Pine Street Middle School

Pine Street Middle School launches officially in Fall 2020 for 6th Graders and their families eager to embrace a rigorously engaging, STEM-rich, international program that offers Spanish immersion and life-changing travel experiences with classmates.

Expanding Our Unique Approach

This program will expand on our unique approach, which has seen much success in our Elementary population and differentiates our school dramatically from other private schools in the New York City region. Preparing students to lead and to be caring, contributing members of our global society makes up a large part of our mission in the Middle School.

Namely, we will amplify our emphasis on STEM, Spanish language fluency, student-led inquiry, sustainability, and the concept of “school without walls,” utilizing more of New York City and its resources plus introducing international travel as an integral part of our yearly curriculum.

We will continue to teach subjects in a transdisciplinary way. See more about this down below.

Most importantly, we will continue to develop student agency through increased opportunities for public speaking, self-direction, student-led summative assessments, student-led parent-teacher meetings and expanded opportunities for students to participate in real-world events that matter to them and relate to their studies.

The Subject Disciplines

Our Middle School students will develop both subject-specific and interdisciplinary understanding in 10 subject disciplines.

We will continue our transdisciplinary instructional approach, ensuring that all subjects are taught in a way that helps students see how disciplines are connected and their real-world applications. Transdisciplinary instruction is considered a best practice and corrects the inherent deficiencies of the traditional “silo” approach, where each subject is taught in isolation and without context or application.

A Modern, Dynamic and Nurturing Student-Teacher Relationship

Learning is not only transdisciplinary but inquiry-driven (with students driving this inquiry) and encourages students to reflect and take action on issues of global significance—ideally in the service of others.

Learning will be supported by teachers who are experts in their disciplines and experienced in supporting students at this uniquely delicate age where social-emotional support and individualized attention are critical.

Our teachers will present concepts and issues and then facilitate decisions based on student questions and interests. Students will work both individually and in teams, collaborating with classmates who hail from all across New York City and around the world.

In the Middle School (as in the Elementary School), we make learning fun, and connect the learning taking place in the classroom with the real world so that students enjoy and see the relevance of what they are studying. Providing a balanced curriculum, we will nurture multidimensional, well-rounded thinkers who approach issues from a depth and breadth of angles.

We will not only encourage creative, critical and reflective thinking, but we will promote our students to become service-minded doers and internationally-minded leaders poised to solve the global problems our world faces today and in the future.

middle school study abroad


Through development of personal and academic fluency in Spanish (including use in all subjects and a yearly class trip to a Spanish-speaking country) students experience learning that is centered around global issues and better understand and appreciate different cultures. They develop the cultural sensitivity critical for navigating an increasingly global, interconnected world. Ultimately, they develop empathy.

We see language learning as a continuum along which each individual progresses differently. Our diverse multicultural environment and language approach provide the foundation for intercultural competence. All members of our community are dedicated to language learning.

We view language as more than simply a communications tool. We see language as critical for understanding and empathizing with those from different cultures, and crucial for navigating those cultures.

It’s the qualities of understanding, empathy and intercultural competence that enable our students to effectively collaborate in their learning and problem-solving. These are skills our students develop and use at Pine Street Middle School and then continue to grow as they move to high school and beyond and into a world that’s increasingly more fluid and interconnected.

Research also shows that knowing two or more languages has tangible cognitive benefits. As one learns to switch between languages, one triggers, and potentially strengthens, the part of the brain that manages executive function (problem-solving, multitasking, and focusing attention).

Students entering Middle School have varied language backgrounds. Some come directly from our dual language Elementary School program or are already multilingual, while others come with limited second language experience. For the latter we provide a free summer acceleration program that supports success during the subsequent school year.

Three Key Elements of Pine Street Middle School

There are 3 key elements to our program: Approaches to Learning, Key and Related Concepts, and Global Contexts.

Approaches to Learning (ATL)

ATL is a unifying thread throughout all subject groups, provides the foundation for independent learning and encourages the application of students’ knowledge and skills in unfamiliar contexts. Developing and applying these skills help students learn how to learn. There are five ATL skill categories, including communication, social, self management, research and thinking.

Key and Related Concepts

Concepts are big ideas that have relevance within specific disciplines and across subject areas. Our Middle School students will use concepts as a vehicle to inquire into issues and ideas of personal, local and global significance and examine knowledge holistically.

Global Contexts

Our Middle School will focus on six global contexts that expand on the transdisciplinary themes from our Elementary School (IB/PYP) and serve as extraordinary preparation for any high school experience and beyond. These global contexts make what students learn in the classroom more meaningful and relevant; they create that real-world connection.

middle school tech education

STEM, Sustainability and Design

We view STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) as intimately tied to creativity, art and design. We believe that scientists, engineers, and mathematicians are inspired and creative in their processes. Our goal is to help our students see the creative possibilities that are embedded in STEM, and to encourage creative STEM applications particularly in the area of sustainability and solutions to global warming.

Art and design hold the same importance to us as traditional academic subjects. Each plays a critical role in developing students who are not only critical thinkers and complex problem solvers, but who can also communicate and create across disciplines.

Design makes up one of the eight core subject groups in our Middle School program, and students will have opportunities to apply design in real-life through project-based learning, while developing a rigorous and systematic way of thinking and problem-solving.

Each student will experience product design and digital design, developing solutions to real-world challenges using the design cycle much as an engineer, architect or designer would in their work.

  1. Inquire and Analyze: Students research and analyze the problem through performing extensive customer, competitor and market research (both primary and secondary)
  2. Develop Ideas: Using the information and data gathered in Step 1, students design potential solutions to the problem. They write and present detailed design specifications.
  3. Create the Solution: Students plan the creation of their chosen solution and follow the plan to create a prototype sufficient for testing and evaluation. Students keep a log along the way of their manufacturing process.
  4. Test and Evaluate: Finally, students design and conduct tests to evaluate their product/digital solution, and objectively evaluate its success. They identify areas where the solution could be improved and, in so doing, learn to iterate and adapt.

Culminating Personal Project

Students who complete our Middle School program will demonstrate what they’ve learned through a “personal project." Over the course of this one-year project, students select a topic of global importance that excites them. They then investigate, plan, develop and present this topic (in the format of their choice) at an exhibition that parents, fellow students, teachers and staff attend.

Past projects have included a mobile app that enables restaurants to donate leftover food to homeless shelters; a medieval trebuchet; learning to fly and more!

middle school public speaking


For families interested in participating sooner, we offer a “Soft Start” in Fall 2019. The Soft Start will be a streamlined version of our formal program. If interested, contact us at

NYC middle school program


Computer Science
Language & Literature
Language Acquisition
Physical Education

NYC middle school students


For additional information on Pine Street Middle School, please contact Dr. Jennifer Jones at