Middle School
(Grades 7 – 8)

Our program is a unique combination of best middle school practices and Montessori education. We provide a small and trusting community that allows students to explore the construction of themselves while engaging in meaningful and challenging work. Our curriculum is based on experiential learning, meaning that students learn through hands-on experiences and by doing their own research. Large blocks of interrupted work time are built into the day for students to create their work schedule. This is very different from traditional schools where classes and time are divided time by individual subjects. The concepts that are studied in Montessori schools are integrated into all subject areas so that students are able to see a connecting theme in language arts, social studies, science, math, and the real world. The Montessori teacher is trained in each subject, enabling deeper learning between subjects to occur.

There is a high level of expectation on all assignments and assessments and students must demonstrate mastery of a concept before moving on to the next. The program curriculum is differentiated and student-centered so that each student may proceed at her own pace. The parent, student, teacher partnership is essential and involves communicating clearly with each other on a regular basis. Students lead their own conferences each semester and use this time to self-assess their academic achievement, academic skills, and life related skills. All of these practices empower students to take responsibility of their own learning.

Each academic year includes five cycles of work followed by an immersion week for service learning, field trips, and business internships. Our ongoing service learning project is in partnership with a local nature preserve. We work on and with the land together as it is the Montessori philosophy to connect with nature. Our field trips are always related to what we are studying and help students apply what we are learning to what is going on in the community.

This is a crucial time for students to establish independence in the classroom, at home, and in the larger community. Montessori middle school does not just prepare students for high school, it is a place for transformative learning. Our ultimate goal is for students to be academically competent, self-aware, engaged in the community, and respectful to all others and the environment. We hope that our adolescents grow to be the creative, compassionate, highly-adaptive, solution oriented adults of tomorrow.

Middle School Faculty:

Kat Gandeza

Kat Gandeza

Middle School Teacher

Kat has worked with all ages at Alegria since 2012. She is finishing her Montessori Secondary training at Houston Montessori Center in Texas. She is in the process of obtaining a Master’s in Education with a focus on Montessori Integrative Learning from Endicott College in MA. Kat is a St. Petersburg native and Florida State University graduate. Kat loves nature, art, music, traveling and spending quality time with family and friends. She is excited to start the middle school program at Alegria and share her passion of learning with students.