Walk into our Middle School classrooms. You will not see heads bowed silently over textbooks, or students who listen passively as a teacher speaks. Instead, you will find small workshops in which students are active, engaged, and purposeful. You will find students designing, developing, and executing their own projects in Exploratory, our innovative independent study program. You will see students presenting original research to peers.
As much as possible, the work that middle school students do is connected to the real world; they address real problems, use real-world resources, and find multiple answers to their never-ending stream of real questions.
Expanding Intellectual Horizons. Learning in the Middle School is collaborative, investigative, and deeply intellectual. While content is essential – you can’t have genuine understanding without it – students also learn to develop the tools of inquiry and the habits of mind that will make them life-long learners and problem-solvers. Students are encouraged and expected to approach their work with passion, intelligence, and creativity; we believe in depth over breadth. Our goal is not simply to transmit material, but rather to teach students how to think and communicate like historians, writers, mathematicians, scientists, and artists.
Social, Emotional, and Physical Development. The Middle School years are rewarding, but they can also be demanding for adolescents and their families. Our program extends beyond students’ intellectual development, attending to their physical, social, and emotional growth as well. Students are part of a respectful, supportive, and close-knit community - a safe environment that encourages them to take intellectual risks. Students graduate from Sabot at Stony Point eager for the academic, intellectual, and social challenges of the region’s best high schools. Test-taking preparation and other requirements are systematically addressed.
Where Do Sabot Students Attend High School? A question on the minds of most parents of middle schoolers is, "What about high school?" Sabot's middle school students have access to a wide variety of high school options in the greater Richmond area. In addition to attending their neighborhood high schools, our students apply to and are accepted by other area independent schools (Collegiate, St. Catherine's, St. Christopher's, St. Gertrude, and Trinity), and city and county specialty schools and programs (Maggie L. Walker Governor's School, Appomattox Regional Governor's School, Open High School, Thomas Jefferson High School - IB Program, James River High School - Leadership Program, Douglas Freeman High School - Leadership Program, Mills Godwin High School - Science, Mathematics & Technology Specialty Center, Hermitage High School - Center for the Humanities). Hear from our alumni about their preparation for high school in this short video.
Welcome! Whether you are a student, a parent, or an educator, we are delighted that you are interested in Sabot at Stony Point. Read below for detailed information about our curriculum, and contact Maggie Barrett, our Director of Admissions, to learn more about the extraordinary education we offer.
Here, a group of middle school students begin to think about what an ideal middle school learning space would look like.
We believe that students learn best when they are given choice about what and how to learn. Middle school students can exercise choice in some aspects of their regular course work, but they are given greatest scope to follow their passions in Exploratory – an independent study where students plan and create original projects, working in small, collaborative groups with a faculty mentor and in consultation with the Studio Teacher. Recent projects have included learning about cartooning and creating a comic book; creating a research-based food blog (that gained the following of author Michael Pollan); researching the evolution of airplanes; learning about photography by taking pictures of young dancers among famous Richmond landmarks (in the style of Dancers Among Us by Jordan Matter; testing a hypothesis about the effect of music on runners' speed; and wood-working to make a chess board and carve the pieces. Through Exploratory, students learn to pursue an idea or interest with creativity and persistence, to take responsibility for planning, organizing, and executing work. They gain experience in presenting research to others, in responding constructively to other presentations, and in reflecting critically on their own work. For an in-depth look at our Exploratory program, click here.
The Middle School language arts program gives students authentic experiences as readers, writers, and critical thinkers, engaging and expanding their capacity for reading deeply, writing frequently, speaking boldly, and listening closely. Exploring the major genres of writing, students pre-write, draft, revise, and edit, while mechanics of writing and grammar are taught through creative, generative exercises and in the context of each student’s writing. Teacher-editors guide student-writers through the process; final pieces are published in print and online, and 7th and 8th graders
also submit to the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.
Literature — creatively fictional or creatively factual — is explored both through in-class read-alouds and discussions and through students’ independent reading and reflection. And in student-led Socratic Seminars, real-world issues generate lively discussion and debate while honing the ability to ask questions, pursue ideas, and discover new perspectives.
