Building confidence. Making strides.
Our Middle Schoolers develop in leaps and bounds, progressing rapidly from fixed homerooms to traveling classes and from open cubbies to lockers. Far more important, our 4th-8th Graders make strides toward increasingly sophisticated academic tasks — grappling with complex problems, posing nuanced arguments, and working collaboratively while also learning to increasingly think for themselves.
Holland Hall Middle Schoolers don’t just study the ecology of the sea. They use what they know to create an ocean museum and teach all they’ve learned to their primary school peers. They don’t just memorize physics principles. They use them to build — and race — boats in a cardboard regatta. And they don’t just study global economics. Our Middle School students devise and enact plans to fight inequity and poverty, confronting real-world problems in ways that are frequently audacious, inspiring, brilliant, and brave.
We offer our transformative Middle School experience early, by transitioning our students in 4th Grade — an unusual arrangement that allows younger minds to engage more complex ideas taught by subject specialists sooner. Our unique Middle School building reflects that purpose, a serene, well-ordered space where deep thinking and intent concentration spins naturally out of unvarnished interiors and orderly spaces.
In a blog post entitled The Beautiful Struggle, Dan Kerr references the Middle School years as “that bright blue part right smack in the center…the core…the place where it burns the hottest, the place that shapes and molds, and the place that transforms the overall identity of the fire.” When asked, most adults would remark on their own Middle School years as volatile, difficult, and ones they would rather not repeat. On the other hand, those of us who have committed our careers and lives to working with this age group find that they are full of positive moments. Memories of Middle School, whether predominantly positive or negative, are always intense. As educators at Holland Hall, our aim is to capitalize on this intensity by capturing the beauty of the age, the wonder of the growth, and the opportunity to have an incredible impact on these young children who become adults before our very eyes.
Middle School students are unpredictable by nature. They are full of energy and embody a willingness, often an eagerness, to learn, try, and risk. During these pre-adolescence and early-adolescence years, we are fortunate to witness remarkable growth in physical, cognitive, social-emotional, psychological, moral, and spiritual development. The transformations are simply amazing, and they offer wonderful opportunities for educators and parents. Middle School years will be challenging, but they are also extremely rewarding.
First and foremost, Holland Hall is a community where we believe developing solid relationships with each student is the single most important thing we do as educators. As Maya Angelou says, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” In Academics, Athletics, and Arts, our students will thrive most fully when they feel valued, known, and connected — when they recall the relationships they had within our community and how those relationships lifted them up and made them feel confident, safe, and happy.
We humbly thank you for entrusting your children to us, and we look forward to working with you to ensure an intensely positive Middle School experience.
For those of you exploring Holland Hall, we invite you to come visit us in the Middle School, and we hope that in doing so, you will feel the energy, sense of community, and bright light that exists at Holland Hall Middle School.
Ms. Jennifer White
Middle School Head