Engaging the intellect and imagination from the height of childhood to young adulthood.

The journey through the Middle School continues to form students into confident and self-directed learners, ready for high school and beyond. Learning activities combine security with challenge. Playful exploration (both inside and outside of school walls) with rigorous expectation. A wide range of experience with a depth of inquiry.

This is why in fourth and fifth grade students devote three afternoons a week to a hands-on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) program. Why sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students work together in academic teams. Why seventh and eighth grade students must complete eight academic exhibitions as a part of a graduation requirement. And why all Middle School students participate in a high volume reading program. This is just the start.

We want students to make connections across disciplines. So we have developed an integrated curriculum. A social studies unit on World War II and the Holocaust will also include a study of literature. Through the laptop program, Middle School students are taught the responsible use of technology. Research, writing, presentations, data collection, and analysis move to a new level with the aid of the latest software.

Service learning punctuates these years. Students experience the relationship between leadership and service by working with a reading buddy in the lower school. Guiding younger students at park time. Or leading a school-wide service project for a part of the world impacted by natural disaster.

Our faculty team supports students and their families through the high school application process. When the time comes for students to move on to high school, they’re ready. We bid them farewell through tears of joy and sorrow. But they’ll always be a part of the extended Mustard Seed family.

Academic Exhibitions: The Graduation Requirement

During seventh and eighth grade, the final big test at Mustard Seed School consists of a series of eight academic exhibitions. Students complete four exhibitions during each of these years. The eight domains of the exhibitions consist of visual arts, music, leadership and service, language and literature, history, science, mathematics, and an area of choice. Students must pass all eight exhibitions in order to graduate. For each academic exhibition, a student must

  1. address a significant academic domain and perform a demanding and relevant task.
  2. write a formal essay.
  3. deliver a public presentation for an audience that ranges from a small group of five to a large group of nearly a hundred peers and adults.

Through the exhibitions, students demonstrate the readiness and competence that they will need for many of life’s demands, including high school level work. This is no small task. As students present and defend their work, they experience a test that is tangible, interactive, and consequential. And every year students surprise themselves by what they are able to do.