Middle School

A Time of Self Discovery

McLean’s dynamic Middle School program is designed to help students in Grades 5 through 8 thrive academically, emotionally, and socially. It’s a time of tremendous change, challenge, and growth as children become more accomplished and confident learners.

It’s exciting to see our students develop insights about who they are and how they learn, and we are prepared to accelerate and support accordingly. Our goal is to provide a nurturing environment in which to foster increased independence and fortify a range of skills so students are poised for success in our college-preparatory Upper School program.


Middle SchoolAt-A-Glance

HighlightsMiddle School

  • A personalized learning experience for each child, with a 9:1 student-teacher ratio and some classes as small as five students.
  • All teachers in Grades 5 and 6 have a degree, license, or background in special education, which allows them to meet a variety of learning needs within our homeroom model like ADHD and dyslexia. In our departmentalized Grades 7 and 8, content experts understand best practices and pedagogy for working with all learners.
  • We promote positive community building in a variety of ways, including through the Responsive Classroom curriculum and P.R.I.D.E. system (Positive interaction, Respect/Responsibility, Individual and community safety, Decision making, and Empathy).
  • An emphasis on learning outside the classroom around shared interests and activities through sports, STEAM and Robotics, service-learning, visual arts and theatrical performances, and weekly clubs.

Early in my career, as I began to understand kids with dyslexia, ADHD, and executive functioning challenges, and why some schools fail them, I understood the power of differentiated instruction. But the truth is that every student should learn this way; everyone is better served by multi-modality lessons. Learning can and should be enjoyable and accessible, and that’s what we strive for at McLean.David Roth, Assistant Head of School for Educational Programs &
Head of Middle School

Smiling girl looks up from drawing large map of Persia

Q and AMiddle School Support

What are some examples of the academic support provided in the Middle School?

Students benefit from an individualized Student Learning Profile℠, while simultaneously learning to take increased ownership of their learning, as is developmentally appropriate. Teachers implement the individualized strategies and accommodations recommended for each student, in their regular classroom setting.

The Middle School Learning Services Team includes a Coordinator of Learning Services, Reading Specialist, Math Specialist, Speech-Language Pathologist, Coordinator of Social-Emotional Programming and Counselor.

What are some of the ways the Middle School Learning Services team supports students?
  • Additional personnel that focus on math, reading, writing, executive functioning, and social-emotional needs
  • Integrated, push-in support
  • Work with students in small groups
  • Serve as a resource to families
  • Attend weekly meetings to share insights, observations, and develop strategies to support students
What are some examples of the academic support provided in the Middle School?
  • Trained, expert teachers with skills to support varying learners
  • Multi-sensory and multimodal approaches
  • Interactive, meaningful, creative, and engaging lessons
  • Integrated support from a team of specialists
  • Differentiation in each group to meet students’ learning needs
  • Fluidity in small groups so that students are appropriately supported and challenged as progress is made
  • Access to accelerated courses in both the Middle and Upper School when appropriate
What are some of the ways that social/emotional support is provided in the Middle School?
  • P.R.I.D.E. (Positive Interaction, Respect & Responsibility, Individual & Community Safety, Decision, Making, and Empathy) Program is a positive behavior management system
  • P.R.I.D.E. Matters course in Grades 5/6 teaches skills for developing and demonstrating character strengths such as empathy, responsibility, self-control, and leadership
  • Good Morning McLean Advisory Program for Grades 7/8, creates a sense of community and safety to allow for constructive social-emotional learning and exploration of progressively more complex topics relevant to the daily life of a middle school student
  • Coordinator of Social-Emotional Programming develops and implements a pro-social curriculum with an emphasis on our Personal Skills and Attributes
  • Monthly division-wide goals to reinforce safety, kindness, and responsibility
  • P.R.I.D.E. banners are awarded throughout the day as positive reinforcement
  • Counselor-facilitated small group discussions to help strengthen relationships
What is the difference between a traditional learning specialist model and the Learning Services team model at McLean?
Traditional Learning Specialist Model McLean’s Learning Services Model
Pulls students out of the classroom during academic periods Supports students in peer groups in the classroom
Only works with students with disabilities Works with all students
Serves as the “expert” of LD on the team Collaborates with highly skilled teachers, Specialists, and families in a partnership
Is the sole provider of extra support Communicates and coordinates support from team of providers (support team, outside supports, parents, teachers)
Focuses on remediation and catching a student up to grade-level Focuses on working with the team to meet students where they are and moving them forward
The sole person collecting information about a student’s needs and documenting support in a file Monitors and updates digital Student Learning Profiles℠, including teacher insights which are shared with teachers and Learning Services team from grade to grade