Middle and Upper School inventors entered their incredible ideas into this year's Connecticut Invention Convention (see US video below). (Jakob Zapanta and Tolani Oshin will continue to the National Invention Convention later this month.)
So much better than "Middle School."
We begin together.
Every Middle School student belongs to a “house”— our intensive, attentive version of a homeroom. The house system allows students to form families within the larger Middle School family (which is like a family within the GFA family). Every student also joins an Advisory — a group of 10 or so students, under the mentorship of a faculty advisor, who meet daily to talk about academic work, social dynamics, and political issues. (Advisors also collect cell phones for the school day.) Crucially, advisors serve as a link between home, house, and school. We also begin new experiences together: At the end of Middle School, seniors meet with eighth graders to talk about what’s ahead in the Upper School.
We get ambitious together.
In our annual Marketplace of Ideas, teams of students develop and pitch products and programs that address pressing global issues. Our faculty-led travel programs are an immersive intellectual and social experience; recent examples include sustainability at the Island School in the Bahamas, culture and community in the Pacific Northwest, and French language and culture in Quebec. Our students participate in the Connecticut Science & Engineering Fair—and win honors for projects like a charities-based app, a reactive climbing helmet, and a prototype for an automated, floating, trash-collecting robot. Anything is possible.
I’d like to be on the Supreme Court. I know it seems far-fetched, but GFA is all about dreaming big and reaching for the stars.Scarlett, grade 8
We (re)search together.
One thread that runs through the Middle School experience: Research. Students write (and revise!) papers, conduct (and re-try!) lab experiments, and, in eighth grade, complete a semester-long Capstone project, culminating with a defense of their thesis to peers and teachers. It’s like an ongoing workshop in close observation, analytical thinking, and the clear, compelling presentation of evidence and ideas.
We stay strong together.
That commitment starts with a three-season athletic requirement. At a time of significant physical growth, we offer interscholastic and recreational options that develop coordination, confidence, sportsmanship, and sport-specific skills. For much more about athletics at GFA, click here.
We serve together.
We believe that service is an education in empathy, collaboration, and responsibility. That’s why we build it into our curriculum. A few examples: Seventh graders choose an extended engagement: tutoring in local schools, volunteering at an eldercare center, overseeing the Middle School greenhouse. Fifth graders produce a Halloween Carnival for their Lower School friends. The entire Middle School community participates in annual events, from food drives to bike-a-thons.
Last year, for our service learning requirement, I tutored a class of kindergarteners in Bridgeport. For the first time, I started to really see the world around me. I started to imagine so many ways to make an impact. This year, my grade has been going to the Connecticut Food Pantry. In one day, we helped put together 12,000 meals. To me, GFA is a community of people who are looking out for each other. We’re also looking out for the world.
To me, GFA is a community of people who are looking out for each other. We're also looking out for the world.
Our middle school motto is “Dare to be different. Dare to be yourself.” We help each other become the best version of ourselves. I like to DJ — I love to build on a track, bring in new sounds, and make something different. In the future,
I can imagine myself being a politician, a professional snowboarder, and an architect — in addition to caring for the planet. That’s a pretty GFA way to be.
Dare to be different. Dare to be yourself.
The experience of a middle school child at Greens Farms is a rich one with a wide variety of offerings in all disciplines. In addition to the core academic, artistic, and athletic possibilities, we also provide a number of special extracurricular options for middle school students.
We provide students with the best tools to best navigate today's world. Through seminars on research skills (seventh and eighth grades), guided research papers (all grades), science research projects (seventh and eighth grades), and the yearlong Capstone project (eighth grade), students develop the skills they need to pursue their passions and become excited and engaged learners.
The eighth-grade Capstone project is a hallmark of the Middle School, enabling students to develop strong research and writing skills and to delve more deeply into topics about which they are passionate. This semester-long project culminates in a presentation to their peers in May. The ultimate goal of the Capstone project is to create an environment where students are invested in their own learning and engaged in thoughtful analysis of a broad range of topics.
The Advisory program in the Middle School provides academic and social support for the students. The Advisor is the point person and liaison between student, home and school. Advisory groups meet daily in their homeroom to help provide the academic and social support that is necessary for each child to feel connected at school. Additionally, the grades Advisors meet weekly with their Dean to communicate common issues within the grade. The fifth grade will also have weekly class meetings with their respective homeroom teacher.
Three student projects garnered attention — and awards — in the annual Connecticut Science & Engineering Fair, held this year at Quinnipiac University in mid-March.
“Today's presentations celebrate our students' academic achievements … but they also highlight the character of these students and their sincere desire to confront the challenges we face and use the opportunities they have been given to make our world a better place.”