"More than a place to learn, a place to belong."
~ Lauren, student
geared towards the building of relationships and
the nurturing of the whole child at this critical time in their life.
"I am not alone."
~ Andrew, student
Students and a teacher give you an in-depth look at Free Horizon Montessori Middle School.
Montessori is an education for independence, preparing not just for school, but for life.
We believe that middle school is a time for students to start fostering independence as well as building confidence. The confidence they build in our program will help them to make positive life choices in high school and beyond. We do not consider middle school to be a “mini” version of high school, but a foundation for high school success. Here are some components that make our program unique:
- Our program is designed with the early adolescent in mind - literally. Other than infancy, the brain of the adolescent is growing faster than any other time in life. Just like their body has a growth spurt, so does their brain. During this time of brain development, we know three things to be true of the early adolescent. 1) They feel things intensely 2) They have desires to take risk 3) They are the center of their own universe. The Free Horizon Montessori Middle school takes those developmental needs into the highest consideration.
- Through community meetings and restorative justice circles, we allow the early adolescent to find their voice and develop problem solving skills. This helps to further build confidence, in addition to allowing the student to learn when to take ownership. Finding their voice at an early age can help them to stand up for themselves in difficult situations that may arise later in life.
- The early adolescent’s brain has a desire to take risks. Our goal is to fulfill the need of risk-taking behavior in a safe environment. Students participate in a variety of activities ranging from indoor skydiving to career internships and exploration. Allowing them to take risks in safe venues can serve as a deterrent for students who may seek out other unhealthy risk taking behaviors.
Students visit indoor skydiving for a math and physics lesson.
All Middle School students must enroll in one course in each of the following content areas: Humanities, Math, Science, Health & Wellness, Business & Economics, Family & Consumer Science, Service Learning, Career Exploration, and Advisement & Access. Many content areas offer an Honors option, which requires additional work from students enrolled in that track. Students also receive work study time where they can focus on projects or other schoolwork or receive individual additional help and explanation if needed. The majority of school work is done in the classroom with those who can provide the support needed, not sending it home into an environment that cannot adequately provide support.
“My favorite part is that it’s easier to understand, since I can get a lesson anytime I need.”
~ Jaron, student
Some highlights and specialized academics in our program:
Humanities is a mix of history and literature, taught through impressionistic lessons, traditional textbook work, and independent research. Our literature is chosen to complement the topics discussed in history and is carefully woven into history and language lessons. Through this integration of history and literature, students read a variety of genres, authors, and styles in order to improve their critical thinking skills and their analytical, expository, persuasive, and expressive writing skills. Writing assignments take different forms: structured essays and poems, personal journal entries, creative pieces, and short articles. Peer editing and “read arounds” continue the Montessori inspired traditions of student evaluation and oral presentation. Students improve their reading, writing, geography, vocabulary, grammar, and writing mechanics through targeted lessons and essay revisions.
Students during a math lesson in a class of six. Classes are based on individual learning style and developmental level,
not grade level. This is not a one-size fits all learning environment.
Business & Economics class focuses on student-run businesses, which, for most students, is their first direct experience managing and operating a business. Students are responsible for the economic and business structure of the enterprise including marketing, sales, preparation, customer service, collecting monies, and ordering inventory. One of our most popular enterprises so far has been weekly sales of breakfast burritos to our community and the surrounding businesses. The success of earning money is a strong source of validation for an adolescent’s hard work, and proceeds from these student-run businesses help support classroom trips and activities. Burrito Sales 2017!
Math Students enrolled in the Middle School Mathematics Program at Free Horizon Montessori will experience an innovative approach to mathematics education: pairing modern technology with abstract modeling so students can experience a tactile understanding of mathematical concepts and theories. Students will not only learn required computation skills, they will also learn how to develop their logic and reasoning skills in order to solve real-world applications of algebra and geometry.
Service Learning days are scheduled throughout the school year. Understanding that each of us has both the power and the responsibility to be of service is an important lesson to learn during adolescence. We firmly believe that both social service and environmental service help our students develop a positive morality. Our partnership with local organizations allows our students to practice building self-esteem, character, teamwork, respect, compassion, empathy and kindness. Students are encouraged to introduce new service projects and endeavors to our school community and are supported through the process of translating an idea into a reality.
Please see the Middle School course catalog for more information on every class offered at FHM Middle School.
Students at Red Rocks Park after completing an afternoon of service learning planting milkweed for butterflies and removing non-indigenous plants.
Free Horizon Middle School is large enough for comprehensive sports and enrichment, small enough for individualized attention and support. Students carry two electives per semester with multiple choices in art, music, physical education, library sciences and technology. FACS and Health and Wellness are included in core class requirements. Please see the Middle School course catalog for more information on every class offered at FHM Middle School.
A student creates a mirror image of a face in art elective.
Art - All FHM studio classes, including Art Electives, incorporate Over-arching Learning Outcomes based on State and District Standards. These include; Comprehension connecting to “Big Ideas” of Expression, Communicating, and Making Meaning, Reflection and Critical Thinking through evaluation and analysis, Creating works that are connected to Big Ideas, and the Transfer and Articulation of new knowledge and skills that validate the Visual Arts to the human experience.
