Middle School Orientation - August, 31st and September 1st
Throughout the orientation day, students will meet their teachers and advisor, connect with their peers, and learn their way around the GFA Middle School. At the day's conclusion, we hope that students will have had all their questions answered and feel confident and excited for the first day of school on Tuesday, September 6th.
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.
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.
Education Beyond the Classroom
Modeled after an Upper School Design Thinking class, last year’s culminating project for fifth graders asked them to devise a concept that “will support community members in academic settings during a global pandemic.” Fifth grade history teacher Jonathan Jackson explained, “Our goals were for them to be able to make observations of their own environment, and to look at things on a broader scale — not just what our school has faced this year and possible improvements that our school could make, but schools in general.” Read more
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.