Life in the Middle School inspires intellectual curiosity while giving opportunity and instruction to develop executive functioning skills such as work, creativity, ethics, resilience, curiosity, and time management. The students’ work is practical, hands-on and real-world—as well as academic.
The Middle School academic program, grounded in a humanities curriculum and complemented by interdisciplinary studies in math, science, language, and social studies, uses a seminar approach to encourage students’ deepening of their reading and speaking skills as they discuss literature and subject-area texts in small groups. Students concurrently identify real-world interests and entrepreneurial activities that they pursue under the umbrella of “occupations” and “micro-economy,” exercising planning and implementation of short and long-term projects over the school year. Students also study Spanish, art, music, and physical fitness. In after-school sports, the Post Oak Bearkats athletes can choose from volleyball, flag football, cross country, track, soccer, and basketball.
The weekly schedule for Middle School students begins to resemble adult life in many respects as students manage their daily responsibilities: attending scheduled lessons and using a planner to structure their time and prioritize their work as they strive to meet deadlines and standards of excellence.
Successful candidates for the Middle School demonstrate responsibility, respect, self-direction, curiosity, and community-mindedness.
Nine themes drive the curriculum: Fundamentals of Human Society, Classical Civilizations, Human Constructs, Peace, Revisiting Fundamentals, Law and Government, Dramatic Change, Globalization and Transnationalism, and 20th and 21st Century. The Post Oak Middle School curriculum is based on Dr. Montessori’s syllabus for the adolescent. The syllabus focuses on three aspects of development: self-expression, psychic development, and general education. All areas of instruction and activity in the Middle School are tied to one of these three aspects of the syllabus. The following diagram provides a key to understanding how individual subjects and activities relate to the syllabus.
Along with attention to academic and physical aspects of development, portions of our curriculum are aimed at developing life skills. These life skills include conflict resolution, problem-solving, community and individual responsibility, healthy life choices, and an understanding about the effects individuals have on the environment and the world.
The goals of service learning at The Post Oak School are many. Service learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities (Learn and Serve America National Service Learning Clearinghouse). Opportunities in the Middle School include an orientation to current issues that exist in our neighborhood and city and then looking at service as a way to make a positive impact.
Occupations in the Middle School connect students with activities that are life skills and tie into the curriculum in a way that emulates life outside of the school. Students engage in each activity with the hope of gaining more in-depth and applied experience with materials that build ability, self-worth, and interdependence with the community. Interests are identified and relationships cultivated that enhance the student connection between the classroom and the world including managing money, engaging in craft, or growing crops.
Visual arts are practiced at the Glassell School, the teaching branch of the Museum of Fine Art, Houston. Glassell instructors are contracted to work with the students providing technical and historical information as well as practical application.
Vocal music technique and application is conducted at the Middle School by classically trained instructors who are involved with the Houston Grand Opera and local church choirs.
Theater and drama are taught and performed in local theaters. Students have performed a number of different types of shows from classical Shakespearean to Spanish-language musicals. Theater techniques are taught throughout the year and a student-generated culminating performance is typically performed in the spring.