Middle School

Middle School is a time of extraordinary growth, and the seeds planted during these years shape the trajectory of a girl’s life. At GPS, Middle School is a time when a girl discovers her talents and passions, finds her voice, and fosters deep connections with adults and peers. She also develops confidence as she is challenged in age-appropriate ways, surrounded by teachers, coaches, and counselors who are deeply committed to her success. Relying on the latest research and more than a century of experience, we ensure each GPS student is well-prepared for her next steps — Upper School, college, and life. 

“At GPS, we are excited to welcome students who are leaders, adventurers, athletes, artists, and passionate learners. Our job is to help them develop their abilities as they grow into young women ready to take on the world.”—Kathryn Outlaw, Head of Middle School

Middle School At A Glance

Our goal is to educate girls who will grow to become global citizens, problem-seekers (not just problem-solvers), and confident leaders in all facets of their lives. 

We Help Girls

  • Transition to middle school academically, socially, and emotionally by meeting them where they are
  • Build self-confidence by helping them feel safe to try and try again
  • Learn life skills such as time management, organization, and study and test-taking skills
  • Discover their passions through exposure to rich, diverse curricular and cocurricular opportunities
  • Cultivate support and mutual respect among classmates and faculty
  • Instill a growth mindset in areas where they may struggle
  • Work through learning differences with individualized support in our Learning Center
  • Manage social-emotional challenges they might encounter with focused help from grade-level deans and peer/teacher advisory groups as well as licensed professional counselors as needed

The Power of Yet

To instill a growth mindset in girls, one has to foster a sense of discovery—to celebrate effort as well as outcome and to focus on skills and abilities more so than grades. 

In Middle School this is achieved by:
  • reframing a girl’s mantra from “I’m not good at this” to “I’m not good yet”
  • offering an ungraded STEM elective where students are free to experiment and take academic risks 
  • encouraging collaborative problem solving in all classes 
  • allowing test retakes and reassessments so girls learn to work through challenges
  • reframing statements to reflect healthy goals, e.g., from wanting to get straight A’s to wanting to master concepts

Did You Know?

The only time a child changes as rapidly as they do in middle school is between birth and age two.
Source: Phyllis L. Fagell, Middle School Matters

View Our Middle School Parent Viewbook

Tiered Learning

Recognizing that intellectual development is a process, each Middle School grade builds upon the knowledge and skills attained the previous grade. This approach allows each girl to gradually and age-appropriately take ownership of her learning journey. 

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  • + Sixth-Grade

    + Sixth-Grade

    We set girls up for success by emphasizing a positive and individualized onboarding academic and social experience. The key goals for the sixth grade year are to:
    • Achieve a sense of belonging and interpersonal connection through small-group learning
    • Build a common foundation of academic knowledge and skill competency 
    • Embrace the value of a multidisciplinary approach to thinking and learning
    • Develop strong relationships with peers and teachers while appreciating the depth of the GPS sisterhood

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  • + Seventh-Grade

    In seventh grade, girls build acuity in their academic skills and gain her footing while receiving perspective on the socioemotional aspects of development through:
    • An increased emphasis on collaborative classroom experiences
    • A focus on the development of communication skills
    • The development of solution-seeking skills by learning to ask questions, identify problems, and complete problem-solving exercises 
    • A gradual increase in academic challenges 
    • Opportunities to take risks, try new experiences, and gain confidence with the encouragement of her teachers and peers
    • Gaining a healthy perspective on friendships, conflict, and choices

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  • + Eighth-Grade

    In eighth grade, the emphasis is on the application of acquired skills, student-driven education experiences, and readiness for Upper School through:
    • Articulating/defining areas of strength and interest
    • Preparing her for the academic challenges of Upper School
    • Sharpening academic abilities
    • Honing study and organizational skills to support increased academic challenges
    Eighth-Grade Inquiry
    Each eighth-grade girl will explore, research, and design a learning experience on a topic of her choosing, and share her work and results at the end of the school year.



Beyond the Classroom

Through a robust cocurricular program—including clubs, after-school enrichment, signature programs, student leadership organizations, and more—GPS girls have abundant opportunities to explore interests and passions, try new things, meet others beyond their inner circles and community, develop leadership skills, and learn the importance of being part of something bigger than themselves.

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  • + Middle School Clubs

    Each GPS student gets to choose from lots of fun clubs that meet during the school day, such as Cursive Club, Library Club, or Science Olympiad. It’s a great way to make new friends outside of your grade or classes.
  • + After-School Enrichment

    After school is a perfect time to catch up on homework or take a class just for fun. Dance with Motion Makers, join the Math or Robotics Team, or maybe calm down after a long day with yoga.
  • + Winterim

    Take a break from the classroom and adventure with your classmates. Previous trips have included a Civil Rights-focused excursion to Atlanta and Birmingham and exploring Tennessee history and music in Nashville. 
  • + Career Exploration Day

    Talk with professionals about their careers—what they do, what they love, and how it impacts others in the community. 

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  • + Student Leadership

    Be a part of the GPS community by serving as a representative for Honor Council or Class Leadership Council. 
  • + Community Service

    The Middle School Service Club allows students to give back to the community through acts of service such as baking dog treats for the Humane Educational Society or writing cards to first responders.
  • + Overnight Retreats

    At the start of the school year, go on an overnight adventure with your classmates. Explore the outdoors as you get to know each other better. 
  • + Coordinate Program

    While GPS is just for girls, you can still meet boys who attend our brother school, McCallie. The Middle School musical, field trips, and more provide a fun coed experience. 
Discover the opportunities for your girl at GPS.