Sending your young adolescent to a junior boarding school can be one of the best decisions you make as a parent. Middle schoolers are social. Boarding life harnesses their natural motivation to be around their peers while under of the care of adults who they consider friends and mentors. They can experiment with new habits of work, play and study, free from expectations that have become constrictive.
- confident being themselves
- safe to explore their identity, and
- inspired to discover their place in society.
As members of our community, students discover their natural talents and individual strengths. They build on these parts of their personality to one day make a difference in the world.
Family-style Boarding Houses
Boarding students live in family-style homes with four to five students and two houseparents. Each house is a community of its own, setting rules, planning outings and problem-solving disagreements as they arise. Consensus decision making allows each student to feel like they have a voice in how their home is run. They share meals together, work cooperatively to cook, clean and maintain the home, and play together every evening.
Using family-style houses creates that feeling of family where students feel a sense of belonging. Houseparents can be attentive to each middle schooler’s physical, emotional, and academic needs.
Being a teenager is hard. Young people are constantly worrying about who they are, how they fit in with their peers and who they will eventually be. This emotionally chaotic journey is filled with new temptations, unexpected feelings and physical changes. We assign every student a social advisor to guide them through these challenges.
Advisor/advisee groups are comprised of two students and one staff that meet once a week. Groups stay together all year, emphasizing the importance of building lasting connections. Staff advisors provide a mature and sympathetic perspective as they serve as advocates, mentors, trusted companions, and role models. Having this safe and reliable space to talk about their emotions provides students with the message that they are seen and valued.
Young people crave real responsibility. Chores provide valuable opportunities for students to learn the practical life skills of taking care of themselves and their surroundings. When students leave our junior boarding school, they feel self-sufficient and are able to help others who need it. When our community trusts and depends upon our students, it inspires a strong work ethic, self-confidence, and a sense of group responsibility.
Life skills that middle schoolers learn while at AMS include:
- washing dishes
- doing laundry
- sweeping and mopping
- managing time limits
- working together with a team
Community service is an important component of a junior boarding school education. By doing community service regularly, our students grow into adults who find joy caring for the people and places around them. They learn to give of themselves to make the world better. Examples of community service include:
- maintaining mountain trails
- conducting roadside cleanup
- planting a garden at a local day program for adults with disabilities
- volunteering with local nonprofit organizations like Habitat for Humanity
As part of educating the whole child, AMS makes our students’ personal growth a priority. In the boarding houses, we provide daily mentorship on personal hygiene, positive sleep habits, nutrition and time management. At school, we offer a personal growth class that covers topics ranging from personal identity to peer relationships to sexual education. Students are able to safely ask embarrassing questions and receive guidance as their bodies are rapidly changing.