Build a Bridge to the Future
The middle grades are the launching point of an adolescent’s personal and academic trajectory. Our focus on the development of both cognitive and non-cognitive skills in young adolescents positions our students for future success. Here middle school students feel confident to be themselves and stretch themselves. They take pride in knowing that younger students look up to them, and they are excited to explore opportunities for leadership, and observe how their actions make a difference. With each passing year, our middle schoolers expand their dreams, hone their abilities, and prepare to embark on a lifetime of realizing their potential.
For students who came to Belmont Day earlier, grades six through eight provide a culminating experience for their grammar school journey. Students joining us during the middle school years find friends quickly in our strong, welcoming community. By the end of eighth grade at Belmont Day, students know themselves better than they ever thought possible. They’re able to speak with confidence in front of an audience; to present their knowledge and opinions eloquently. They’re better able to lead, to collaborate, to express their own thoughts, and to listen to those of others. They are ready to seek out an ideal high school and are prepared and inspired to go on and make their ambitions a reality.
We welcome students and families from many cities and towns including Arlington, Cambridge, Medford, Lexington, Lincoln, Newton, Waltham, Watertown, Winchester, and Woburn. Contact us to learn more about our private middle school program.
Message from the Middle School Head
Welcome to the middle school at Belmont Day! Here, you will find our students actively engaged in shaping and advancing their own development. Every day they immerse themselves in the exciting journey through their adolescent years. Their minds are in the moment, experiencing joy and doing hard work, with the long-term goal of preparing for high school and their futures as lifelong learners and leaders.
Middle school is all about trying things on. At Belmont Day, we encourage students to try on new pieces of their identity, whether it be in the classroom, on the sports field, through a new artistic endeavor, or any other of the many opportunities they enjoy in their school day. They feel safe to take those essential and calculated risks—intellectually, socially, and emotionally—that serve as the cornerstones of growing up. As they explore their interests, our core values—excellence, responsibility, honesty, caring, respect, and joy—guide everything they do, from daily interactions with one another, to defining their goals for the future.
Along this journey, Belmont Day students are supported and challenged by expert faculty who carefully consider the diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences of our students to inform curriculum and guide programming. Our program is designed to be student-centered, responsive, and aimed at developing the whole child. As they graduate, Belmont Day alumni take on high school both sturdy and inspired. They are equipped with excellent academic skills, plus the compassion, drive, and integrity to work to better the world around them.
Because words cannot do justice to the energy, focus, and accomplishment that are evident every day, we invite you to visit us and see it in action!
Middle School Head
Middle School Head
Middle School Academics
Middle school students don’t merely study a topic at Belmont Day; they dive into it and explore it from every angle. They complete a unique independent project related to human rights and share it on Freedom Night. They apply Spanish vocabulary and cultural learning to create grocery lists that could be used in Puerto Rico. They discover the inner workings of mathematical algorithms and conduct chemistry experiments. They build robots and solar cars and design objects for a 3D printer. Throughout every subject, they apply critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and problem-solving skills.
The curricular program for the middle school is a cohesive extension of the lower school curriculum, joining traditional skill acquisition with creative hands-on project assignments that are authentic and meaningful. Faculty also teach students explicit strategies for writing, organizing, studying, and tackling assessments. Exploring these topics helps students understand themselves better as learners and feel supported in pursuit of excellence.
A Big Picture Approach to Teaching
Belmont Day teachers constantly collaborate to weave subjects together, giving learning richness, context, and a pulse. Students might find themselves making art that ties in with the history they’re studying. Or they might tackle a writing project along with others in the school. Opportunities abound for connecting STEAM subjects—science, technology, engineering, art, and math. The assignments here are varied, purposeful, challenging, and motivate students to explore new concepts in fascinating ways.
Be an Expert: Capstone
Imagine sitting in a large room full of teachers, students, and other parents when your eighth grader walks up to the front. For the next half-hour, your child gives a dynamic presentation of information and insights about an area of expertise. Your child presents with poise and gracefully answers follow-up questions posed by members of the audience. Belmont Day makes this vision a reality through the Capstone Project.
Beginning in the spring of seventh grade, each student begins to hone in on a research question that inspires them. Possibilities for topics are infinite. What is most important is that the questions ignite a curiosity that each individual will pursue with diligence, creativity, and enthusiasm. Throughout their eighth grade year, students write a substantive research paper and develop an independent project to reflect their growing knowledge. Finally, students craft an oral presentation, followed by a question-and-answer session, that they deliver to an audience of peers, teachers, and parents.
Throughout this process, students are supported by regular one-on-one meetings with Capstone mentors. Depending on the project, a mentor might be a teacher, the school nurse, business manager, or chef. The role has been described as “part shepherd and part cheerleader.” It’s just one part of a support system that ensures that students meet their demanding project goals.
There is no overestimating the importance, the thrill, or the transformative powers of Capstone. Our eighth graders feel tremendous pride in knowing that they can identify a topic of intrinsic interest to themselves and develop it into a body of expertise worthy of sharing with others. Designing and implementing a Capstone provides the self-assurance, self-confidence, public speaking, and research skills that will serve students the rest of their academic lives.
