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Middlebridge School: A warm, inclusive community that transcends geographical borders

“Middlebridge School is about developing kind, caring humans who can function in the world and can face challenges.” This is what Class of ‘18 graduate Mac has to say about the picturesque, “mini Hogwarts” boarding and day institution that is Middlebridge School. Here, students aged 13 to 18, postgraduates, and those with learning differences are gaining an education that fosters emotional, social and individual growth.

In a post-pandemic world, it’s more important than ever to foster global ties that transcend geographic borders — and in this, Middlebridge is thriving. Convinced by the success and happiness of its graduates, more international families are looking to Middlebridge so that their children would belong and become too.

Here, international and local students alike forge lifelong friendships on an idyllic 38-acre campus. They enjoy the sea breeze afforded by a school located in the serene town of Narragansett, Rhode Island, complete with a scenic view of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a welcome change after years of virtual learning, creating a welcoming community that only grows with every passing year.

At Middlebridge, students from all walks of life discover the best of themselves. It’s a result of a curriculum that champions individualism, integrating bouts of one-on-one tutoring on top of regular classes. These centre around uncovering the learning profiles, personal strengths, and challenges students face, all whilst working on their personal management and executive function skills.

A Social and Emotional Intelligence curriculum further serves this initiative of developing empathetic and responsible young people. In these daily classes, students focus on their potential for social and emotional development, understanding of psychology, emotional intelligence, mindfulness, growth mindset, and resilience. This produces results: more than 90% of Middlebridge students are strengthening their working memory and public speaking abilities, as well as essential life skills such as adaptability and empathy.

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At Middlebridge, every student is given an equal chance to thrive. Source: Middlebridge School

Unsurprisingly, this works wonders in helping every student become the most effective learners they can be — making for better academic performance. For Middlebridge teachers, though, the importance of such a curriculum lies in building relationships with students. It creates a community that thrives through trust and mutual respect.

Beyond this is a focus on ensuring every student is prepared for life in college and university, as well as the real world. Instead of Advanced Placement classes, for example, all seniors are encouraged to take college classes for credit at local organisations. Outside of that, Middlebridge has a robust internship programme that prioritises and emphasises community services. It benefits from being located near local businesses, colleges and universities, many of whom take on Middlebridge students through internship placements, job-shadowing and fieldwork.

A diverse and varied after-school and weekend programme supports this. Middlebridge students are treated to a full selection of 250 enrichment electives, many of which were directly created as a result of student interests and suggestions. It carves out a much-needed space for students to explore and develop their personal hobbies and passions outside of classes.

Those with attention and learning differences thrive at Middlebridge. In fact, most of the facilities, classes and systems in place at the school are designed to address their needs. Of Middlebridge’s student population, 40% have ADHD, executive function deficits, or anxiety; 40% have language-based learning differences; and 20% have non-verbal learning differences. It certainly speaks highly of Middlebridge’s ability to cultivate an environment that encourages success, even despite the hurdles such students face.

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Middlebridge is characterised by Hazard Castle, first built in the 1800s. Source: Middlebridge School

Those with a love for performing arts will find their home in Middlebridge. The new year is bringing the opening of its new Performing Arts Centre complete with a fully-equipped theatre, creating more opportunities for students to express themselves creatively. This only builds on the talented student community already present within Middlebridge’s walls, many of whom benefit from access to a quality fine arts enrichment programme and a professional recording studio to explore their musical sides.

Alongside this, students are encouraged to keep their bodies healthy as well as their minds through a robust athletics programme. Many of Middlebridge’s students are high-achieving athletes who play competitive sports. Together, they form each of Middlebridge’s six varsity teams, impressing in basketball, soccer, golf, tennis, baseball, E-Sports, and surfing as an intramural.

Facilities are only designed to encourage this. They include a new gymnasium complete with a regulation-sized basketball court, with multi-sport flexibility for tennis, volleyball, floor hockey and other games. On top of this is a fitness centre, a soccer field, agricultural programme, and gardens that feed staff and students. All the while, they enjoy the grandeur of Hazard Castle, a neo-gothic revival landmark reminiscent of olden mediaeval tales.

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Middlebridge’s emphasis on internships and college classes ensures students are exceptionally prepared for university by the time they graduate. Source: Middlebridge School

Middlebridge’s emphasis on internships and college classes ensures students are exceptionally prepared for university by the time they graduate. Source: Middlebridge School

The result? An institution that is designed to give students the best opportunities they can to grow into successful, ambitious, and responsible young adults. All Middlebridge students are accepted to colleges across the country and world, speaking of the school’s effectiveness in preparing them for life after graduation.

Ultimately, though, it’s the inclusive and warm community at Middlebridge that stays with graduates. “No matter how much time passes, when I turn onto Hazard Avenue and smell the ocean air and see the castle through the trees, I’m home again,” says Class of ‘20 graduate Jordyn.

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