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Middle School

Classical Greek Paideia, Socratic Seminar and depth of study allow scholars to build the academic rigor and independence required for later success.

The A Fantis Middle School Program is designed to meet the demands of students’ increasingly abstract thinking and logical analysis. Teachers are able to guide students, from the depths of Plato and Shakespeare to the intricacies of algebra and organic chemistry. Middle School is also a lively, social place, where students can begin to assume more independence and responsibility. With daily advisory and weekly one-on-one meetings with faculty and staff, students learn to build the interpersonal and self-management skills needed to tackle more mature topics, such as peer pressure, resolving conflicts and using social media responsibly. True leadership often emerges at this level, with students grabbing opportunities that best suit them, from lead role in the Odyssey, student government or on the basketball court.

Inspired by ancient Greek paideia, the A. Fantis middle school curriculum is carefully structured to offer meaningful content centered around the development of broad, enlightened outlook. The Socratic Seminar, a critical component of paideia, fully flourishes as students tackle increasingly complex texts, enhanced through student-led discussions and analysis. Students engage in meaningful, project-based studies. English and history combine in Humanities, as do science and math in the STEM course. Hellenic Studies is an interdisciplinary approach where students explore The Odyssey and ancient Greek technology.

The Fantis Difference

Daily instruction begins from the first days of preschool, capitalizing on the age’s inherent language abilities. Students grow to explore classical Greek mythology and the history of ancient civilization. Middle school students grapple with the works of Socrates and Sophocles and are 21st century pen pals who share vlogs and Skype with students in Greece. The Senior Trip to Greece lets them visit their friends, as well as explore history, culture, language and religion.
Universal ideals of truth, wisdom and beauty have enabled Classical Greek Paideia to thrive for millennia. Inspiring students to be active, purposeful and self-directed learners through Socratic Dialogue and instructional coaching are hallmarks of the Paideia Method. A. Fantis combines this wisdom with the advantages of modern educational technology and best practices in order to develop true scholars who think deeply and question critically.
Faith, service and love for one another are foundational principles that define our school community. Daily prayer and monthly liturgy help ground students in their faith. Religious studies are interdisciplinary and, in middle school, become project based. Character education and social emotional support are embedded into the daily program, including morning meeting and advisory groups, where students collaborate on real-world issues, such as bullying, exclusion and resolving conflicts.
All students attend classes are under one roof, as students literally grow up in the building. Generations walk through the front doors daily as alumni, staff, parents and board members. With one class per grade, no one is ever a stranger. School Spirit Day, Middle School Book Buddies and other events help to develop close relationships across grade levels both inside and outside the classroom. In bustling Brooklyn, it is comforting to have “a small town” that is often called their second home.
International best practices consistently demonstrate the benefits of unlocking student potential through strategic and purposeful collaboration amongst faculty. The school schedule allows the time and resources for teachers to meet regularly, observe each other’s classes, analyze student work, co-plan and co-teach lessons. Each department, from preschool to middle school, operates to identify and share best practices, with the support of each other and school administration. From PK3, teachers work to ensure that students develop the capacity to engage in deep and meaningful collaboration, such as Socratic Method.

We decided to become a member of National Junior Honor Society because of our commitment to values beyond academic achievement. Service, leadership, character and citizenship are foundational components that we foster in our middle schoolers. Indeed, it will be all of these values that will guide them in their further studies and to be active members and leaders in their community.

Kara Poulon 
School Counselor & High School Advisor

Middle School Curriculum

“True teachers use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross; then, having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create bridges of their own.” —Niko Kazantzakis, Greek writer

Fantis graduates enter high school as critical readers, compelling writers, skillful speakers, and careful listeners. The Socratic Seminar flourishes here, emphasizing the power of asking questions, prioritizing inquiry over information, and discussion over debate. Faculty work closely to sequence a curriculum that exposes students to the vast treasures of English literature, poetry, and nonfiction works—from Beowulf and Frankenstein to Fahrenheit 451 and I Am Malala. Coursework and classroom discourse serve as vehicles for deep thought, careful reflection, and critical dialogue. Perhaps the most important skill our graduates can possess is the art of the written word. Through poetry, narrative, persuasive and expository texts, students learn the power of expressing themselves cogently in various mediums. In lieu of a final, Fantis 8th graders complete the English Regents, a high school exam that provides them course credit.
“History is who we are and why we are the way we are.” —David McCullough

