Sixth year project preps students for high school and beyond

Picture 007One of the most popular traditions at MMS is the “Sixth Year Project.” It’s a year-long college prep research and writing course for sixth graders, facilitated by Darlene Spangler, who has played many key roles at MMS over the past 20 years, including upper elementary and middle school assistant, administrator and co-director.

Darlene holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Duke University, and this year is working closely with sixth year students as they take a research paper from start to finish over the course of the year. Students pick their own topic, and then learn to research sources (requiring a minimum of 100 note cards), prepare an outline, compose the final paper and deliver a formal presentation to their class and sixth year parents. This year’s student topics include autism, animal abuse, dinosaurs, global warming, history of hats, the Eiffel Tower, hieroglyphics, history of Nike and the Beatles.

As a reward for their efforts, students are taken on a surprise overnight adventure at the end of the school year ..the destination known only to faculty and parents.

Year after year, alumni tell us that their “sixth year project” was excellent preparation for high school and college work, and that their MMS academic background gave them a distinct advantage over their peers without this intensive experience. Thank you Darlene!

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