Programs

Middle School Program

At Thaden, we approach the middle school years as a time to nurture agile minds and hearts through play, discovery, compassion, and trust. Early adolescents have unique intellectual, social, and emotional needs as they navigate the critically important years between elementary and high school. Designed with a deep understanding of these needs, Thaden’s middle school curriculum ignites students’ curiosity and passion for discovery while building the skills and habits they will need to thrive in our upper school program. We also offer a broad range of co-curricular programs that help younger students build confidence and develop as leaders, artists, and community volunteers.

List of 5 items.

  • Curriculum

    The middle school curriculum provides a balanced foundation in the traditional disciplines: Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, English, World Languages, and the Arts. Each year, students take an average of five core courses plus an elective. Each course meets three times per week. While emphasizing skills development, our faculty approach each of these subjects in innovative and highly integrated ways that allow students to grapple with challenging questions well beyond the classroom walls. Middle school students also have the opportunity to integrate their studies across the disciplines through each of our three signature programs (Wheels, Reels, and Meals).
  • Feedback and Advising

    We believe that the middle school years should be exciting and ignite in students a passion for learning and discovery. At the same time, we know that academic growth also requires hard work, tough questions, and constructive feedback. Our small class sizes (averaging no more than 15 students) allow our faculty to provide thoughtful and timely evaluation of student work. Essays and projects are marked carefully and judiciously, tests and quizzes are graded promptly, and words of praise and encouragement are shared generously. At the end of each trimester, students and their families receive grade reports from each teacher that are supported with written evaluations and suggestions for improvement.

    Middle school students are assigned to advisors in groups of approximately twelve. Each middle school advisory meets regularly to discuss matters of school life and otherwise provide students with informal opportunities to enjoy snacks and decompress during the day. The advisor is an advocate to whom students (and their families) can turn for guidance. Each year students lead a conversation with their advisor and their parents or guardians in which they reflect on their progress in and out the classroom.
  • Athletics and Co-Curricular Programs

    Critical to the balance of our education program are the co-curricular programs that provide students with opportunities to challenge themselves, collaborate with one another, and advance their capacities to learn in several modes.

    In the founding years, we intend to field at least one interscholastic athletic team each season that includes both boys and girls, is flexible in terms of number of student participants needed in order to compete, and that promotes individual leadership as well as teamwork. In selecting our initial athletic offerings, we balance our desire to be distinctive with the need for a critical mass of regional teams against which to compete.

    Students in the founding years also have the opportunity to establish and lead a number of clubs and other organizations.
  • Faculty

    The quality of our educational program resides in the expertise of our teaching staff. All of our educators, recruited from the region, state, and across the country, bring to our campus a passion for and mastery of the subjects they teach and demonstrated ability to inspire and mentor young people, both inside and outside of the classroom. This commitment to students and to the classroom experience, coupled with ongoing opportunities for professional development, is a distinguishing feature of the Thaden faculty.
  • Calendar

    Thaden’s academic calendar runs on a trimester rather than a semester system. Twelve-week trimesters allow middle and upper school students to take a greater number of courses in a given year, enabling them to explore more disciplines and subjects. Our trimester calendar also gives teachers more opportunities to diversify their offerings and innovate with new subjects and teaching methods. Of course, a subject that cannot be effectively covered within a single trimester can still be offered across multiple trimesters in much the same way that certain subjects are offered for two consecutive semesters.

    For two weeks during the academic year, Thaden students alter their routine to work with faculty, fellow students, and community members (artists, scientists, entrepreneurs, business leaders, etc.) to apply what they’ve learned to various projects of local and global significance. For example, a history teacher might partner with an environmental scientist to design an immersive study of the Battle of Pea Ridge. What would soldiers have relied on for sustenance in the field? What landscape features and weather conditions might have influenced the staging of the battle? The possibilities for collaboration and immersive learning in Northwest Arkansas are endless, and these capstone projects – what we are calling Intensives — will allow teachers to model the investigative habits of mind essential to critical thinking.

    Although the trimester system has not been widely adopted in the region, our academic calendar begins on or near the same date as most public and charter schools in Northwest Arkansas and is aligned with sports seasons, national holidays, and traditional breaks. The Thaden year has two-week winter and spring breaks and celebrates special occasions such as Louise Thaden Day. 

    See the Thaden School Calendar

Thaden School

| 410 SE Staggerwing Lane | Bentonville, AR 72712 | 479-268-5321info@thadenschool.org