J-Term (Upper School)

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Imagine the chance to pause in the middle of your school year to focus on completely different topics than the ones you spent your entire fall semester on. 

Imagine having the chance to delve deeply into a topic that challenges you to think analytically, develops real-world skills, and gives rise to your creativity--without loads of homework or the stress of a grade other than Pass/Fail.

In between the first and second semesters of the academic school year, R-MA students spend three weeks focusing on inquiry-based and project-based courses that are geared toward career and life skills development. Nicknamed the "J-Term," the offered classes encompass a wide variety of special interests. Some students use the time to explore additional electives and interests, while others focus on building their college resumes or investigating possible careers. 

Jammin' JSTOR is an intensive college-level research course that will include understanding your own study habits, along with food and fun. It is one of the J-term courses being offered for January 2020.

The first two blocks of each day provide time for students to maintain their forward momentum and growth in their regular core classes. For example, students may work on AP class assignments or obtain extra help in classes in which they are having difficulty. 

The next two blocks during the day are used for the J-Term courses, followed by an enrichment block for drill, band, or chorus rehearsals. Students may also use this time for projects for either their regular classes (such as yearbook page layouts) or their J-Term classes. Sports practices are held in the afternoon/evening hours.

Fridays offer a further change of pace for the Upper School students, as they enjoy full or half-day excursions, through which they can further immerse themselves in their chosen J-Term topics. 

The January 2020 J-Term will run January 6-24, with a culminating symposium to be held on the final Friday. During the symposium, the students present what they have learned or display the project(s) they worked on during the three weeks.

J-Term provides collaborative opportunities for students as well as faculty and staff! In January 2020, students have the opportunity to take a course in "Crafting Winning Arguments," a course taught by Speech and Debate Coach (and former champion) James Taafel '05, and R-MA President Brig Gen Dave Wesley, who served as a JAG officer while in the Air Force.

The J-Term course offerings for 2020 include:

  • Art & Engineering
  • Crafting Winning Arguments
  • DIY
  • Drone Applications
  • Etiquette & Protocol
  • Financial Education Made Easy
  • How to Get the Job You Want
  • Aquaponics & the Food We Eat
  • Jammin’ JSTOR
  • Life Hacks
  • Mathmagic Land
  • Mind & Body
  • Mr. D’s School of Rock
  • Multi-Media Content Creation
  • A Picture’s Worth 1,000 Words
  • Train with a Purpose
  • Unlocking Your Creative Potential

Second semester will begin Monday, January 27th. Applications are being considered for grades 6-11 on a space-available basis. Contact the Admission Office at 540-636-5484 for more information, or request information online

Fascinated by drones but can't find the time to try them out? The J-term course "Drone Applications" might be for you!

The J-Term is an evolving concept, and the plan for 2021 is for older students to be able to hold three-week internships that will allow them to explore career options. More info to come on that in the fall of 2020!