Skills-Based, Exploration-Focused

The “Skills Rubric” is a visual representation of our philosophy: Rooted in the academic disciplines, our program develops a substantial trunk of community values and attitudes which supports the branching analytic and communication skills needed for a healthy canopy of study. We refer constantly to the Skills Tree when assessing students or asking them to self-assess. Each year brings deeper focus on certain skills; you can read more about this in the curriculum guide. An exploration-focused approach urges students’ curiosity into a journey of inquiry that leads them to become absorbed in finding answers to their questions.

Middle School Skills Assessment Rubric for Grades 6-8

NA Middle School Advantages

  • Because early adolescence is a critical period for social and emotional growth, our program is not an extension of an elementary or high school program, but has its own distinct philosophy.
  • We do not participate in standardized testing.
  • We provide a balanced approach: no more than two hours of homework per night, with plenty of free time to start or complete assignments during the school day.
  • Students learn responsibility through freedom. We trust them to use free periods wisely and make smart choices.
  • Middle School students engage in all areas of school life: academics, arts, and athletics. We have 11 full-time art teachers, health and physical education teachers who coach 18 competitive athletic teams, and dedicated team teachers in the core subjects.
  • We encourage students to be intellectually engaged, self-motivated, and curious about ideas and people who are different from them.
  • In both math and language classes, students may accelerate and move on to higher-level classes. Nearly 20 percent of sixth-grade math students take Algebra I and 75 percent of Middle School language students enter honors-level classes in the Upper School.