Adolescents have a strong desire to figure out their place in the world. Our Middle School students engage most deeply when their studies have meaning within their community. They acquire expertise in twenty-first century skills while gaining knowledge in core academics by applying history, math and language skills to their projects and occupations in the great outdoors.

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The joys of exploration and discovery are the keys that make the study of math and geometry so special at The Renaissance International School. Students are provided a map of concepts that serves, together with the guidance of the teacher, as their guide to this fascinating world. Each student is encouraged to follow their interests and allowed the space to make their own discoveries. Students at The Renaissance International School are not told how to solve problems, but led to make their own discoveries and to deeply understand why problems are solved in a certain way. Each student’s path is different, allowing them to progress at their own pace, without having to wait on anyone else.

Concepts covered include:
MATHEMATICS - Pre-algebra and Algebra, including number theory; data analysis; fractions, decimals, percents; probability; rational numbers; relationships among variables; positive and negative integers; ratio and proportion; scaling, linear functions; graph and equation models; exponents; quadratic relationships and equations; permutations and combinations. Students will typically complete Algebra I and may start work on Algebra II.
GEOMETRY - Geometry, including properties of polygons, area, volume, applied projects in perimeter and area; two-dimensional representations of three-dimensional objects; geometric representation of statistical data; coordinate geometry; three-dimensional measurement; Pythagorean Theorem extensions into area, distance and slope. Students will typically complete High School Geometry if they stay through the entire program.

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Students at The Renaissance International School are encouraged to read, write, listen and express themselves - in three languages! Teachers meet students at their level in English, Spanish and French and help them to grow from that point. Language skills are built through participation in language classes and meaningful activities in all areas of the curriculum - from writing a project proposal or lab write-up to presenting their work in a variety of different ways. TRIS students not only grow to have an incredibly deep understanding of language, due to their consistent work in three different languages, they also grow to love language and to appreciate its different manifestations.

Specific focuses include (in all three languages):
READING - Discussion and communication about reading material that is selected individually or read as a class. Reading material comes from Middle School book lists, literature relevant to studies in other areas, and resources for research (including scientific papers, primary sources, etc.).
GRAMMAR - Study of clauses; refinement in usage, phrases; regular and irregular verbs (conjugation of regular and irregular verbs); use of compound and complex sentences, refinement of understanding of all parts of speech and syntax. Basic grammar is presented for those who need it.
WRITING AND SPELLING - Production of polished and finely-tuned writing in several genres, including essays, term papers and theses; writing assignments are typically practical and meaningful in nature; mini-lessons in mechanics and spelling as needed.
LITERATURE - American literature, historical literature and world regional literature is integrated with the study of history and science; discussions of literature develop critical thinking and logical reasoning.

DEBATE - introduction to formal debate.

Nothing makes knowledge more interesting and engaging than actually having to use it and talk about it. For this reason, students at TRIS are not simply taught in the classroom - they are taught in the real world. At TRIS, science is not simply something one must study to meet societal expectations, it is something that serves a concrete purpose: students explore the world of science through hands-on projects called occupations that are developed around needs in the community. As a result, students immediately understand the relevance and need for what they are studying. As students explore each particular concept, they will visit museums and universities, consult with experts in the field, and do research to deepen their understanding.

Examples of Occupations and associated concepts:


Concepts explored

garden planning

climate, soil science, plant science (photosynthesis, cellular respiration, plant anatomy, reproduction, plant ecology, etc.), genetics, gravity (geotropism), osmosis (across cell membranes, roots), etc.

study of water use in the school

properties of water (capillary action, color, density and weight, dissolved oxygen, heat capacity, pH, temperature and change of state, etc.), water cycle, climate and climate change, sustainability,  solutions, hydrology


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The Renaissance International School is, well… truly international! With students and faculty members from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds, students gain an understanding of people from all over the world. This understanding is further developed through their studies of language, current events, world history, literature, science, art and music, as well as through practical activities such as cooking. Regular international travel and a growing student exchange program further support our students’ development as global citizens. Participation in the Montessori Model United Nations program provides students with the opportunity to thoroughly understand another country and a platform for researching and discussing global issues.

History and the Humanities revolve around the study of the evolution of human civilizations through time, with a particular focus on understanding the cause and effect of historical events and what humans have accomplished over time. As such, history is explored not as a series of dates, but as a rich tapestry of patterns. Rather than focusing on the history of a particular country, students will traverse the human story each year, focusing on different places and specific events each time that, together, will help each student to develop a deep understanding of world history. The humanities at TRIS are experiential and engaging. Students may not only learn about a particular personage in history, they may choose to become that person in a dramatic presentation. In their studies, students will consult a variety of primary and secondary sources, and make visits off campus to museums, research centers, and historical sites.

Research lies at the heart of academic work in all areas. Students are taught key concepts that open the doors to their own personal exploration, allowing them to truly connect with concepts and to take ownership of their own learning. Research may be carried out with paper and electronic resources, or with experiments, interviews and visits to local sites and museums. Research is carried out in French, English, and Spanish.

Each year, students complete a year-long research project on a topic of their choice. This research results in a written thesis typically varying from 15-25 pages and a formal presentation to the community. These projects result in a profound understanding of the research process and the practical skills to organize large quantities of data in a logical and coherent way.

If you would like to schedule a tour to The Renaissance International School’s Montessori Middle School program, talk with faculty and visit our classrooms, please call us at 510-531-8566, or email: Admissions <