What’s the point of middle school?

We think it’s to gain confidence through honing academic skills and expanding your core knowledge base, to build your community of peers and learn to work with them, and to preserve the love of learning that so many people seem to lose sometime between elementary school and high school. Junior high is a huge transitional time: Kids are changing emotionally, and physically, and what they need to thrive in their learning lives is changing, too: Homeschoolers are ready to venture beyond parent-led learning, and traditionally schooled students may find middle school a challenge to navigate academically and socially. Our junior high is a supportive, inspiring middle school alternative for Atlanta tweens who want to enter high school as happy, confident students.

WE BUILD CONFIDENCE Students come to middle school with a wide range of knowledge and abilities, and our multi-grade approach meets them where they are, giving them scaffolding where they need it and encouraging them to spread their academic wings when they are ready. It can be a tricky balance helping students discover and address their weaknesses while also encouraging them to celebrate their accomplishments and develop a strong sense of self, but we’ve found that project-based learning, a multi-age classroom, and an steady emphasis on essential skills delivers big rewards.

WE EMPHASIZE COMMUNITY These are the years when friendships and social networks become increasingly important to tweens, and we work hard to make community as important as academics at the Academy. Hands-on activities, projects, and presentations give students the opportunity to learn to work together. Students have an extra-long lunch break and breaks for social time throughout the day, and we encourage families to plan field trips and activities.

WE CELEBRATE LOVE OF LEARNING Ultimately, we want our junior high students to head off to high school with the same confidence and excitement about learning they had in kindergarten. We hope you’ll learn a lot in middle school, but we hope even more that you’ll have a great time doing it.

How does the schedule work?

Students attend classes two days a week, similar to university model classes. Class days are intensive, hands-on, and depend on students who have prepared for class on their days away from school. 

What will I learn?

The Academy follows a fairly classical liberal arts curriculum with a heavy emphasis on critical thinking, reading, and writing. Like the High School, the Junior High follows a four-year history cycle (Ancient History, World History, U.S. History, and Asian History) which focuses closely on a few specific topics. A typical schedule includes: Mathematics (covering fundamentals for middle school math through geometry), Grammar and Writing, History, Literature, Science, Spanish, and an elective. Our classes also focus on study skills: you'll learn how to manage long-term assignments, how to study for a test, how to write a research paper, how to take notes, and other skills that will serve you well in your post-Junior High life. Brown Bag Enrichment during Wednesday lunch is optional, but includes short-session workshops, book club, and activities to complement and enhance your regular curriculum.

What about grades?

Our academic rubric is designed to recognize student growth and development beyond test scores. Students come from different backgrounds with different educational experiences, skills, and abilities, and grades reflect a student's individual achievements rather than a general standard. Hard work is one of the most important factors in a student's final grade—students who have completed homework assignments, actively participated in class, and worked to improve will fare well academically since those factors are most important in Junior High grades.

What about social activities and extracurriculars?

Most of our current extracurricular and social activities—including drama club, prom, yearbook, movie days, etc.—came about through student initiative, so if you have a great idea for an activity, we'll be all in to help you make it a reality. Students also have built in social time every day, including a lunch break that's set up so that you can bond with your fellow students outside the classroom.

Fall 2019 Classes

The junior high meets two days a week, on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (But feel free to stick around until 4 to play Mafia!) This year is our U.S. History year, and we have some great classes lined up:

MATH Math Lab is back for fall, and Jason is ready to guide students from the very beginnings of mathematical understanding to foundational high school level work.

SPANISH Junior high Spanish classes are all about building vocabulary and conversation skills in a relaxed, fun environment.

HISTORY As usual, we’ll be honing in on two key periods of history and exploring them in depth. In the fall, we’ll dive into Hamilton history, from the colonial period, through the American revolution and into the 19th century. In the spring, we’ll turn our attention to the U.S. Civil War.

LITERATURE Literature links up with history this year, so students will be exploring historical fiction and some contemporary works from the 18th and 19th century United States, including The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Ashes, and “The Headless Horseman” in the fall.

SCIENCE It’s our chemistry year, which means we’re going to be shining a light on the periodic table. (Yes, there will be marshmallow molecules.)

WRITING Boost your creative and academic writing skills with lots of guided practice.

TEACHER’S CHOICE We’ll wrap up each day with 30 minutes of structured activities, which might include study skills, executive function support, critical thinking, current events, and other useful and interesting stuff.

Friday Enrichment

Friday Enrichment classes are designed to supplement and enhance the full academic curriculum at the Academy. Friday Enrichment classes are free for enrolled students and open (for a fee) to a la carte students. 

11 a.m. - 1 p.m. Friday Lunch and Gaming (for enrolled students)