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Welcome to the

Upper School

Ages 12-14

Becoming embers...


A Day at Ren

Scholars arrive between 7:30-8:00 and start the day with a school-wide morning meeting at 8:15. They break into literacy and numeracy classes that are based on each learners’s abilities and needs. After lunch and recess, classes participate in content studies  based on traditional and contemporary topics, and exploratory classes based on interests. School ends at 4:00 pm Monday-Thursday, and at 2:30pm on Friday.

Project Based Learning

 Faculty know their learners and skillfully craft learning opportunities that combine scholars’ interests and developing skills. Our middle school scholars work with a small team of faculty who hold masters or doctorates in the Humanities, Social Sciences, Mathematics, Sciences, and World Languages. The capstone on a Renaissance education is the Elder Project, a multi-dimensional study that draws together multiple disciplines to explore and express aspects of a broad-based question in an attempt to uncover new learning. They learn to curate knowledge, problem solve, manage their time and resources, interact with experts, often presenting to a panel of mentors for further development.


Independent Learning with Experts

Middle School Scholars participate in the life of our city – its people and its places – as a way of embedding personal relevance and a sense of community responsibility. We have relationships with theater groups, dance studios, community organizations, authors, scientists, and other experts who provide opportunities for our scholars in stewardship and service. Those relationships and resources fuel investigations and create support and encouragement essential for growing minds. We scaffold shadow positions and mentorships, opportunities to define and solve problems, and forums for sharing thoughtful voices about those things that concern and inspire us most. This effort bonds children to adults in the community and opens doors that they may not know exist.

Leadership in Multi-Aged Community

Some parents may wonder about the benefits of placing or keeping a youngster in a smaller environment for the years that are traditionally housed in a middle school. Research points to an environment of “extended family,” a focus on developing responsibility and leadership, and a more integrated form of academic learning to fit the needs of the developing mind. Smaller environments offer an ethos of “safety” (psychological and physical), relationships based on being known well, and consistent and sustained interactions with adults.

Widening the social group as a child matures is part of a healthy lifestyle. At school, the focus is on personal responsibility and learning in the peer group. After-school classes, camps, sports organizations, and neighborhoods address the need for broader interaction, child-specific interests, diversity, and the development of long-term relationships that may continue past the school years based on meaningful common-ground.

At Ren, we invest time in developing collaboration, offer support to identify and extend individual aspirations to make civic contributions, create bonds with the community and its resources, and are present for families and youngsters grappling with changing social-scapes as the peer group ages. We provide timely expert consultation in human sexuality, personal development, and constructive peer mediation.


Transition into High School

Teens who experience Ren’s instructional model, with its expanding circles of support, become self-confident learners who enter the broader world of schooling and community with grace, self-reflection, inner-strength and intrinsic motivation. Ren’s graduates, returning from high school, have reported feeling more prepared than peers from other settings with academic and study skills. They appear to easily engage in the larger environment, self-confident and assured of their individual power to advocate for themselves, navigate the social maze, and make a difference. Our graduates thrive at a range of public and private high schools.

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