Middle School

fifth through eighth grade

Welcome to middle school, where our focus is to understand, support, and educate enthusiastic learners as they journey from childhood through adolescence. Our goal is to mentor our students as they grow to be confident, curious scholars and generous, connected, and compassionate global citizens.

As you walk through our middle school you will often observe students working together. We value collaboration and communication, and we encourage students to work respectfully with one another as they learn. Whether designing a group presentation in humanities, collaborating with a partner to construct something in projects lab, setting up a team science experiment in our lab, or grappling with a complex math problem as a class, our students grow by working together. 

MP&MS teachers serve as mentors as middle school students evolve academically, socially and emotionally. They support our students as each works to develop the skills and abilities to courageously take a stand for what is right, to assist others in need, to include those who otherwise might not be included, and to reflect on one’s mistakes and try again. Inspiring children to make a difference is embedded in our mission, and community service is integrated into our students’ school experience.  Our teachers embrace parents as partners, and we encourage and enjoy open dialogue in order to support each student and family.  Every adult at MP&MS is here to help, encourage, and inspire each student to meet his or her highest level of individual accomplishment.

Our graduates leave MP&MS as confident self-advocates and enthusiastic lifelong learners, well prepared to succeed through their high school years and beyond.

Curriculum

Led by dedicated teachers, our core academic program (math, humanities, science, and Spanish) is integrated with our specialist program (art, music, drama, P.E. and projects lab). Teachers and specialists plan together to design well-rounded, relevant, and meaningful learning experiences.  Our middle school classrooms and flexible workspaces provide teachers and specialists with the ability to create effective and engaging multidisciplinary, integrated units and projects. Small learning groups make it possible to provide a personalized educational experience within the context of a classroom community.

Language arts, math, social studies, science, Spanish, drama, art, music, service learning, physical education, and technology are incorporated into a positive experience for each student. Teachers work closely together to connect the subject matter in meaningful ways. 

The curriculum is designed to promote understanding and thoughtfulness. Students are asked to think deeply and reflectively about facts, ideas, and experiences in an increasingly diverse society. They are encouraged to make connections between their learning at school and their growing awareness of the outside world.

Program Features

Middle school includes grades five through eight.  Fifth grade is led by two full-time homeroom teachers. Our sixth through eighth grade classes are split into academic groups. A low student-teacher ratio helps us to cultivate positive, supportive relationships, and smaller learning groups ensure that each child is well known by all faculty.

Specialist Classes

All middle school students participate in specialist classes as part of the regular schedule, including art, music, drama, physical education, and Spanish. Regular participation in specialist classes provides opportunities for deep and consistent learning in a variety of areas beyond core academics. This serves as a foundation for a well-rounded daily experience that promotes collaboration, community, and connection.

Advisory

Each sixth through eighth grade class has a team of three advisors who work closely together to support each student in each grade. All advisors are grade-level teachers or middle school support staff.  This ‘team of teachers’ model supports consistent collaboration and communication between teachers in relation to the needs of individuals or groups of students, while supporting the seamless integration of curriculum and multi-disciplinary units and a classroom based advisory experience. 

Each middle school day begins and ends with Advisory.  Advisory is a dedicated time for smaller groups of students to check in with advisors and organize themselves for the day and week. This focus supports executive functioning and organizational and study skills. Advisory also includes an intentional focus on social-emotional learning, personal development, community building, life skills activities and provides time for academic support during Learning Labs, where teachers from every subject are available to meet with and support individual students. 

Life Skills

MP&MS teachers are dedicated to helping our students become people of strong character. The MP&MS core values — respect, accountability, safety, kindness, active listening, and doing one’s personal best, reflect our school’s values. Our middle school Life Skills program focuses on topics related to interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships, communication, stress management, nutrition and body image, media literacy, drugs and alcohol, and human development, including sex education.

Electives

The every-other Friday (Green Fridays) afternoon elective program includes such classes and activities as Rock Band, Chess Club, Maker Space, Culinary Techniques, Laser Cutting, Community Service, Knitting and Crafts, Sports and more. Elective classes are chosen by the students during the first and second semesters.

Student Council

The MP&MS Student Leadership program is open to all fifth through eighth grade middle school students, and is based on a committee structure which focuses on the needs of the school. Student Leadership manages middle school dances and leads fundraising efforts for causes initiated by students and teachers. Past efforts have included raising funds to build a classroom in Ecuador and to help Northern California fire victims, and working with the Marin/San Francisco Food Bank.

Outdoor Education

Each middle school class takes springtime 5 day, 4 night trip.  These trips are integrated into our academic program, and are culminating activities relevant to student learning. Fifth graders travel east to Yosemite National Park where they study the natural and cultural history of the region, focusing on Native American history. Sixth graders travel west to Mendocino Woodlands Camp where they sleep in rustic cabins, travel to the Ecological Staircase where they apply their knowledge of natural systems, and go tide-pooling along the coast where they study natural formations and form and function of invertebrates. Seventh graders travel south to El Capitan Canyon where they camp in tents, participate in physical and team-building challenges such as a ropes course and ocean kayaking. Our eighth graders travel to the far north, spending their time in the Olympic Rain Forest where they study ecosystems and geology while also celebrating their time together as a class community.  Overall the class trips are often the highlight of a great year in school as well as the highlight of a students time at Marin Primary & Middle School.

After School Sports & Drama

Middle school boys and girls have the opportunity to participate in interscholastic after school sports, including flag football and cross-country in the fall, basketball in the winter, and track and field in the spring. Our middle school spring drama production takes place during the second semester, culminating in a spring production at the Marin Civic Center. Students rehearse after school on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, and on elective Fridays during the elective program.


 

Dave DeMartini

Dave DeMartini

Middle School Director

Professional Development MP&MS faculty and staff embrace growth, learning, and innovation. Across the Bay Area and the country, our educators have taken deep dives into a wide array of topics, including:

  • Learning and the Brain
  • Creating Gender Inclusive Schools
  • Beyond Differences
  • Mindfulness Fundamentals
  • Outdoor Classroom Training
  • Deploying Apple in Education
  • Early Learning Summit
  • Toolbox Training
  • Advisory Is Essential
  • Proficiency-based Grading
  • and many more