Aurora’s new middle school opens this fall

Sponsored: Aurora, a school steeped in experiential and social-emotional learning, will open to a mixed cohort of 6th and 7th graders in the fall, followed by 8th graders in 2022.

A young girl, seen sitting from behind, looks out at a patch winding its way over hills
Photo: Vlad Bagacian/Unsplash

This story is brought to you by Aurora School.

For over 30 years, Aurora School has been a beacon of progressive education in Oakland. The school’s K-5 curriculum lives at the intersection of exceptional academics and strong social-emotional skills, and is delivered in multi-age classrooms (K/1st, 2nd/3rd, and 4th/5th). Ask our alumni what they remember about their time at Aurora, and they’ll speak of community, mentorship, and the development of social-emotional skills, like empathy.

Understanding the demand for progressive education throughout the life of a child, Aurora is proud to announce that it will launch a middle school in the fall of 2021. At that time, Aurora will open its doors to a mixed cohort of 6th and 7th graders, followed by 8th graders in 2022.

Steeped in experiential and social-emotional learning, the middle school curriculum will distinguish Aurora from peer schools by engaging students in expeditions, real-life learning, and interdisciplinary “Quests,” modeled after those at Millennium School in San Francisco. Every semester, students will participate in two “Quests,” where they’ll work in small teams to weigh important questions. They will draw from lessons in the humanities, science, math, and technology — to explore answers to these questions together. Students will test hypotheses, gather data, and produce final papers and presentations with their suggestions for social impact.

As a preview of next fall, Aurora recently presented a Pop-Up Quest virtually. The topic—of strong interest to both kids and adults—was child independence. Here’s a recap of what happened.


Above: Hear Aurora alumni Ava ’17, Brian ’10, Dash ’16, Jonathan ’12, and Sadie ’19 share their thoughts on multi-graded classrooms and how prepared they were for life beyond Aurora School.


Aurora’s excitement around this expansion is palpable. As Head of School Abbie Koss remarked: “We are thrilled to open a middle school that will engage students of these ages in dynamic ways. Curriculum-based expeditions, outdoor learning, and apprenticeships will extend learning beyond the school walls and ensure that we produce the young minds that our society and the world at large need.”

To attend a virtual information session for either Aurora’s lower or middle school, please visit auroraschool.org/visit-us or contact our Aurora’s Admission Director Lisa Piccione.

We look forward to meeting you!

This story was written and paid for by Aurora School in Oakland, whose mission is to nurture children’s love of learning by cultivating academic excellence, emotional intelligence, and social engagement.