Where newfound passion meets newly honed ability
At Elgin Academy, we believe the middle years mark the momentous time period when students are physically, emotionally, and intellectually mature and capable enough to pursue learning at a level far deeper than ever before.
Starting in fifth grade, project-based learning invites students into hands-on collaboration with their peers and teachers. Recently, our students partnered across grades to redesign the middle school, modeling an entirely new built environment and explaining the choices they made in terms of vision, functionality, and design thinking. We’ve also performed our own version of “Shark Tank,” as teams diagnosed opportunities, developed products, presented their ideas to a panel of judges, and then built their inventions for sale at a fair.
EA students also sign up for far-ranging “electives” during our popular Exploratory Wednesdays, undertake a civil rights project while reading To Kill a Mockingbird, make narrative imovies surrounding their study of oral traditions, and venture far beyond campus during Trip Week, where they build bonds that strengthen their work together back at school.
The Biographer’s Tea stands as another signature middle-school event, as fifth and sixth graders inhabit the appearance and personality of an historical figure and—after many weeks of investigation and research—“live” that person during a highly anticipated and attended presentation.
Along the way, students meet daily in their small advisory groups, a hallmark of our commitment to taking learning personally. They also assume more responsibility for their Learning Plan conferences, showing initiative in shaping their own learning.
Middle School often gets equated with hormones and social strife. At Elgin Academy, our expert teachers know just how to handle these big life changes, and how to channel each child’s momentous development into academic and personal breakthroughs.