Inquiry remains at the heart of our history curriculum, which encompasses civics, geography and economics. Students learn to decipher and analyze myriad stories from all corners of our world and different epochs. They learn to use facts and details in order to compose deep and enduring understandings of key concepts and skills across disciplines. The study of history is a natural platform for integration of other core subjects, including English, Religion, and the Arts. Primary source analysis, thorough research, compelling field trips and civic engagement with the community bring the curriculum to life and prepare our graduates for college, career and civic life.  In lieu of a final, Fantis 8th graders can complete the US History & Government Framework Regents, a high school exam that provides them course credit. 
"Mathematics is the language in which God has written the universe." — Galileo Galilei

Students at Fantis grow to appreciate the study of mathematics as a way of thinking and expression. Interdisciplinary projects help students use math in applied settings and see its manifestation in science, art, music, and the world around them. Lessons are intentionally organized to leverage connections between concepts—progressing understanding to more sophisticated concepts. Equally as important are mathematical practices—such as making sense of problems, perseverance, constructing viable arguments and critiquing the reasoning of others—which not only improve math but translate easily across disciplines. In lieu of a final, Fantis 8th graders complete the Algebra I Regents in June, a high school exam that provides them course credit.

“The art of teaching is the art of teaching to discover.”—Mark Van Doren

Firsthand exploration of phenomena through active investigations is at the heart of our science curriculum. The best way for students to achieve scientific literacy and appreciation is to actively participate in their own investigations and analyses. Students engage with real-world issues, empowering them to act as scientists and engineers to figure out the world around them. From chemistry to physics and ecosystems, the sequence of investigations builds an understanding of key concepts and practices in science and engineering. Teachers facilitate the use of central texts, media, and other resources through reading, writing, integrated technology, museums, and outdoor exploration to further student understanding. In lieu of a final, Fantis 8th graders complete the Living Environment Regents in June, a high school exam that provides them course credit. 

Greek Language, History & Philosophy
“If the violin is the most perfect musical instrument, the Greek language is the violin of human thought.” —Helen Keller

From Socrates in the 6th grade to Diogenes and the origins of Ancient Greek Cynicism in 8th, rapidly maturing student minds and cognition demand more meaningful study in the middle school years. A collaboration between the middle school and Hellenic Studies department guides students through a carefully planned sequence of study that challenges their thinking and deepens their understanding.

The Greek Drama Program gives all middle school students the chance to perform on stage, speak Greek actively and learn about Hellenic authors and their plays, while having tremendous fun. Past performances have included “The Odyssey” by Homer and “Lysistrata” by Aristophanes, which were both adapted for middle school students.

Fantis graduates can reach Level B1 of the CEFR, meaning they are independent users who can communicate in most situations, including leisure, travel and work. As they progress, students take the Greek language certification examinations throughout middle school at various levels. 8th-grade students may participate in the Greek Regents examination, which will provide high school credit.
Visual and Performing Arts
“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”—Albert Einstein

Dance, drama, and music play an important role in the experience of Fantis Middle School students. The importance of the arts have played a central role in education since Classical Greece and they are critical component in Paideia—a teaching philosophy focused on the whole child. All middle school students participate in weekly Choir and Music classes, which also explores history and theory. Electives include musical theater and the ACC Choir, which performs at sites throughout the year. Students can further their passion with private lessons after-school in piano, voice, and guitar—with some graduates continuing their studies at performing arts high schools, such as LaGuardia vocal and instrumental music programs. We believe that arts education can push the boundaries of our students’ thinking and inspire them to gain a deeper appreciation of the world around them.
Learning Support & Enrichment
“Differentiation is simply a teacher attending to the learning needs of a particular student or small groups of students, rather than teaching a class as though all individuals in it were basically alike.”—Carol Ann Tomlinson

With an average class size under 20 students, our faculty grow to understand each student as a unique individual. This understanding is further developed through the use of benchmark assessments given at key points during the year, which paint a detailed portrait of every student’s academic progress. In order to meet the demands of our advanced curriculum and hit rigorous grade level benchmarks, each teacher works within their department and in collaboration with our school counselor, special education coordinator and assistant principal. Over the school year, this team analyzes the results to create individualized support plans for students if they are below grade level or, more commonly, enrichment plans for students above grade level. We also support families with tools that will help students manage their learning independently. In partnership with families, our faculty and staff strive to ensure that each child achieves his/her fullest potential.
Social Emotional learning

