Junior High » Junior High

Junior High

Odyssey Campfire
Adolescence is an age of explosive growth and change when young people are seeking to understand and assert themselves. In the Montessori view of adolescence, teenagers have three commanding needs: 1) the need to do meaningful work that makes a significant contribution to their community; 2) the need to form social groups and to be involved in social and political issues; 3) the need to have a first-hand experience with the land in order to cultivate, sow seeds, and harvest the bounty of their work. Caring for the land and animals helps them to discover the ecological connection between all living things.

The Junior High creates a diverse curriculum that focuses on the wider interests and needs of this age. Because early adolescence is a time of testing and responding to challenges, it is essential that their education be broad and personally expanding and that it stretch them physically and mentally. We seek to prepare students to be aware of the ideas and values that are their common heritage and to help them become reflective and intellectually independent. This age is a time of consolidations of experience and self-discovery, and it is important that the school environments challenge them be nurturing and safe.

The Junior High curriculum is configured in a yearly cycle. In most instances, the work of the students is focused on their own research and projects. Each year projects are integrated across disciplines. The following courses are offered at the Junior High level: 

Humanities (Writing and Literature, Philosophy, Latin, Seeing with the Mind, Social Studies) 
Field Studies (Math and Science) 
Music and Drama 
Physical Education, Health and Sex Education 

The Odyssey is a two week trip at the beginning of each year that sets the stage for the formation of the community and the academic tone for the first semester of the year. The Odyssey East to Williamsburg and Washington, D.C., focuses on the creation of a nation, the foundations of democracy, weather, phenology and human genetics, early American literature, essays, and political thought. The Odyssey West to Crow Canyon, Colorado, focuses on the first humans in North America, the needs of early peoples, the effects of climate in their lives, the science of archaeology, geology of the western United States, and the art and literatures of early cultures. The Odyssey South to the J.L. Scott Marine Educational Center in Biloxi, Mississippi, focuses on marine biology, Civil Rights, the Civil War, and 19th and 20th century American literature. This video gives a glimpse into all that happens on the Odyssey.

Farm Stays at our rural campus offer Junior High students unique opportunities to connect with the land. Each student may elect to participate in a Farm Stay during one of four 19-day immersion sessions over the school year. Farm Stays engage students in the life and work of a farm and vary according to the season. They include integrated academics, microeconomics, community and physical work.
There are four full-day trips and one overnight trip to the LCS Land School over the course of the year for all Junior High students during which every student participates in some aspect of stewardship and preservation of the natural or agricultural environment. In summer, Junior High students may apply to participate in a 4-day residential apprenticeship program at the rural campus.
Mirroring the experience of the Odyssey and supporting the adolescents’ developmental need for self-expression, January serves as a month-long drama experience that offers an immersion into another time and place through theater. Working in crews, students participate in every aspect of creating, staging and acting in a major performance for the school and parent community. An annual rotation of genres generally includes Shakespeare, a musical, and an original or adapted script.
The Junior High students take a five-day bike and camping trip with the staff in the late spring of every year. The trip is physically challenging and ends the year with a bond of shared experiences and memories.

The transition from junior high to high school is an exciting time in a student's life. LCS prepares students to meet the challenges of high school on various levels. What follows is information to help with this transition.

What high schools do our graduates attend?

Over the past several years, our graduates have chosen the following high schools:

  Academy of Holy Angels   Minnehaha Academy
  Benilde-St. Margaret's   Minnetonka High School
  The Blake School   Mounds Park Academy
  Bloomington High School   Open World Learning Community
  Breck School   Orono High School
  Central High School       Richfield High School
  Cooper High School   Roosevelt High School
  DeLaSalle High School   St. Louis Park High School
  Eagan High School   St. Paul Academy and Summit School
  Edina High School   St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists
  Great River School   South High School
  Highland High School   Southwest High School
  Lakeville South High School   Washburn High School


What is the high school application timeline?

October and ongoing
      Students may begin shadowing at independent schools, contact specific schools to arrange dates. Public schools do not allow shadowing.
      Non-school days for LCS are great days to shadow.

      Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) offers information meetings at local high schools. 
      Our MPS liaison is Tammi Harmon. Contact Tammi via phone: 612-668-0812 or email: [email protected]
      Independent schools offer open house events.

      LCS holds a High School Transition Meeting where LCS graduates return to share their transition experience to public high schools with current students and parents.
      Minneapolis Public high schools offer evening open house events.

Late November - Early December
      Families may visit Minneapolis Public Schools on specific dates.
      Confidential teacher recommendation forms are submitted to LCS teachers for independent schools.

      Independent schools' application process may require entrance exams.

      Independent school application deadlines.

Late January
      LCS mails student records to prospective high schools. If records are required sooner, 7th grade reports and standardized test results are sent with a note indicating 8th grade records will be sent when complete, along with 8th grade standardized test results.

Late February - Early March
      Deadline for application to MPS high schools.

      Registration for MPS classes.

What classes do high schools offer?

As students look ahead to their high school experience, they must decide what classes to take. Sometimes this is determined by a placement test, but often students have some discretion as well. Students often look at each department they will be entering to choose a sequence of classes that best fits their goals. Click below to see the sequences of classes offered at the high schools the majority of our students attended the last four years.

Southwest: http://southwest.mpls.k12.mn.us/course_catalog
South: http://south.mpls.k12.mn.us/Curriculum_Guide_2004-05
Washburn: http://washburn.mpls.k12.mn.us/curriculum_guide
Benilde St. Margaret: https://www.bsmschool.org/senior-high
The Blake School:  http://www.blakeschool.org/page.cfm?p=552
Breck School: https://issuu.com/breakschool/docs/2019-2020_us_course_guide-f?e=4025045/67612557
DeLaSalle: http://delasalle.com/academics/curriculum/ 
Minnehaha Academy: http://www.minnehahaacademy.net/schools/upper-school/upperacademics/
Saint Paul Academy: http://www.spa.edu/upper_school/curriculum

What questions have parents found helpful to ask high schools during the admissions/selection process?

  • Does the school have a particular educational philosophy or mission?
  • In what ways does the school foster the development of perseverance, flexible thinking, problem solving, collaboration, and self-advocacy?
  • What is unique about the program you offer or what differentiates your school from other schools?
  • Is bullying a problem at the school? How does the school proactively support a culture where bullying is prevented?
  • What is this school’s approach to student discipline and safety?
  • How might the school support students who have academic, social or emotional difficulties?
  • If my student received learning support in junior high, what is the process for making sure their needs are met in high school?
  • What is the average class size?
  • How much homework do students have? What is the school’s philosophy/approach to homework?
  • How do you determine which math class a student will take as a 9th grader? If a placement test is used, what resources do you offer for students to prepare for it?
  • Would you be willing to look through my child’s JH math portfolio to get a better handle on where they’re coming from?
  • How do you determine which level of foreign language a student will take as a 9th grader?
  • How is technology used to support teaching and learning at this school?
  • What is the sequence of science classes? (ie physics first or biology first?)     
  • How do the arts fit into the curriculum? Is there a school choir, band or orchestra? A drama program? Studio art classes?
  • What extracurricular opportunities (athletics, clubs, community service, competitions) are available for students?