Middle School

The strength of Ratner’s Middle School program is our commitment to the individual and to ensuring that each individual can be a successful part of the larger community.

Students find themselves at The Ratner School. We know that our students have to leave us prepared to succeed in high school and beyond. Many of our students go on to successful academic careers in independent schools in the area including Hawken, Gilmour, University School, Lawrence, and Laurel. Other students go on to public high schools in Orange, Shaker Heights, Chagrin Falls, Solon, Beachwood and other local districts. Ratner Middle School students grow into self-confident, curious learners, and when they go to their next school, they shine brightly.


Independent Work Choice, or IWC, is a program offering a selection of elective classes to Middle School students to participate in during otherwise unscheduled periods.

The goals of the IWC program include:

  • To nurture a student’s special interest or talent
  • To offer service learning experiences that benefit the student and others
  • To inspire self-motivation and responsibility
  • To foster cross-divisional or grade grouping relationships
  • To build community
  • To provide extra time for work completion or academic support (i.e. study halls or work periods)

While unscheduled periods for students vary depending on other academic scheduling, most students are able to participate in at least one IWC activity per week.

Here is a sample of some of the ways students have been engaged in the program:

  • Helping Primary students in Science, PE, and classroom projects
  • Working with our music teacher to learn to play a new instrument
  • Exploring a variety of illustration techniques, including sequential art and fashion illustration
  • Learning how to bake
  • Planting a Butterfly Garden
  • Correcting a drainage/erosion problem near the Library door
  • Learning coding fundamentals
  • Directing and producing the weekly Raptor News Program
  • Practicing fundamental keyboarding skills through the Keyboarding Without Tears Program
  • Learning to crochet
  • And of course, using the unscheduled times as Work Periods to help manage time!

IWC offers a way for teachers and students to look beyond the traditional modes and subjects, and to help our students realize that they can be the architects of their own learning.