A Middle School Where Students Grow in Every Way.

The three middle school years (grades 6-8) are formative years. Your children are growing and changing, discovering who they are and exploring the world around them. A nurturing, growth-oriented school environment that emphasizes character development as much as academic achievement makes all the difference at this age. At Willow, we help students realize their full potential, in the classroom and beyond. With the active practice of virtues, support from advisory groups, and a strong school community, Willow middle schoolers develop the skills to advocate for themselves, communicate effectively with their teachers and peers, take risks, pursue their interests and passions, learn from mistakes, and, most importantly, be themselves.

See what sets our middle school program apart:

Close First Accordion

Willow’s middle school program and culture is built on our virtues program.  Students are taught to practice and value virtues such as respect, responsibility, compassion, diligence, perseverance, honesty, and courage. As middle schoolers, students are given opportunities to actively demonstrate these virtues through our advisory program, leadership opportunities with our younger students, and student-led service learning projects. Middle schoolers often lead our school-wide Morning Gathering discussions of the virtues, and like all members of the Willow community, are encouraged to use the virtues as a guide in their interactions with each other in and outside of the classroom.

Students Have a Voice

At Willow, middle schooler’s thoughts, opinions, and ideas are valued and have a true impact. We encourage and empower students to identify issues and inspire change, and that starts with our school community. Recently, middle schoolers successfully advocated for a change in Willow’s dress code, showcasing both their communication and problem-solving skills and administrators’ flexibility to meet their needs. Middle schoolers are also given a lot of choices when it comes to their school day, from choosing which Committee or Elective to join to our Academic Focus and FLEX periods, where students are given free time to meet with teachers, work on homework, and collaborate with their classmates.


Not only do our middle schoolers spend time in mixed-aged 6-8th grade advisory groups, they also spend time with Lower School students at lunch, recess, and at our Morning Gatherings. This year, our middle school advisories have teamed up with some of the younger grades as buddy classes too. This provides plenty of organic opportunities to lead our younger students through teaching new activities and modeling our virtues program firsthand. Willow middle schoolers also take charge of service committees and projects, organize annual Willow traditions like the Talent Show, host community breakfasts to fundraise for their class trip, and lead informative tours for visitors.

Beyond the Basics

Willow elevates the middle school learning experience. Our curriculum dives deeply and very intentionally into the core subjects while focusing on developing the skills children will need in an ever-changing world – communication, collaboration, systems thinking, creativity, and problem-solving.

For example:

  • In English, middle schoolers examine the Harlem Renaissance, dissect Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” using the SOAPSTone method, and step into the shoes of the characters in Lois Lowry’s dystopian novel, Gathering Blue. Our program places an emphasis on broadening students’ cultural literacy and analytical abilities along with building critical reading comprehension and writing and communication skills to prepare students for high school and beyond.
  • In Social Studies, students read, discuss, and debate ideas using critical thinking and practice civil discourse. They become effective global citizens in our interdependent world through Systems Thinking, and become adept at identifying the causes of a problem and finding the leverage point of a system where positive change can be introduced effectively.
  • In Math, middle schoolers learn to express their mathematical thinking in a clear and accurate manner, while working with others to solve problems and trying new ways to accomplish a task.
  • In Science, our students focus on collecting and analyzing data, scientific communication, evidence-based claims, and 21st century skills such as collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, and media literacy.

Ready to Learn More?

Use the form below to schedule a conversation.

Let’s Start a Conversation

Interested in learning more about our middle school program? Please submit the form below and our Director of Enrollment Management Lisa VanderVeen will connect with you.

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Request our Parent’s Guide to Executive Functioning in middle school. We will email it to you immediately.

Director of Admissions Lisa VanderVeen is here to help! Contact her at (908) 470-9500, ext. 1100 or via email.

Apply Fall 2023