Middle School

Middle School Academics

Middle School students are going through many changes – emotional, social, intellectual, and personal. Our teachers embrace, engage, and encourage these young learners with an age-appropriate and varied curriculum that both challenges and nurtures – all while helping students feel safe trying new roles as they mature and grow beyond childhood.  

Students grow academically in a nurturing environment

Highland's Middle School provides a supportive and challenging academic program designed to meet the unique needs of each of our students in Grades 5 through 8. Our faculty recognizes the importance of educating the whole child and addressing the emotional, social, and developmental needs of each individual student. We recognize that all Middle School students develop at their own pace and that they bring a variety of talents and interests to each school day. We work hard to develop these talents while providing just the right mix of challenge and support to allow our students to flourish.

Low student-to-teacher ratio

In Middle School, students grow academically in a nurturing environment that features a low teacher to student ratio; explore non-academic talents through special area classes such as studio art, chorus, and technology; participate in class plays; and are encouraged to develop leadership skills through community service, student government, and team sports.
Using best practices for teaching language arts, social studies, world languages, science, and math, our experienced teachers support and challenge Middle School students to care about their success and discover their own unique abilities. Highland’s Middle School nurtures students’ curiosity, fosters moral and ethical responsibility, and strives to help children discover both themselves and their potential.

'Habits of Learning' shape the Middle School

We realize today more than ever that we need to teach our students more than just a collection of people and dates and definitions to prepare them for a future in which the job that they may end up doing isn’t even in place yet. Along those lines, we focus on specific habits of learning in each grade level to help ensure that our students have the skill sets needed to be successful here at Highland and beyond. 

What are the Habits of Learning?

Click on any of the expanding boxes below to learn more about Habits of Learning in each grade level:

List of 4 items.

  • 5th Grade – Organization and a transition to more independence

    Transitioning to new responsibilities in Middle School
    We focus on the importance of transitioning to Middle School and talk a lot about the idea that more freedom also equals more responsibility. We also focus on organization and work to help the students learn how to organize and keep track of their materials.
  • 6th Grade – Organization and personal responsibility

    Personal responsibility takes on new importance
    As students enter 6th grade, we continue to focus on organization as we realize that it is an ongoing process and now add personal responsibility. We work with our students to help eliminate the excuses that hinder learning and help them focus on what they can do in each situation to grow and improve.
  • 7th Grade – Personal responsibility and 'Growth Mindset'

    Introducing our students to concepts of Growth Mindset
    We continue to talk about the importance of personal responsibility and add 'Growth Mindset' from the work of Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck. Growth Mindset is focused on the idea that intelligence is not fixed – the more we work the more we learn and grow.

    Hallmarks of the growth mindset include learning from our mistakes, embracing challenges, being willing to take in and learn from constructive feedback, and realizing that, while we may not be great at something yet, the more we work at it the better we’ll get.
  • 8th Grade – 'Growth Mindset' and communication

    Preparing students for Upper School
    Growth Mindset continues to be a focus and we add communication as we work to teach our students the proper way to advocate for themselves and to take charge of their learning. As leaders of the Middle School, we're actively preparing our students for their move to the Upper School and the new challenges that they will face–academically and socially–in this new setting.


Highland School is a co-ed independent Pre-K2 to Grade 12 day school located in Warrenton, Virginia.