Academic Program

Middleburg Academy inspires students to achieve excellence in academics, the arts, and athletics. We are a dynamic community of students, faculty/staff, parents, and alumni dedicated to lifelong learning, service to others, personal growth, and the success of each student. Our school strives to develop young men and women of moral integrity who will be responsible leaders and citizens in a diverse and ever-changing world.

No locks on our lockers, no bells interrupting classes, we have a college-like feel to the day. There is educational maturity. The small class ratio means we learn to work together in an incredibly diverse community. There are no social cliques. It is a real-world experience as we work together pursuing both our collective and personal achievements. It is an education that demands participation - it was such a critical time in my life.
— An Alumnus
 
 

Our 90-acre, historic campus is home to a community that strongly upholds our Honor Code, an expected standard of integrity that ensures a safe and welcoming environment for everyone. Each student belongs to an Advisory, a small group led by a Faculty Advisor who acts as another “parent” on campus, serving as the main point of contact for families regarding their child’s progress and overall well-being. Our Student-Parent-Advisor Conferences help students to take responsibility for their own education.

The academic environment is unique at Middleburg Academy. There are no class bells that interrupt our Harkness table discussions, in which students and faculty sit together as equals at large, communal tables, and many visitors remark on a certain ease in the climate of our daily life.


The Disciplines

S.T.E.A.M.

Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math is a verb at Middleburg Academy: S.T.E.A.M.

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It is all about action in learning, where student ideas become a reality; the essence of S.T.E.A.M. is an atmosphere that provokes each student’s curiosity. We live in an integrated world where problems are more functionally intertwined than ever before, and we want to prepare our graduates for this complex and challenging world. Future leaders will be those graduates who acquire the skills we are developing in our S.T.E.A.M. curriculum.

From Idea Creation to Design Implementation, students will experience how real engineers tackle and solve complex problems together, from building custom racing drones to working metal by hand in our traditional forge as they learn to understand chemistry and metallurgical properties. Synergy we know is that phenomena where the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. The S.T.E.A.M. curriculum is designed to encourage the students to engage in a 21st-century skill set: creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration.


English

The goal of the English Department at Middleburg Academy is to develop the reading and writing skills of our students, together with an appreciation of both classic and contemporary literature and the ability to analyze its contents.  Regular study of vocabulary, grammar, mechanics, and punctuation ensures that students have a good command of the English language and are able to express their ideas effectively.  English classes also teach students basic research skills so that they may analyze, assimilate, and consolidate information from a variety of sources using the proper methods of documentation.  Students usually take four years of English at Middleburg Academy, with honors and regular sections available in grades 9-12, as well as the choice of Advanced Placement English in grade 12.  


Science

The Middleburg Academy Department of Sciences strives to create an interconnected view of the classic disciplines. By inspiring students to embrace their curiosity, creativity and confidence, we aim to guide students to a new way of thinking about the universe.

Students are encouraged to ask questions and to focus on what asking a certain question means rather than only thinking of the solution. The road of questions which the students blaze leads them eventually to opportunities to do independent research and discover new innovative ways to think. Even within the core classes, the goal is to guide the students to re-create the methods through which discoveries were made originally, using the knowledge  and tools they have at their disposal. To undertake this task of learning takes a certain amount of daring to make mistakes and the discipline to be honest with oneself, a combination which we hope to instill using trust and guidance.

The core science classes at Middleburg academy are Biology, Chemistry, and Physics, all offered at varying levels of depth from general to Advanced Placement. From here the course options include Astronomy, Ecology, Forensic Science, Environmental Science, Neuroscience, Gastronomy, and Advanced Research Topics. These electives are limited only by what students are interested in learning and can be supplemented by an individual study or, if there is enough interest, a new class catered to their specific curiosity.


Math

Mathematics requires sustained immersion in a cumulative learning process that increases in complexity during high school.  Beginning with the fundamentals of algebra and geometry, students are gradually introduced to the abstract language essential for higher branches of mathematics.  

Problem solving is the most vital element in this process.  Thus, we focus on helping students master the craft of understanding, correctly setting up, and ultimately finding solutions for problems.  

Once they begin working on calculus, students have greater autonomy to explore their mathematical imagination.  As powerful techniques are mastered, students are exposed to real world problems that first gave rise to calculus.  

Beyond the classroom, our department has happily encouraged students to participate in mathematical olympiads.  The availability and friendliness of instructors also allows motivated students to explore mathematical curiosities after school.  

I used to think that science and art were two completely different subjects. Middleburg Academy has shown me that I can combine my interests, and not only are they related, they complement each other in ways I never expected.
— A Student

History

History courses at Middleburg Academy allow students to develop the skills that will lead to success at the collegiate level, particularly  critical reading and thinking skills, data and map analysis, oral presentation skills, and analytical written expression.

