Middle School

Grades 6-8

Middle School is a time of transformation. Our dedicated faculty know both the ins and outs of their subject matter, as well as the ups and downs of a girl’s life during these critical years. Students are challenged to develop the reading, writing, and thinking skills they need for Upper School, college, and life.

Middle School students in Memphis, TN talking to teacher

Study skills, time management, mind mapping, and growing independence are all an intentional part of the curriculum, helping St. Mary’s girls become well prepared for Upper School. Girls begin to develop self-advocacy skills by knowing how and when to speak up and ask teachers for additional guidance and assistance. Teachers strive to find just the right balance between providing adult guidance and enabling girls to seek their own independent solutions.

One of the hallmarks of a St. Mary’s education is the emphasis on written and spoken communication. English grammar and writing, and literature are two separate classes in the sixth and seventh grades. With such a rich foundation in the English language, girls hone their writing and communication skills. 

Middle School is the perfect age to learn not only about civil discourse, but also how to discuss issues intellectually. Supported by research, our girls explore, develop, and even challenge their own beliefs. This results in their ability to both –defend their position and understand someone else’s perspective.

Middle School News

Tackling Equations With Confidence

“I hope by the end of the year my students learn to be the students they are capable of being, each reaching her individual potential,” said St. Mary’s veteran teacher, Lynda Lyttle. For 36 years, Ms. Lyttle has taught St. Mary’s Middle School students how to tackle equations, giving them the skills they need to confidently solve for any variable. 

Garat Pushes Girls to Experiment in Art

After 26 years of teaching at St. Mary’s, Middle School Art Teacher Elizabeth Garat says she finds joy in teaching girls to express themselves artistically. “I love teaching girls because they are eager to learn and try new things,” Garat said. 

6 Skills Middle School Students Develop

Middle School is a time of transformation. Our dedicated faculty know both the ins and outs of their subject matter, as well as the ups and downs of a girl’s life during these critical years. Students are challenged to develop the reading, writing, and thinking skills they need for Upper School, college, and life.

Audiences Delight in the Middle School Performance of Matilda JR

Thirty-four Middle School students took the stage for three fun-filled performances of the musical Matilda JR, a gleefully witty ode to the anarchy of childhood and the power of imagination. After four weeks of rehearsals, the students thrilled and delighted audiences with the story of the special little girl with an extraordinary imagination.

Meet the Faculty: Claire Zagrodzky, MS English

Eighth Grade English teacher and JV Lacrosse Coach Claire Zagrodzky loves teaching because “it allows me to pass along my passion for learning and reading. There's nothing I love more than helping students read difficult texts and watching them understand and grasp new ideas. It inspires me to keep learning and reading, too!” ⁠

Meet the Faculty: Crystal Spillyards, MS English

I am thrilled to be teaching 6th and 7th grade English at St. Mary’s this year! My husband Greg and I have three daughters, and two of them are Turkeys. I am excited about this new adventure. Prior to joining the St. Mary’s team, I taught at Holy Rosary in The Learning Center, a specialized program for students with dyslexia and other language-based learning differences. Our oldest daughter's struggles in school ignited a passion within me to help all students realize their full potential. All students can learn; we just have to find the way each student learns best. It is like cracking a code!

Meet the Faculty: Leanne Hinkle, MS French

Middle School French teacher Leanne Hinkle loves to share her passion for the French language and culture with her students. Her favorite lessons involve French history. “I love teaching about French history, particularly the Norman Conquest and how it changed the trajectory of Franco-English relations as well as the English language.”

Turkey Cents

The 7th grade participates in Turkey Cents, a course that teaches personal financial management skills. Our 7th Grade Algebra Teacher Marcy Kueffner uses Junior Achievement’s financial literacy program to teach valuable lessons about basic money management. The program’s curriculum covers the importance of saving and how to save, taxes, an overview of debit cards and credit cards, key tips on using credit wisely, and how to create a personal budget. 

Encouraging Mind and Body Wellness

Middle school is an important time for social, emotional, physical, and academic development. During this time, mind and body wellness is pivotal to healthy adolescent development. Throughout middle school, our students focus on mind and body wellness in various ways. 

Partnering with MIFA to Encourage Community Engagement

Our 7th-grade students participate in the Community Connections class. This course is focused on helping our girls become engaged with the local community by learning about the challenges facing our city such as homelessness, food insecurity, and health inequity. The course partners MIFA, a local nonprofit that supports vulnerable seniors and families.

Katherine House

Head of Middle School

Jeanne Ross

Assistant to MS Head

Middle School Office


60 Perkins Extended

Memphis, TN 38117

Co-Curricular Activities:

  • 14 Athletic Teams
  • Chess Club
  • Climbing Club
  • Eighth Grade Leadership Team
  • Library Lunchtime Book Clubs
  • Model UN
  • Robotics
  • Spanish Club
  • Speech Team
  • Youth in Government
Huntsville, AL (6th grade)
Chattanooga, TN (7th grade) 
Washington, DC (8th grade)

French, Latin, Spanish


6 Skills Middle School Girls Develop

Middle School is a time of transformation. During these three years, girls develop skills in organization, self advocacy, communication, creativity, independent thinking, and community service.

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