Middle School

Advancing Exploration



University Liggett School's small classes, collaborative learning environment and signature programs create unique leadership experiences for students to learn and grow from, developing the skills they need to thrive in high school and beyond.

Students form meaningful relationships and connect with their community in these programs:

House System: At University Liggett Middle School, we have adopted houses as a way to build community and promote positive multi-age and cross grade level relationships. At the beginning of each school year, new middle school students are sorted into one of six houses (Broadway, Cook, Burns, Briarcliff, Parkview and Roosevelt)—all named after the streets of our predecessor schools. Each house is populated by a cross section of students from all grade levels, teachers and an honorary senior administrator, providing opportunities for students, regardless of age, to lead and showcase their strengths. Houses meet throughout the year, and in addition to friendly competitions between houses, each group collaborates on service learning projects, and partners with a lower school class for a philanthropic endeavor. Frequently during morning meeting, house members are anonymously recognized by teachers for positive behaviors and selfless contributions to the community, like cleaning up a mess that isn’t theirs, helping out a classmate or teacher, and going above and beyond to make a positive impact on the community

Advisory: Every student is a member of a small group of grade level peers who are paired with a faculty advisor--a classroom teacher who provides academic support and guidance while tending to the unique social and emotional aspects of middle school.

Morning Meeting: Middle School Morning Meetings are student-led gatherings that include announcements, performances, and celebrations of student achievements. Throughout their middle school years, each student will have an opportunity to lead this quintessential community building assembly.

Student-led conferences: During student-led conferences, our young learners meet with their advisor and parents to lead a conversation about their growth. To prepare for the conference, students spend significant time reflecting with each teacher and their advisor. In leading the conversation about their learning, our students become more empowered, confident and accountable for their growth. By laying the foundation of agency and responsibility for learning in our middle school students, we are helping to develop upper school students and college freshmen who are able to speak about their learning; analyze their strengths and areas of growth; and generate and implement specific plans for improvement--valuable skills that translate beyond the walls of academic institutions.

No-cut sports policy: Our no-cut policy allows middle school students the opportunity to participate in the sport of their choice, finding their interests and maximizing their passions on and off the field as they gain confidence and self-esteem.

Experiential learning: The Middle School has a proud tradition of prioritizing outdoor education and strives to maximize the benefits of student learning outside the classroom. Since 1972, the sixth grade has embarked on a week-long immersion experience first at Proud Lake and currently at Pleasant Lake near Imlay City, Michigan. Students are introduced to a variety of outdoor skills (including canoeing, horsemanship, and orienteering) through medieval-themed activities. The seventh-grade outing builds on the themes learned in sixth grade and challenges students to hone their survival skills (fire-building and creating a shelter, to name a few). After two years of woods-based experiences, the eighth-grade trip takes students to a new environment – the city! Students are challenged to use their navigation skills to explore Detroit and Chicago, while also enjoying museums and attractions unique to each locale.

As a cumulative experience, our grade-level trips allow us to:

  • Provide opportunities and experiences that are unique and not part of the everyday classroom environment
  • Present students with opportunities and experiences that challenge and push them outside of their comfort zone
  • Allow students to opportunities to fail (and try again) in a supportive environment
  • Create opportunities for cohesive growth as a class and with groups of peers
  • Promote growth in the ideals of respect, responsibility, teamwork, adaptability, and problem solving
  • In an ever-increasing technological world, provide the opportunity to live ‘unplugged’ and truly in the moment

8th Grade Celebration of Science: Our eighth-grade students embark on self-directed environmental science research project during one quarter of the school year. The purpose of this project is to help students apply the skills they have learning in the Middle School Science program to areas of their own interest, and to lay the foundation for more comprehensive, self-directed research projects later in the students’ academic lives here at University Liggett School. Students have the opportunity to explore a topic covered in class at a more in-depth level, or to select an entirely new area of exploration. This project is a platform wherein students pose a scientific question, conduct relevant research, develop and conduct an experiment to test a theory, analyze results, and present findings.

After School Enrichment

We offer a variety of after-school learning enrichment options including, faculty-facilitated study space and independent enrichment projects. Students also have access to our Innovation Lab, a stunning space that helps bring students concepts to concrete fruition with the freedom and technology to confidently design, prototype and fabricate.

Additionally, we have an extensive afterschool Middle School athletics program where students can try out new sports and team build with peers and teachers.

Aftercare for Middle School is available daily until 5:00, and is located in the Middle School commons so that students have access to the Innovation Lab, space to socialize with friends and connect with teachers for extra support, when needed.