The Middle School math curriculum extends the development of students’ mathematical thinking begun in Lower School. Students explore key mathematical ideas and their interrelationships, often through problems that require them to think, plan, reason, compute, and evaluate. They gain fluency and facility with concepts, reasoning, and computation, and learn to interpret and communicate information in graphic, numeric, symbolic, and verbal forms. Grade-level content and skills are aligned with standards developed by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. The Math Specialist works with Middle School math faculty to implement the math curriculum. Students who successfully complete the middle school math program may be awarded a high school Algebra 1 credit.
Built around in-depth investigation of topics related to the concepts listed in the chart, our program supports students’ use of the scientific method in their investigations and enables them to grasp essential scientific facts and concepts,
a deep understanding of the scientific method, and an appreciation for science’s role in society and its implications for students’ own lives. Students do not simply learn about science — they learn to do science. Students in 7th and 8th grade conduct a year-long independent research project and have the opportunity to submit their final paper to the Virginia Junior Academy of Science (VJAS) for review. Students whose projects are accepted by VJAS present their papers to a panel of scientists and an audience of teachers and peers. Our curriculum is guided by the National Research Council’s National Science Education Standards. Students may be awarded 9th grade credit for Earth Science.
Sabot's 7th and 8th grade students at the VJAS Symposium at University of Mary Washington.
Students acquire a far-reaching and useful foundation of factual knowledge. But the curriculum goes beyond “who, what, when, and where” to emphasize the “why” and “how” of historical events and historical causality. Middle school history students learn to apply what they’ve learned through thesis-based research papers; broad, rich group research projects; and numerous presentations in which they learn to adapt their work to better communicate and address changing audiences’ understanding and needs.
After completing the U.S. History sequence in 6th grade, students delve into Global Studies and acquire the essential background they will need to engage the challenging issues of the 21st century. In 8th grade, a rigorous curriculum begins with a deep grounding in the U.S. Constitution before grappling with long, deep sub-units on select contemporary topics in Civics and Economics. (Recent examples include the Affordable Care Act before the Supreme Court and the Shockoe Bottom Stadium proposal.
Beginning in 3rd grade, students study Spanish in an immersive environment. They are challenged to use their communication skills in real-life contexts (to express opinions, give information, solve problems, and complete tasks). Language acquisition is promoted through scaffolding of comprehensible input, and it is contextualized and made relevant by incorporating culture, the arts, games, and projects. Graduating students may be eligible for Spanish I credit for high school.
Middle school students work with a different visiting artist each trimester, focusing on a specific area of the arts, such as theater, music, or visual art. As in the Lower School, these skills are integrated into all subject areas through presentations and other documentation of student’s learning.
We approach physical fitness as a life-long endeavor, where the goal is to cultivate skills, habits, interests, and an intrinsic motivation for physical activity. Students engage in a range of sports and non-competitive activities that get them outdoors, moving, and having fun. Larus Park, a 100-acre city park adjacent to our campus, provides access to explore the natural world. Middle school students have PE four days per week.
Our curriculum emphasizes developmentally appropriate, accurate, and responsive information about the human body, health and wellness, gender, self care, puberty, reproduction, and human sexuality. We encourage families to engage in ongoing conversations with their children about their own families’ values and beliefs. Our health and human sexuality curriculum begins in 4th grade and continues through the 8th grade, although consultation with all grades is available upon teacher request.
Our School Counselor explicitly addresses the social and emotional needs of students. Classroom lessons focus on the developmental needs of students as well as address specific issues that arise (e.g. conflict resolution, handling responsibility, stress reduction). Individual and group short-term counseling is available for students who need support at school (e.g. grief and loss, study skills, friendship skills). The counselor also supports 8th graders as they prepare to transition to high school.
Every year, the Sabot at Stony Point community undertakes a school-wide exploration, with opportunities for cross-grade collaboration. The Studio Teacher provides support in conceptualizing students’ and faculty’s endeavors, and in bringing their ideas to fruition. In September of 2016, Marty Gravett (Director of Early Childhood and Outreach) and two teachers - Mauren Campbell and Anna Golden, published this article about our Umbrella Project. (From Innovations in Early Education: The International Reggio Emilia Exchange, v. 23, n. 3, September 2016. Published by the North American Reggio Emilia Alliance (NAREA).
On an Umbrella Project field trip into Richmond, students took time to observe and sketch the city views from multiple vantage points.