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Why We Chose Sussex for Middle School

Updated: May 6, 2022

By Lisa Gilbert

My partner and I chose to send our 12-year-old son, Morgan, to Sussex School this year and plan for him to continue through his middle school years. To make this happen, we have temporarily moved from Bigfork to Missoula. We believe this is necessary because we want Morgan to benefit from the kind of progressive outdoor education that best syncs up with our values, as follows.

  • Outdoor education became increasingly important to us as the pandemic continued to adversely affect the nature and offerings of indoor learning at many other schools.

  • We love the natural world and want to foster our son's love of it too, as well as his appreciation for the need to preserve and protect it. Sussex fosters and facilitates such appreciation and preservation of the natural world.

  • We love outdoor recreation and want to foster our son's love, comfort, and skill with outdoor recreation. Sussex School is one of the few schools we found that places a high value on outdoor education.

  • Sussex elegantly integrates outdoor education with a stimulating progressive curriculum of social studies, science, STEM, math, reading, writing, foreign language, art, music, and drama.

  • At Sussex School, our son will be taught valuable content, encouraged to consider important issues, and prompted to think critically and analytically through the difficult and complex problems of our times – all in an inclusive, friendly, and fun community.

So far at Sussex, Morgan has enthusiastically participated alongside his classmates in a hilarious and fun lip sync drama performance; advanced his drumming skills in Blues and Pop Rock Music Ensembles; and taken his reading to the next level in The Battle of the Books.

He has also enjoyed a weeklong boating adventure on the surrounding rivers that included an overnight camp-out; a day of paddle boarding, outdoor fun, and team building at Swan Lake’s Camp Paxson; a 6-week rock climbing course at Sussex’s new climbing wall, Freestone Climbing Gym, The Heap, and Lost Horse Canyon; and has also enjoyed after-school basketball clinics at Sussex’s gym. Morgan has recently been thrilled to improve his snowboarding skills with his school community every Wednesday this February, and he is excited about his class’s upcoming Spring Camping Trip.

Fortunately, Sussex School offers tuition assistance for families in need and has kept tuition rates in check while offering high-quality educational curricula and exciting programs taught by outstanding teachers.

We highly encourage you to consider Sussex School for your child’s education and personal growth!


Lisa Gilbert is a parent to a Sussex 7th grader. She and her partner moved to Missoula so that her student could enroll as a Sussex Middle School student. Lisa serves on the Winter Warmer committee.

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