Library - The FHM library provides an excellent opportunity to have a very positive impact on the school with an integrated work experience approach. Through the daily activities of maintaining the order of the library and the completion of at least one project, the student, will obtain real world experience of aspects of working in a library. The student will choose their own project(s). Responsibilities include shelving books and other behind the scenes activities that help keep the library humming along for all of FHM’s students.
Music - Music courses survey different musical styles and periods with the intent of increasing students’ enjoyment of musical styles and/or developing their artistic or technical judgment. These courses may also focus on developing an understanding of a particular style or period of music. Both year-long options for orchestra/band and choir are offered.
P.E. - Health and Fitness courses combine the topics of Health Education courses (nutrition, stress management, substance abuse prevention, disease prevention, first aid, and so on) with an active fitness component (typically including aerobic activity and fitness circuits) with the intention of conveying the importance of life-long wellness habits.
Technology - Intro to Computers is mandatory for every 7th grade student and new 8th grade students. We work on computer basics and typing in this class. All students will get extensive typing practice. Other classes offered are Information Technology, Engineering & Tech, and Computer Science.
Students enjoy a small group combo with guitars, drums, keyboards, and singing.
At Free Horizon, we believe that developing practical life skills and nurturing relationships at home is time well spent. Based on this belief, our homework policy is as follows:
Students are given time to complete homework in a work cycle in which teachers are providing hands on support and instruction.
Homework will not simply be given for the sake of giving homework. All homework is relevant to the instruction happening in class (relevance is key to the adolescent mind).
Large projects may require more homework, and they will come with rubrics so that parents know how to provide support at home.
We believe that the parent-child relationship needs more attention during early adolescence than at any other time of life, so we want to make sure you have that time. The sense of responsibility can be created by giving your child “grown up” jobs that make them feel an important part of your home community - cooking dinner, taking care of the lawn, helping with younger siblings are all examples of ways to start transferring adult responsibility.
Our teachers strive to assure homework load is manageable and relevant. We think your time as a family is more valuable.
A student designs and engineers a robot for the Science and Engineering Fair.
Fashion is important to the early adolescent. While this may seem like a small area to us as adults, it is HUGE to the early adolescent because it combines those 3 critical components of feeling things intensely, taking risks, and being the center of their own universe. At Free Horizon we follow a dress code, but also honor the uniqueness of a middle schooler. Our kids are definitely not cookie cutters. From suits and ties, to jeans and tees, natural brown hair, to funky pink, we embrace our middle schoolers for who they are!
"I like my friends and my teachers...And the freedom to be me."
~ Joscelin, student
TRAVEL AND FIELD TRIPS
Students travel on at least one educational-curriculum or service learning field trip per month. Real world learning and hands-on experiences are important to our program. Students take school buses, chartered buses, local buses and light rail to destinations and gain independence and confidence in local transportation. Not all field trips are offsite. The Colorado Mountain Club brings their bouldering bus, a mobile classroom, to school. Students are given a hands-on lesson in physical education and team building while gaining self confidence. An overnight trip is also planned every year with the school traveling to Washington, DC in spring in even numbered years. As a part of their business and economics class, students run a business to fundraise for large trips and gain hands-on business experience.
Students running a knitted hat fundraising business as part of their Business & Economics class.
"When I first stepped foot inside FHM, I thought wow, this is really nothing I am used to -
but during my time here, the teachers have prepared me for what is to come and I feel prepared as I move on to high school" ~ Daejiah
Discipline procedures are a fact of life in all school settings, however, at Free Horizon we feel strongly that students should be an active part of the disciplinary process through Restorative Practice.
Restorative Practices empower students to resolve conflicts on their own and in small groups, and is a growing practice in schools around the country. Essentially, the idea is to bring students together in small groups to talk, ask questions, and air their grievances, allowing the student to be actively involved in the process to repair any harm done to relationships.
ID CARDS & LOCKERS
Students will receive an ID on picture day and a locker the first week of school. Students are responsible for all items left in lockers.
Students work on individual laptops to complete assignments.
All students will be assigned a Chromebook for academic use while at school. Students and parents will sign an agreement for use before a computer is issued. Please refer to the Student Handbook for details - FreeHorizon.org/Handbook.
Study Hall is currently available on Tuesdays from 3:30 - 4:00 p.m. and Wednesdays from 2:00 - 2:30 p.m.
"Thank you to all my teachers, friends, and FHM for changing my life in the best way."
Highly qualified, experienced teachers personally know each student and understand their needs.
Research and experience indicate that adolescents benefit from having periodic snacks to meet the needs of their growing bodies. Students may bring healthy snacks from home and eat them at any time during the school day as work permits. Students are also encouraged to bring water bottles to school every day.
Students may bring lunch from home or purchase hot lunch at FHM. Parents and students are encouraged to pack healthy snacks and lunches if bringing from home. Soda and "junk" foods are not allowed per the Student and Parent Handbook.
Students take the Light Rail for educational and service learning field trips. Students also take the Light Rail for a day on the Auraria Campus and
receive a math lesson from a college professor.
Please refer to the school calendar at FreeHorizon.org/calendar for important dates for the entire school year. Please remember dates are subject to change and the calendar is updated regularly. Reminders will also be found in each week’s newsletter.
Still have questions?
Watch a video of a special panel night hosted by current and former middle school students, teachers, staff and parents.
Additional Middle School Information
Click on the links below to learn more about the FHM Middle School Program.
Slide Show Overview of the FHM Middle School Program
(Note: This is a large file and might take a few minutes to download)