Since seventh grade is a point of entry for many new AFS students, all seventh graders begin the year with a five-day class retreat to Echo Hill Outdoor School, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Together, they face a variety of challenges—sleeping in a tent, climbing a big tree, wading through a muddy swamp—and take hands-on classes in ecology and science. Through this experience, students build lasting friendships and develop a stronger sense of community.
Beyond community building, Echo Hill is about students discovering who they are through taking on challenges, and this is a central theme for seventh grade, as our students come of age socially and become more independent and self reliant. During this year, students come to grips with both their strengths and the areas where they need support, and they learn to advocate for themselves and seek out resources in the community. As seventh graders become more willing to take risks, our job in Middle School is to encourage their burgeoning interests and enthusiasms while guiding them to make good choices and decisions and to learn from their mistakes.
Seventh Grade web home base