Early adolescence is a time of rapid change. For middle school students, it's a time to experience support and challenge: a safe community as your home, and the growth that comes from experience and exploration.

At Watershed, middle school students get that balance.


Watershed’s academically vigorous program prepares our middle school students for college preparatory work in high school. But our courses are also active, hands-on, and rarely based on a textbook.

Science labs, field work, and studio art all engage the multiple intelligences of middle school students through movement and experimentation.

This creative, dynamic environment maintains the innate love of learning that shouldn’t go away in middle school.


be seen and known as an individual

Watershed is a small school community where students build close relationships with advisors and teachers. With every grade level capped at 14 students, teachers develop an appreciation of each student’s strengths, challenges, and growth over time. Work outside the classroom only strengthens that bond. 

That’s why our students receive more than a letter grade; they get detailed information about how it’s going and how they can get better. More importantly, we connect with students as people, not only as academic learners.

Watershed’s middle school outperforms the mean for private middle schools according to all three criteria measured: intellectual engagement, social engagement, and emotional engagement.
— Middle Grades Survey of Student Engagement

join a supportive community fueled by challenge

Watershed builds a sense of community through daily check-ins, shared norms, orientation camping, an annual retreat, and weekly intramurals. Advisor relationships give every student a trusted adult who looks out for them.

But Watershed’s also a community where students are presented with constructive challenge. We ask big questions and expect students to think critically. We take kids off campus and into their stretch zone. When social conflict emerges, we challenge and support students to manage it. As a result, middle schoolers at Watershed get comfortable with being uncomfortable.


Build character, confidence, and a clear sense of who you are

Who you are is just as important as what you know. At Watershed, every classroom posts the seven character traits we build in middle school. Students set goals for character development, receive feedback using those terms, and reflect on progress. Real-world experiences challenge students to practice these character traits, whether it’s having grit in the field or showing empathy for others in your group. Our focus on character helps middle school students grow into their best selves.

Expand your horizons and develop independence

Watershed’s expeditionary program puts middle schoolers in new situations they may otherwise never experience. Whether it’s a new part of the country or a new slice of Boulder, our real-world program expands the horizons of students as they enter into adolescence. Field work ranges from environmental science at Rocky Mountain National Park to service in the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Through these experiences, middle schoolers learn to care for themselves, their group, and their environment - building the skills that lead to successful independence.