Grouped By Ages

Research does not support the idea that all children of the same age should be able to learn the same things in the same way at the same time. (See Lev Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development.) So, from ages 5 through 13, our classrooms are grouped by age range, taking into account chronological age, gender, academic needs and social/emotional maturity. Grade designations begin in 8th grade in preparation for high school.

Buddy Groups

“It's critical that younger kids see models of what they can accomplish so they can visualize their own success and learn persistence.”

- Dr. Tara Terry, Assistant Head of School for Academics

A few years ago, Lower School teachers were looking for new activities to enhance The Howard School’s March Reading Month – a celebration of reading that coincides with National Read Across America Day and Dr. Seuss’s birthday. They decided on Reading Buddies, pairing Middle School students and Lower School students in their own classrooms to read aloud to each other. It wasn’t intended to be extra work, just kids enjoying good books together.


From the beginning, the benefits were clear. Lower School students looked up to the older students, seeing them as proof that reading could be mastered. The older students who struggled with reading got valuable practice in a casual, fun setting with young students who loved spending time with them.

Now every Lower School class participates in Reading Buddy activities, getting together several times a year with their Middle School buddies to read to each other. The groups also take part in several reading-related activities throughout Reading Month, which concludes with the annual Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast and gives reading buddies a chance to share a delicious and fun meal together.

No Grades Until High School

While teachers measure student progress regularly and share their achievements with parents via student-led conferences, letter grades aren’t given until our Transition Class. GPAs are calculated starting in 9th grade, when students study a college-preparatory curriculum culminating in a Georgia College-prep diploma. Carnegie Units and credit hours are tracked on a standard transcript.