ESN Middle School Program Overview
Middle School is an important milestone in a student’s life. It is a time when they are transitioning out of elementary school into young adulthood, and are maturing intellectually, spiritually, social-emotionally, and physically. These Middle School years often shape a student’s beliefs and perspectives about themselves, their communities, and the world around them. Using the city as an extension of our classroom, our Middle School Program at ESN nurtures, inspires, and guides students in Grades 6-8 through this important time in their lives. Middle School students apply knowledge and skills to solve real-world problems in preparation for high school and beyond.
Our Advisory Program and Office Hours provide a daily touch point for students to connect, collaborate and build a safe community with their peers, as well as practice organizational and problem-solving skills, with support from a trusted Faculty Advisor. Office Hours is a 20 minute block at the end of each day where students can ask questions of faculty members, start their homework, and/or work independently. Our Advisory Program is informed by the Development Design Framework, which is an SEL approach that emphasizes both the academic and social needs of adolescents, and provides structures for teaching to the whole child so each student can reach their full academic potential, rather than be limited by the social and emotional realities of adolescence.
Our core academics, specials and elective classes focus on building exposure and practice around 21st century skills, such as critical inquiry and analysis, collaboration, creativity, and curiosity, alongside subject-specific content knowledge. Our low student-to-teacher ratio allows us to provide individualized instruction to meet students where they are, in addition to utilizing interdisciplinary approaches to solving real-world problems. Middle School teachers collaborate to design rigorous and meaningful learning opportunities for students daily, in order to help students move towards independence in their learning and develop into thoughtful, engaged active community members.
Clubs provide another outlet for students to practice channeling their ideas into action and hone leadership skills, through identifying and steering school-wide improvement projects. For the 2022-2023 School Year, students have a choice between Student Leadership Council (SLC) and Journalism Club, where they have a space to work democratically and collaboratively with peers, faculty and administration to lead change initiatives and build community.
Additionally, students and faculty work in partnership with community members to provide meaningful application of course skills and content. Community Partnerships have included growing produce to take to the Nashville Farmers Market, building our own bikes with Oasis Center, developing equitable neighborhood designs and public art with Civic Design Center, organizing supplies and resources for There with Care, designing and building new urban garden beds with Nashville Food Project, exploring different musical histories with artists and musicians from NMAAM, drumming with Global Education Center, and creating and producing our own songs with Home for Music. These relationships help us continue to future our mission as a diverse, urban independent school and utilize the “city as our classroom” to inspire the next generation of thinkers and change-makers.