“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” — Aristotle

Relationships are at the core of a successful learning community. A. Fantis students learn to foster warm and caring relationships staff, families and each other. This is possible under the guidance of our school counselor, who coordinates the implementation of our social-emotional learning (SEL) curriculum. Key components of this program include:

  • Daily advisory meetings with a homeroom teacher
  • Topics range from responsible social media usage, conflict resolution strategies, and peer pressure
  • Weekly one-on-one conferences with faculty and staff
  • K-8 Classroom Buddy Program, where middle school students partner and mentor younger classmates every month.
  • Service learning includes Middle School Book Buddies and other volunteer events

Students develop the skills and dispositions needed to interact positively and constructively with others by building caring relationships, direct instruction of social skills, and establishing a calm and positive learning environment. 

Experiential Learning
“Research in education has shown that we remember field trips long into adulthood. I remember visiting the post office in second grade and looking at the sorting machine. I have vivid memories of that.”—Neil deGrasse Tyson

Classroom NYC is our commitment to ensuring that every student in every grade goes out to explore the world every month. The goal is to make school more meaningful and enriching by having students learn in more authentic environments. New York City offers a wealth of enriching, memorable experiences for students that will enhance their learning—from the Met Museum and BAM to Billion Oyster Project in Governor’s Island. Classroom NYC becomes more sophisticated in middle school, with highlights including the overnight camping trip upstate in an environmental science center and of course, the senior trip to Greece. Another opportunity is our Cultural Exchange Program, which connects Fantis students with partner schools in Greece. This can include working on collaborative projects or establishing Pen Pals via letters and vlogs. There is indeed a fascinating world to explore outside these four walls, and it is our commitment to ensure our students take advantage of it.

Middle School Life

Student Council

The school council is active in different aspects of school life. Elections for key positions are held each fall and students are supported to run effective campaigns. Their primary responsibilities are to act on important issues raised by students and serve as a liaison between the administration and the students. The student council treasury is funded by the school store and various fundraisers, with profits helping to implement student-driven initiatives.

Middle School Clubs

Perhaps the most popular class of the week, middle schoolers select from a menu of club options based on their interests. Clubs are developed and delivered by our faculty and staff. Options have included Debate, Brooklyn Falcon Newspaper, musical theater, MathCounts Competition, and ceramics.


Students learn a variety of sports during weekly PE class and daily after-school in clubs, including volleyball, badminton, and tennis. Fantis offers middle school boys and girls the chance to compete in a basketball league against our sister schools and vie for the championship each year.

Classroom NYC

From Pre-K to senior year, every student in every grade goes out to explore the world every month. The goal is to make school more meaningful and enriching by having students learn in more authentic environments. Middle Schoolers enjoy more advanced trips, including overnight camping upstate and of course the senior trip to Greece.

National Junior Honor Society

The NJHS elevates our commitment to the values of scholarship, service, leadership, character, and citizenship. It helps middle school students develop the knowledge and skills to become well-rounded student leaders in their school, community, and beyond. Membership is open to all 6th-8th grade students who meet the selective criteria, and celebrations are held at the end of each quarter.

Fantis Students

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Sample Schedules

Meet Our Teachers

Jonathan Acampora

English Chair

John Papadimitriou

Science Chair

Lisa Dupas

Mathematics Chair

William Mound

Social Studies Chair

Merkoris Moschovis

Physical Education & Health

Evangelos Chaziroglou

Greek Language & Hellenic Studies

Theo Alvanos

Music & Performing Arts

Taso Gementzopoulos


Why learn Greek?

Over 60 percent of all English words have Greek or Latin roots. In the vocabulary of the sciences and technology, the figure rises to over 90 percent. Indeed, we speak and write Greek every day without realizing it. Western democracy is based on ancient Greek ideals and universal values, from Plato to Hippocrates. We all can better appreciate our own language and culture through the careful study of the Greek language and Hellenism. In addition, learning a second language has many social and cognitive benefits, beyond simple language acquisition.
Research has shown the positive influence of learning another language has on the development of the brain and a child’s intellectual abilities. Our Greek Language and Hellenic Studies curriculum is academically rigorous and provides students with an opportunity for interdisciplinary learning that is engaging, meaningful and important.


Middle School

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