Upper School: Grades 6-8
The upper school years are an important time to foster a love of education and exploration, be pushed to a learning edge, establish meaningful adult relationships beyond the family, and begin to seek opportunities for self-actualization. At Sussex, the upper school years are still wonder years: a time to explore the outdoors, find an artistic conduit for self-expression and engage in a dynamic curriculum.
In middle school, the seventh grade blends with the eighth grade and the fifth blends with the sixth grade for STEM, Language Arts, P.E., and Art. Students are in singular grade cohorts for Mathematics, Social Studies, Music, Drama, and Homeroom. Fifth through Eighth graders blend for our
foreign language program.
"Perhaps one of the most enduring lessons I learned from Sussex is that it is not only about being aware of what we are given but also what we are able to give in return."
Ben Jimenez, Class of 1991
As upper school students are able to understand more complex questions, subject matter is integrated across disciplines whenever possible, and problem-solving techniques and creativity are employed to approach study.
Lessons include robotics, social justice issues, poetry, ceramics, electric guitar, and rock climbing, to name a few.
To encourage continued language development, students choose a foreign language which is taught through an online learning platform.
At Sussex School, the upper years are a time of deep learning and engaged citizenship. In order to create a community environment and learn authentic leadership skills, students act as "Bigs," and mentor younger students.
In addition, students participate in service learning and leadership development opportunities throughout the school year.
Upper school students are also given numerous opportunities to lead and improve the school. In the past, students have started a school newspaper, spearheaded new clubs, petitioned for change on campus, created new learning opportunities in the classroom, organized food drives, and more. At Sussex School, the upper school years are a time of deep learning and engaged citizenship.
Eighth graders participate in an advisory class which houses the 8th-grade defense project and public school/prep-school high school readiness. Broken into four sections, advisory covers eighth-grade defense (research/project creation); coping mechanisms, substance abuse, consent, technology use in mid-late adolescence; test preparation, study skills, high school readiness; and eighth-grade graduation speeches.
Students experience the beauty and excitement of the outdoors through Sussex School’s Adventure Program. Students take risks and develop courage and collaboration through physical pursuits.
The program includes mountain biking, paddling, and rock climbing. In the winter, a ski/snowboard program is also offered.
"Sussex education has meant deep engagement with teachers and students, which has given me the confidence to speak up and ask questions, even beyond school grounds. I’ve also fostered unique relationships that I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise."
Elle Checota, Class of 2019