Just visit Belmont Day, and you’ll understand: art is alive here. The hallways are filled with evidence of our students being bold, remarkable, and inspiring in the art studio, woodworking studio, music room, and the Palandjian Arts Center. Every year students challenge themselves to grow as artists who appreciate the creative process and share their talents with others.
Sixth grade students attend music, theater arts, art, and woodworking classes throughout the year. Each semester, seventh and eighth students choose from almost three dozen arts electives, including printmaking, a cappella, 3D-modeling, clock building, and devised theater. Every year, the sixth grade class presents a dramatic production on Freedom Night, while seventh and eight graders may choose to participate in a spring musical or play.
Beyond the Classroom
Our Strong Community Builds Leaders
Middle school is a time when you develop your identity. Doing that in a supportive community is a gift. Belmont Day’s strong community is the deliberate result of extensive planning and effort by faculty and staff. Outside of class, our middle school students have a myriad of opportunities to practice their leadership skills on athletic teams, in the arts, and through cross-graded and school-wide activities. The non-cognitive skills built in these arenas are vital for future success.
In sixth, seventh, and eighth grades, students are organized into advisory groups. Led by faculty advisors, these groups meet throughout the week to discuss a variety of topics important to adolescents in their lives both in and out of school. The advisor plays an important role as a student advocate for both academic and social-emotional issues and serves as a parent liaison. Advisors also run, along with students, the parent-teacher-student conferences in October and March.
At Belmont Day, we teach students to “take responsibility for themselves, each other, and the world around them.” In addition to our annual Community Service Day held in May, students in every grade engage in community service activities throughout the school year.
Recent activities undertaken by our middle school students have included:
- trail maintenance and animal care at Mass Audubon’s Habitat Education Center and Wildlife Sanctuary in Belmont
- Charles River trail cleanup with Waltham Land Trust
- food preparation in the kitchen at Community Servings
Younger students look up to our middle schoolers, whose community is broadened through partnerships for cross-graded activities. Middle schoolers gain so much from these alliances as they rise to the responsibility of nurturing, encouraging, and inspiring their younger partners.
The arts are integral to Belmont Day, embedded in the academic program, and valued by the community. In addition to their classroom experience, students are offered the opportunity to participate in musical ensembles, which provide the experience of learning, practicing, and performing in a small group. The lower school and middle school choruses and the guitar, orchestra, wind, modern band, and world drumming ensembles meet once a week, either before or after school.
How and what we eat is central to our overall well-being and the social and emotional growth of our students. Every day the kitchen buzzes with energy and creativity, and students get to witness this process and receive warm greetings from the kitchen staff when they walk by.
Family-style dining in Coolidge Hall is a very real example of our core value of excellence. The kitchen team achieves this by establishing practices that emphasize three intentions:
• fostering community
• promoting social development
• encouraging responsibility and respect for the good food we are fortunate to enjoy and for the people who prepare it
A wide variety of healthy and delicious food options are prepared by our in-house chef. Alternative items are available for those with food sensitivities, allergies, and dietary restrictions. Belmont Day is a nut-aware campus—no food containing nuts or peanuts, or traces of nuts or peanuts, are served. The varied menus also reflect cultural diversity and inspire curiosity about customs, flavors, and the joy that food brings to people around the world.
Growth, Development, and Belonging
Middle school is not an easy time. So much in life is changing. Although the challenges to be faced and questions to be answered can feel daunting, students are supported in making thoughtful and caring decisions with curricula that connect health and wellness and social-emotional learning with topics of equity, inclusion, and belonging.
Growth, Development, and Belonging Mission Statement
At Belmont Day School, we recognize the dignity and worth of all human beings. We value health, wellness, equity, inclusion, and a sense of belonging as integral to our whole community. We are committed to ongoing parent, faculty, and student education.
Our approach is grounded in developmental theory, is inclusive of multiple perspectives, and is in line with national standards for health education and sex education. We are committed to establishing a safe environment for thoughtful discussion within a comprehensive curriculum.
We provide common language and accurate information to empower self-care, self-esteem, the development of healthy interpersonal relationships, and the skills needed for making responsible decisions throughout life.
Growth, development, and belonging education is a fluid partnership between school and family. It is integrated into all aspects of school life and is connected to the Belmont Day School core values of honesty, caring, joy, responsibility, respect, and excellence.
Belmont Day School values presence, intentionality, thoughtfulness, and engagement. It is evident not only in our core values but in the ways people interact in the classrooms, hallways, and playing fields of our campus. Mindfulness is a tool that helps us ground these values in action and reflection. Belmont Day has partnered with WholeSchool Mindfulness to help integrate this essential skill and promote well-being in our community.
Mindfulness is woven into our growth, development, and belonging curriculum. Students engage in practices that help them hone their attention, learn how to respond proactively rather than reactively, and discover clarity and compassion in their relationships with themselves, others, and the world. Advisories periodically schedule additional practice opportunities that can be playful and purposeful for students to expand their toolkits. And athletics teams find the grounding they need on game day with breathing exercises.
