About Farnsworth Middle School

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Farnsworth Middle School is located in Guilderland, New York, just west of Albany. The student population is approximately 1200 representing grades six through eight. Students are divided into teams located in four houses (sections): Hiawatha, Mohawk, Seneca, and Tawasentha. The school contains a TV studio where the national and school news is broadcast into classrooms every morning. Farnsworth also boasts an organic community garden, two greenhouses, and a Project Adventure course. We also are involved in preserving the Pine Bush and the Karner Blue butterfly.

Farnsworth Middle School Philosophy Statement

Farnsworth Middle School is an exciting learning community: thoughtful, stimulating, reflective, engaging, and engaged. The staff balances challenging goals with its understanding of the unique intellectual, social, emotional, and physical needs of 11-14 year olds. In partnership with families and the community, we support and nurture students in their development of a love for learning, strong habits of the mind and body, a commitment to high academic standards, and appreciation for the arts, an understanding of democratic principles, respect for self and others, and responsibility for their actions.

All members of school community are continually involved in the active process of learning. Our heterogeneous learning environment supports exploration, risk-taking, and experimenting with new skills and ideas. We function as teachers, coaches, mentors, advisors, and guides. We expect that all students learn and achieve to their fullest potential.

Houses and teaming are integral parts of our middle school. They ensure that students are known well, and that attention is given to each student, both individually and as a member of a group. Teams ensure that students will have experiences that encourage them to understand, appreciate, and connect the interdisciplinary nature of knowledge. The team structure fosters greater communication among staff members leading to increased awareness of and attention to individual student needs. This structure also builds connections and a sense of belonging for both students and staff. Collaboration and learning with and from each other are important educational components.

Farnsworth Middle School students successfully make the transition from elementary to high school. All students use their minds well, think critically and creatively, make informed and reasoned judgments, produce and invent, critique and analyze, develop personal responsibility and concern for others, and move toward greater independence as learners.

Pine Bush Project

In 1995, the Pine Bush Project began at Farnsworth Middle School. The program was designed to empower children and allow them to make a real difference in the world around them. It started with one seventh grade teacher and 100 students.  Learn more about the Pine Bush Project in Farnsworth Middle School. 

NYS & National School-to-Watch

The Essential Elements Schools to Watch program in partnership with the New York State Middle School Association is a state administered national program that seeks to identify middle grades schools that adhere to a rigorous set of criteria and are on a pathway of continuous improvement. Each school earning the designation holds that honor for three years then must reapply and be reevaluated to continue the honor of calling itself a School to Watch. All of these remarkable middle schools are dedicated to the young adolescents they serve and maintain a commitment to remain on a trajectory of improvement while implementing the Regents Policy on Middle Level Education, and the seven Essential Elements of a Standards Focused Middle School and Program.

Farnsworth Middle School was first designated in 2015, and re-designated in 2018 and most recently 2021. There are currently only 36 middle schools in NYS that are a “Schools to Watch”.

Download and print the 2023-24 FMS Handbook


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