Walk into our Middle School classrooms. You will not see heads bowed silently over textbooks, or students who listen passively as a teacher speaks. Instead, you will find small workshops in which students are active, engaged, and purposeful. You will find students designing, developing and executing their own projects in Exploratory, our unique independent study program. You will see students presenting original research to peers.
As much as possible, the work that Middle School students do is connected to the real world; they address real problems, use real-world resources, and find multiple answers to their never-ending stream of real questions.
Expanding Intellectual Horizons. Learning in the Middle School is collaborative, investigative and deeply intellectual. While content is essential – you can’t have genuine understanding without it – students also learn to develop the tools of inquiry and the habits of mind that will make them life-long learners and problem-solvers. Students are encouraged and expected to approach their work with passion, intelligence, and creativity; block scheduling allows them to pursue topics in depth. Our goal is not simply to transmit material, but rather to teach students how to think and communicate like historians, writers, mathematicians, scientists and artists.
Social, Emotional, and Physical Development. The Middle School years are rewarding, but can also be demanding for adolescents and their families. Our program extends beyond students’ intellectual development, attending to their physical, social, and emotional growth as well. Students are part of a respectful, supportive, and close-knit community - a safe environment that encourages them to take intellectual risks. Students graduate from Sabot at Stony Point eager for the academic, intellectual and social challenges of the region’s best high schools. Test-taking preparation and other requirements are systematically addressed.
Welcome! Whether you are a student, a parent, or an educator, we are delighted that you are interested in Sabot at Stony Point. Read below for detailed information about our curriculum, and contact Maggie Barrett, our Director of Admissions, to learn more about the extraordinary education we offer.
We believe that students learn best when they are given choice about what and how to learn. Students can exercise choice in some aspects of their regular course work, but they are given greatest scope to follow their passions in Exploratory – an independent study where students plan and create original projects, working in small, collaborative groups with a faculty mentor and in consultation with the Studio Teacher. Recent projects have included radio interviews with family members; creation of a bamboo sculpture; researching the evolution of airplanes; experimentation with and reflection on the experience of being sightless for a day; testing a hypothesis about the effect of music on runners' speed; and writing short stories, a children's story, book chapters, and plays. Through Exploratory, students learn to pursue an idea or interest with creativity and persistence, to take responsibility for planning, organizing, and executing work. They gain experience in presenting research to others, in responding constructively to other presentations, and in reflecting critically on their own work.
In Middle School, we extend and deepen the culture of literacy firmly established in the Lower School grades, and continue to ensure that reading and writing are authentic experiences. The mechanics of writing and grammar are taught in the context of students' reading, analysis, and writing.
Students develop their love of reading and their ability to comprehend and interpret works from variety of genres through strategies that help them to approach literature critically and analytically. Within guidelines established by the curriculum and the teacher, students choose their own books. They also become accomplished writers, learning to write for purposes that are meaningful to them: to tell stories they want to tell, to memorialize significant events, to persuade someone to do something, and to analyze the questions, issues and works of literature they find compelling. Students learn to use writing as a means of self-expression, as a way of representing and communicating ideas, and as an avenue for developing critical and logical thinking. The workshop approach brings students together in small groups to examine and discuss particular reading or writing strategies; they then spend time working individually to draft and revise their writing. Both reading and writing experiences are shared with the group.
Middle School students use Connected Mathematics, a National Science Foundation funded, research-based, and meticulously evaluated curriculum. Like Investigations for Lower School, Connected Mathematics is designed to promote students’ ability to think and reason mathematically, in number, geometry, measurement, algebra, probability, and statistics. Students become proficient in defining problems and bringing mathematical insights to bear in solving them, and they acquire skill in using the conceptual and representational vocabulary of mathematics. The content and skills covered at each grade level are aligned with standards set forth by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
The curriculum’s problem-centered emphasis encourages students to engage fully with mathematical concepts by working extensively with mathematical tasks. They learn procedures, but their learning extends well beyond applying algorithms and computing results: they become adept in using reasoning to identify appropriate strategies and to critically evaluate solutions. Newly introduced concepts and procedures are related to those previously mastered as students progress across grade levels, so that they develop a coherent understanding of mathematical ideas.
Our Science program is inquiry-based, built around in-depth investigation of specific topics—such as “The Brain”; “Natural Disasters”; “Airships and Hydrogen”—that provide students with a grasp of essential scientific facts and concepts and an understanding of scientific method, as well as an appreciation for science’s role in society and its implications for students’ own lives. Depending upon grade level, topics are drawn from Life, Earth, or Physical Science, and curriculum is guided by the National Research Council’s National Science Education Standards.
Middle School students do not merely learn about science, however – they learn to do science. Students develop the ability to read and evaluate scientific information and theories. They learn how to formulate, test, and refine hypotheses; how to design experiments; how to record, interpret, and assess outcomes; and they gain experience in presenting findings to a group. Through our curriculum, students acquire scientific literacy, an ability to think like scientists, and, most importantly, a passion for scientific learning.
In Social Studies, students learn to make connections between the past and the present, and to understand their own roots as well as the stories of peoples and times far removed from their own experience. Students develop a foundation of factual knowledge, but our classes go beyond the “who, what, when and where” to emphasize the “why” and “how” of history. Our goal is to help students to recognize the interaction between individuals and the environment, to understand and interpret the movement of people and ideas, and to acquire a lifelong interest in social science and history.
In 6th grade, the second half of the US History sequence provides the topical focus. In 7th grade, students delve into global studies with quarterly units that provide the background they need to engage with the challenging social issues of the 21st century. Through topics such as Islam; independence and the legacy of colonialism in Africa; and the juxtaposition in China of ancient culture with contemporary capitalism and globalization, students approach the question of how cultures struggle to maintain distinct traditions while adapting to the modern world. In 8th grade, a high-school level curriculum introduces principles of government, political process, and citizenship, as well as key concepts of economics.
Just as our approach to the natural sciences is to enable students to do science, in social studies classes students develop the ability to think and work like historians and social scientists. They learn to read, interpret, and create maps and charts; they learn to find, understand, organize and apply information from lectures, various types of print materials, online databases, interviews and visual sources; and they learn to present research and to respond thoughtfully to work presented by others.
Students develop a strong Spanish language foundation through a holistic approach that balances reading, writing, and speaking. Learning is contextualized and made relevant through a hands-on approach incorporating culture, the arts, games, and projects. The 7th and 8th grade curriculum covers the material of high school Spanish I, making it possible for students to test into Spanish II when they enter high school.
Students have the opportunity to work with a different visiting artist each trimester, focusing on a specific area of the arts; visual arts, music, and theater. In addition, the Studio Teacher assists students and faculty with the conceptualization and development of Exploratory projects, which often include an arts component.
At all grade levels, we approach physical fitness as a lifelong endeavor, where the goal is to cultivate skills, habits, interests, and an intrinsic motivation for physical activity that students will carry with them into adulthood. Students have opportunities to try a range of sports and non-competitive activities that get them outdoors, moving, and having fun. In the 8th grade, students have the chance to become positive role models in the community, sharing fitness knowledge, skills, and interests with others.
Health is an integral part of the program. The curriculum guides students in developing an emotional toolbox—including a healthy body image, stress management techniques, and refusal skills—that will help them resist peer pressure and avoid high-risk behaviors.
Every year, the Sabot at Stony Point community undertakes a school-wide exploration of a particular topic, with opportunities for cross-grade collaboration. The Studio Teacher provides support in conceptualizing students’ and faculty’s endeavors, and bringing their ideas to fruition. She also helps to identify shared interests and to promote communication and collaboration across the grades.