned and operated, for-profit business, MS Garden Gifts. Students are shareholders.

Child sculpting a rock

Middle School Adventure Trip

The Middle School had a very successful Adventure Trip expedition to Santa Elena Canyon this past April. Director of Environmental Education, Andy Maeding, worked with one of our eighth graders to write about the experience.

Santa Elena Canyon freed of some old tires thanks to Dallas students from White Rock Montessori School

By Andy Maeding, Director of Environmental Education, White Rock Montessori School

The White Rock Montessori School of Dallas, TX has an annual Adventure Trip experience for its Middle School classes. This year's trip combined the exploration of the remote wilderness of Big Bend National Park's Santa Elena Canyon via canoe with a service project. The goal of the group project was noble, to clean up the area of tires lodged along the course of the Rio Grande's river bed. The twenty five students of our group immersed themselves in the wonders of this sublime region and gained valuable insights from the expert guidance of Charles Angell of Angell Expeditions. Charles introduced them to the desert ecosystem, explained its varied geology and rich cultural history, and uncovered the Rio Grande river's hydrologic processes. The students marveled at the canyon's astonishing scenery and discovered their new found skills as paddlers and desert explorers.

Kids posing on the Adventure Trip

*One eighth grader, Judge Rock, shared his valuable insights from the experience:*

**The White Rock Montessori School Middle School Adventure Trip was an experience of awe being fueled by our group of exuberant youths devoted to keeping the scenic Santa Elena Canyon rich in its natural beauty. Our expedition began as the last canoe left the shore, each of our boats loaded down with every piece of gear and supplies needed to uphold our energy-consuming itinerary. Our backs and muscles ached as we powered through the numerous low sections and yet felt inspired by the challenge of fording up the Rio Grande to our camp near Fern Canyon.**

Teacher in canoe with tire retrieved from river**Our mouths were watering as we set camp and awaited the pork tamales and beans for dinner. We had a night to rest before we continued our trek up river to perform the river cleanup. In no time we were heading out to retrieve six waterlogged hunks of rubber, steel and mud. We worked as an unbroken team as we loaded tires into our empty canoes. There were no arguments or hesitation about pulling the tires out of the river, for it was for a good cause.

Stack of tires retrieved from riverThis was not some small, insignificant project; we were all putting in our best effort to clean the river, for future generations of adventurers and campers to enjoy the canyon even more than we did. There is no doubt that among our group, we had some outstanding moments doing the service work and seeing the grandeur of the river. We also had a whooping good time playing in the river, having water gun wars and canoe races. These added to many unforgettable moments cleaning up and playing in this grand wilderness.**

**At the days end, we relaxed after a wonderful dinner and gazed as the moonlight crept along the canyon walls, the narrow night sky giving only a glimpse of the immense universe beyond. Exploring this indomitable section of the river that divides Mexico and the U.S.A.; we are proud to have served both countries to keep the Rio Grande...Fantastico.**

*Thanks to the National Park Service and Angell Expeditions for helping make this an adventure of a life time!*