Middle School Meeting
Once a week, middle school students gather as a community to share information and engage in activities geared toward building a strong middle school community. Students are also divided into smaller, cross-graded groups—led by one or more eighth graders—which participate together in a variety of activities throughout the year.
Each year, within the first several weeks of school, class bonds are forged through off-campus orientation activities. Sixth grade has a 3-day experience at Thompson Island Outward Bound. Seventh grade spends time at Cardigan Mountain in New Hampshire hiking, engaging in outdoor education, and strengthening group dynamics. Eighth grade students engage in adventure-based leadership development activities at Project Adventure.
Middle School Clubs
Choice and Exploration
Model U.N., literary and art magazine, and pop knitting—are some of the club options available for middle schoolers. Comprised of mixed-grade groups, middle school clubs meet weekly and are led by faculty and staff who have expertise in or share a passion for a particular topic or activity. Clubs provide students with an opportunity to make choices—middle schoolers choose two club offerings to participate in each year. The diverse and exciting clubs at Belmont Day include:
- Literary and Art Magazine
- Model U.N.
- Book Club
- Dungeons and Dragons
- Games and Cards
- Pop Knitting
- Games Around the World
- Postcard Club
Greening and Sustainability
Environmental Mission Statement
Belmont Day School is committed to educating and encouraging all members of our school community to be responsible, respectful, and caring stewards of the environment. We will strive to teach and implement environmental best practices that will create a sustainable school environment and develop life-long skills that will prepare our members to make responsible environmental choices to sustain our local and global communities.
Belmont Day Garden — See How They Grow
The community garden at Belmont Day serves as an excellent teacher. It helps demonstrate lessons about the cycles of agriculture. Beyond that, students learn firsthand that the most gratifying achievements require planning, knowledge, commitment, effort, and patience.
We grow organic vegetables, edible flowers, and herbs. Students contribute to the effort, along with staff and parent volunteers. Our produce is not only used in our lunches but is donated to a food pantry and used in meals prepared for shelters. We use the garden across virtually all subjects and connect with academic curricula in many grade levels. A large pollinator garden, located directly alongside the vegetable garden, is filled with flowering plants and fruit trees to attract native pollinators such as bumblebees and other insects, butterflies, bats, and birds. Two Warre beehives feature observation windows and a design that allows bees to draw out their own honeycomb. Students help to maintain the hives and harvest the honey. The gardens and beehives serve as a lovely metaphor for our school, demonstrating that together, with attentiveness and industry, caring, and collaboration, we can achieve impressive results.
- Classroom and lunchroom composting
- Student energy conservation patrol
- School-wide recycling
- Eliminating the use of bottled water
- Vehicle idling awareness campaign
- Farm-to-school program
- Environmental community service opportunities for families
An 80 kW solar array is situated on the roof of the Barn and feeds directly into the building. It is expected that the array will provide up to 15% of the Barn’s electrical needs. The array is an exciting addition to our curriculum work in sustainability. Students will explore the design, electronics, and engineering of solar panels track the energy savings provided by solar power, and learn about other ways to reduce our carbon footprint. Check out our Solar Kiosk for a live glimpse at the daily energy production and the collateral environmental savings and benefits produced by this installation.
High School Placement
Belmont Day graduates go on to the high schools of their choosing, including day and boarding independent schools, faith-based schools, and local public schools.
Beginning at the end of seventh grade, representatives from various high schools visit Belmont Day and our students start to explore their options. In eighth grade we guide students to consider a variety of strong-fit schools, coach them on interviews, prepare them for essay writing, and help them develop compelling applications.
Our eighth graders are enthusiastic and active participants in this process. They feel the confidence that can only come from already being seen as a leader in their classrooms and community. The cumulative effect of their Belmont Day journey—encompassing academics, athletics, arts, community service and the Capstone project—is that they feel well-prepared and excited for the next challenge.
Meanwhile, we regularly hear from secondary schools how much they enjoy enrolling Belmont Day students. Our graduates are enthusiastic learners who contribute in classrooms and throughout the community. They often become athletic team captains, stand out in the arts, and serve as leaders of clubs and campus activities.
The Class of 2022 will attend:
- Beaver Country Day School
- Belmont High School (2)
- Boston Arts Academy
- Boston College High School
- Boston University Academy
- Brimmer and May School (2)
- Brooks School (2)
Buckingham Browne and Nichols School
- Cambridge Rindge and Latin (4)
- Cambridge School of Weston (2)
- Catholic Memorial High School
- Chapel Hill Chauncy Hall School
- Commonwealth School (3)
- Concord Academy (6)
- Dana Hall School
- Gann Academy
- Groton School
- Kimball Union Academy
- Middlesex School
- Noble and Greenough School
- Northfield Mount Hermon School
- Phillips Andover Academy
- Pike School
- Somerville High School
- Ursuline Academy
- Winchester High School