Real Learning for Real Life

Coming Into Their Own

The Middle School (5th through 8th grades) at Ancona is a time of transition and coming into one’s own, both academically and socially. Our advisory program gives students a venue and a voice to express their ideas and feelings and to work through the challenges that accompany ever-greater responsibility and independence. In academic classes, students apply the foundational skills they have acquired in preprimary and elementary in more complex and context-based projects. Projects in Middle School often have a real-world audience or are aimed at solving a real-world problem.

Acquiring the Academic and Analytic Tools Required for the 21st Century

In Middle School, students encounter a growing emphasis on self-directed, rigorous academic study within the context of choice and opportunities for in-depth exploration of topics of interest to them.

Teachers help students to develop their own interests and extend their project management skills. This prepares them for further academic work, and at the same time creates habits of mind and work that can be widely applied to a variety of future life and work situations. Developing good study habits and taking full responsibility for assignments, projects, and homework are part of the expectation for students by the time they leave for high school.


Learn more about Ancona’s philosophy on grading and assessment.

Learning for Life

The Middle School learning experience extends well beyond the walls of the classroom. Whether it is a week-long science immersion at Nature’s Classroom in Wisconsin or in the Adirondacks of Upstate New York, language camp in Minnesota, or on the eighth grade trip to Mexico, students experience learning in—and about—the real world. Middle School students also have many opportunities to meet with and learn from professional scientists, writers, musicians, dramaturges, and other experts. 

Entering the World Ahead of the Curve

You can tell the Ancona students. They are the ones asking questions, taking initiative, and thriving outside their comfort zones. They are not competitive with each other, yet each possesses the academic and analytic skills required to compete in the 21st Century.

Ancona students are notably confident in their ability to relate to people of any age, of any culture or color, and from all walks of life. They speak up for what they believe in and for those who cannot. Ancona students are in demand by the most competitive high schools in Chicago.