River Farm Cooperative Middle School Program

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River Farm Cooperative Middle School Program 5

The RFC middle school program is different from the elementary program by design. While elementary students are focused on tuning their imagination to learning how the universe works, adolescents are focused on how they fit into the universe. Adolescents ask, “What does this have to do with me?” and “Where do I fit in?” Their bodies are changing. They possess sometimes conflicting needs to be uniquely and creatively themselves and to “fit in” as a valued part of society. To this end, the RFC middle school offers the adolescents opportunities to engage in meaningful and productive work within the classroom, for the school, and for the community, wherein the success of the endeavor relies on the individual contributions of each student. RFC middle school is a collaborative, supportive learning environment that promotes the personal growth of each young adult to be.
The RFC middle school program development is also viewed through the lens of needing to prepare our students to be successful in a variety of high-school settings
(and this is a question we frequently receive during the admissions process!). We understand that RFC students will be moving on to a variety of different high-school environments: public schools, private schools, alternative schools, and homeschools. We owe it to them, and to their parents, to ensure that they are prepared to thrive in whichever environment they choose. For this reason, we looked at what other middle school programs offer around the country, and we sought to choose academic themes and curricula that are common to the middle-school experience – while also preserving RFC values of in-depth and hands-on learning both in and outside of the classroom and formative assessment rather than tests and grades. As in a traditional middle or high school setting, the RFC middle school schedule is blocked out by subject area, rather than offering more open work time as in the elementary classrooms. A significant amount of time is blocked specifically for community work and learning outside of the classroom, allowing for choice, student initiative and planning, creative expression, and movement.
As developmentally appropriate beyond elementary schooling, middle school students are expected to complete regular at-home assignments, both to increase student planning and time-management skills and to offer students more time to work on deeper projects and reading assignments. Homework will be balanced across subject areas to assure a total maximum of approximately 1 - 1 ½ hours per day, depending on individual student reading speed. Nightly reading and note taking will be an expectation. Preparation at home allows for more time during the school day for cooperative project work, seminar discussions, and learning experiences outside of the classroom. Under each academic section below, we have outlined what the homework requirement might look like for that subject.

Basic facts

  • Available Spots:  02/19/2020, 2 of spots/seats, 8th grade, anticipated date of 03/19/2020 / 02/19/2020, 2 of spots/seats, 4th grade, anticipated date of 03/19/2020 ; 02/19/2020, 2 of spots/seats, 6th grade, anticipated date of 03/19/2020; 02/19/2020, 2 of spots/seats, 1st grade, anticipated date of 03/19/2020
  • Age Range:  11-14
  • Years Established:   2014
  • Enrollment:  30
  • Average Class Size:  12
  • Tuition:  8000
  • Who you serve:  Co-ed, Elementary, Middle School
  • Name of Care Center or Person':  River Farm Cooperative School
  • Mission/Philosophy:  

    Because, as families, we all want the right fit for our children. And we believe, like you, that the school experience doesn’t have to mean a lack of outdoor time, movement/physical education, mindfulness, socio-emotional development, foreign language, family involvement, and recognition of spirit at the heart of childhood. In fact, it should be just the opposite. We are a teacher-led, parent-powered cooperative school offering small mixed age class sizes for students in grades K-8.

    Located in Alexandria, Virginia, River Farm Cooperative School (RFC) has three classrooms (Lower Elementary K-2, Upper Elementary 3-5, Middle School 6-8). Each class is led by a lead teacher providing instruction across the curriculum – from math, grammar and spelling, science, social studies, art, writing, and relationship development.

    Our small class sizes (maximum 14 students) allow for daily outdoor explorations in all seasons, connecting the children to their daily program of study. The children start each day with a yoga, breath-work, and mindfulness class. They enjoy Spanish instruction twice a week and movement opportunities weekly with instruction in a variety of activities such as soccer, dance, martial arts, swimming, and tennis. Field trips (minimum once a month) add to their classwork with experiences such as a day at NOAA, the Smithsonian Institutes, state and county nature preserves, an engineering fair, or a farm.

  • Capacity:   36
  • Available Hours:  9am-3pm

Contact Details

  • What differentiates your school from all others? 

    - the unique mixed-age program that's built on relationships, mentorship and collaboration . Students learning Spanish , Advanced Mathematics, Science, Nature Hikes, Camping trips and more!

  • Where do you see your school in 5 years, what will be different? 

    The River Farm Cooperative is meant to be a Micro- School program, Rive Farm is parent owned and operated.

  • Whats one myth about your school thats just not true?  

    That we started as a Home school Co-Operative.. River Farm Cooperative is like a food Co-op in that the school tuition is based on the cost of hiring teachers and paying the bills. The more students we have the less the Tuition is. Every year we have achieved our goals and expanded the school. Most recently we have added a middle school class with a highly qualified and certified teacher. We are a special community focused on affordable progressive education.

  • What kind of student is most successful at your school? 

    The most successful students are those who are kind and love working with other people of all ages. The Middle school class often cooks treats for the younger classes, mentors young readers, our students are confident leaders.


  • Why should we choose your school? 

    Families who are looking for a community experience free from bullying and free from the rush of the public school system. We have many types of families, to include competitive gymnasts, musicians , swimmers and readers.


  • What differentiates your care center from all the others? 

    No grades , measuring a students progress in a competitive manner does not help them succeed. Instead once a student has mastered their skills they are ready to move on to the next subject they are able to do so. We have students who are grades ahead in some subjects and others who may be struggling and are able to receive individual assistance.

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