Middle School


Celebrating independence, grace & curiosity

When you step into Tyler Hall and the Science & Technology building, the energy is palpable.

Capitalizing on the enthusiasm and curiosity of these adolescent students, our faculty designs hands-on, student-centered learning experiences.

Part of something bigger, something special

On a typical day, you might see students testing roofing materials on model houses as they discuss solar energy, hear students debating cultural topics in one of four languages as they expand their global horizons, feel students supported through our carefully aligned writing program as they begin to find their own voice; and experience the passion of students solving problems of the future logically through their understanding of mathematics and holistically through their learning from the past.

When our students step on the theater stage or put on their Cyclone jersey, we help them see themselves as part of something bigger, something special.

"Middle School is a crucial time in a child's development. At Porter-Gaud, we focus on the whole child and help each student build executive function skills and social-emotional intelligence skills, with the goal of making them effective self-advocates.


We accomplish this through the framework of our Vision of a Learner, which endeavors to make all students flexible problem solvers, resilient individuals, ethical decision-makers, empathetic collaborators, globally oriented citizens, engaged learners, and discerning thinkers. When our students complete middle school, we celebrate not only who they are but who they are becoming."

Dr. Michael Wright, Head of Middle School


5th Grade

Fifth graders are on the move. Everything is new - from changing classes to getting lockers and getting themselves from point A to point B, students enjoy what they see as “freedom,” what we call the beginnings of independence. Our fifth grade teams are smaller groups of students than the other grades to allow time for nurturing, welcoming, and easing them through the transition to a new division with new responsibilities.

The academic curriculum includes multiple interdisciplinary projects throughout the year and cumulative projects at the end of each semester to begin the practice of pulling major themes and understandings from each of the areas of study. Students also take their first steps into after-school extracurriculars, which fuel their new-found independence.

Fifth graders close the year with a class trip to Green River Preserve in the South Carolina mountains. For some students, it is their first time away from home, but for all our fifth graders, it is quality time exploring nature and bonding as a class after their first year in Middle School.


6th Grade

For our sixth graders, success comes in doing the little things, such as being organized and doing daily classwork. There are more expectations than before, so our teachers provide structure and guidance on how to tackle the work. Sixth graders learn the work/play balance and begin to develop more self-advocacy skills in asking for help when needed.

An exciting highlight for sixth graders is Winterim in early January. Many of our Winterim trips are multi-grade level experiences with students exploring their passions. As the “big kids” in Tyler Hall, they have the chance to mentor and welcome the fifth grade students. But even though they emerge as leaders in some ways, they still aren’t too old for a game of tag or hide and seek at lunch or during Community in Shady Acres.


7th Grade

Seventh grade is all about learning and working collaboratively. There is a focus on Project-based learning,  educating the community on environmental issues, and learning how to work within a group and manage deadlines. When failures unfold, our seventh graders build resilience by dusting themselves off and trying a different approach.  By the end of the seventh grade, our students develop study techniques for their individual success. The step-up in academic rigor and complexity can be a challenge at the start of seventh grade, but students emerge stronger and more confident for it.

Middle School pupil in class at Porter-Gaud


8th Grade

Independence, planning ahead, and leadership define our eighth grade experiences. Students are learning how to articulate their opinions, refine their self-advocacy skills, and learn to appreciate differences in thinking among peers.  More discussion-based and higher-level thinking is both encouraged and required in the classroom.

The relationships and communication between teachers and students matures, and students grow more comfortable seeking out their teachers for extra help. Many students participate at the JV / Varsity level in athletics as these are the initial steps to their next adventure as Upper School students. They leave the Middle School equipped and empowered to be successful in the Upper School.

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