Beginning in ninth grade with Western Civilization, students not only explore the ancient civilizations of the Western tradition such as Greece and Rome, but also receive an in-depth history of three distinct regions: Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. The tenth grade year focuses on European history beginning in the Renaissance period and prepares students for junior year United States history. The eleventh grade year is a detailed history of the United States. During the senior year, students are offered a wide array of electives, ranging from African history, German and Russian studies, Women and Leadership, Current Affairs, and a Civil War seminar. The History Department offers advanced placement courses in U.S. History, European History, and U.S. Government and Politics.

Middleburg Academy is blessed by its geography, and the school’s short distance from Washington D.C. and the rich battle sites of both the Revolutionary War and the Civil War are frequented by our students. As well as offering great opportunities outside of school, students are able to join many extracurricular organizations supported by the history department such as Model U.N. Aided by Middleburg’s S.T.E.A.M initiative, students in the history department are surrounded by all the necessary hardware and collaborative tools to become a twenty-first century student of history.   


Modern and Classical Languages

"Habere alteram linguam est habere alteram animam”
“Tener otro idioma es poseer otra alma”
“To have another language is to possess another soul."

-Charlemagne 

Through a holistic and interdisciplinary approach, the language department’s goal is to engage students to become more world-conscious, tolerant, and knowledgeable, to be active leaders and global citizens in an ever-shrinking world.

Upon completion of language study at Middleburg Academy, our students will not only be competent in the history and culture of their particular language, they will also be able to communicate effectively in that target language, opening their future to diverse opportunities as well as putting them in the position to make effective and lasting change in their worlds.


Computer Science and Engineering

Computer Science and Engineering at Middleburg Academy is a rigorous curriculum designed by Project Lead The Way (PLTW) that completes the overall STEAM initiative launched in 2015. The infusion of these two strands of study into an already strong core curriculum in the Arts and Sciences completes the circle that enables students to develop 21st-century skills. The focus skills in these strands include curiosity, collaboration, communication, and creativity.  

In the Engineering courses, students explore the fundamentals of engineering design through activities and projects that progress from ideas to complete 3D models. Engineering drawing begins on paper with isometric and oblique perspective sketching, and then progresses into complete orthogonal drawing packages that use an industry standard software package, AutoDesk Inventor.  From Inventor, students are then able to produce their designs using the MakerBot 3D printers, facilitating a strong three-dimensional special awareness of form, fit and function.

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The ability to take an idea from concept to a working model is critical in the 21st century. This course enables ideas to become reality. Special projects that serve Middleburg Academy are also a critical part of this course: CouchFest, PumpkinChunking, and the animated parade Dragon, to name a few.

As students progress through the Computer Science survey curriculum, they gain skill in coding and knowledge about how the Internet and the constructs that surround it are producing “best of breed” solutions to today’s computing needs. The first part of the course is spent building foundation-coding skills using Scratch and MIT App Inventor.  After achieving proficiency with these languages, the students then progress into Python, developing a working knowledge of object-oriented programming.  

Designing and building an App provides a strong sense of creative value along with a critical understanding of knowing the material or medium within which the solution is to be developed. Blue-sky ideas constrained with real limitations are a great combination for creative tension, yielding “best of breed” solutions.

 


the arts

Throughout the year, Middleburg Academy Visual Arts students engage in Conceptual Design Thinking, Art History/Museum Studies, Ceramics, Photography, Advanced Placement 2D and 3D Studio Art classes, as well as Drawing and Painting classes. Students also learn to etch glass and to work metal at our traditional forge. Our students regularly participate in community exhibitions and win top prizes in regional competitions. Inspiration is all around, with 3,600 square feet of loft-like studio space overlooking a stunning panorama of the Virginia countryside, and faculty ready to help spark imaginations and refine techniques.

Middleburg Academy has helped me to reach for my dreams and turn my aspirations into my reality.
— Alex H. '18, NYU Tisch School of the Arts '22

The Performing Arts curriculum at Middleburg Academy has a foundation in the study of acting, directing, and playwriting. The initial phases of the investigation of acting focus on simplicity, self-discovery, and self-expression. Students progressively move through theatre games, improvisation, and basic scene work. Advanced students may also elect to focus their studio work on Directing or Playwriting. The Middleburg Academy Players, the umbrella organization for drama productions, is open to all students who wish to be involved with a production, whether through acting, set and costume design, or our lighting and videography crew.

Music students of all skill levels at MA learn about music through performance. Those who want to learn a technique or who simply want to perform are invited to join. The repertoire of the ensemble ranges from a cappella to folk, to classical, to pop music. Performances are scheduled throughout the year.