M Term

MTerm: Learning Out in the World


In May, after the conclusion of APs and finals, Menlo students engage in immersive mini courses designed to get them learning out in our local and global communities. Hands-on and experiential, the MTerm curriculum aligns with Menlo’s mission to empower students to become ethical, responsible, and engaged members of ever-wider communities and help them develop a sense of commitment to purposes larger than themselves. 

MTerm Overview


The freshman experience is focused on the earth, the environment, and the human impact upon it. Students will grapple with and investigate questions like ‘Where do my food and water come from?’; ‘What are the systems that enable me to eat?’; and ‘What environments make up California, and how do those geographies, climates, and life systems affect our human economies and cultures?’. Through off-campus experiences and on-campus activities and discussions, freshmen will leave the 9th Grade MTerm experience with a deeper understanding of the earth’s environment and their place on it and in it. 


Sophomores will examine topics of justice, equity, and the cycle of poverty and explore systemic inequality and how individual actions can make change. They will learn about issues in their immediate community: educational equity, the criminal justice system, affordable housing and homelessness, and food access. Through conversations in seminars and experiences in the field, students will leave the sophomore program with a deeper understanding of the social structures around them and how individuals can impact change in a system, in particular in one’s community. Through this experience, we hope students begin to see themselves as citizens and members of their communities and better understand the complexities of the issues affecting their own neighborhoods.


Juniors will participate in a Junior Project (JP), which will allow them to dive deeply into a societal topic or issue that they are particularly interested in to expand their knowledge and deepen their understanding of that issue. Students may study a topic, pursue a new skill, or engage in a nonprofit internship or extended service experience that addresses an issue of their choice. Juniors will be grouped thematically, according to their topics, and supervised by a faculty member. Upon conclusion of their work at the end of MTerm, all juniors will present their work to peers, parents, and community members. This experience will prompt juniors to think critically about their interests, passions, and responsibilities and how they can pursue those topics in the future. Juniors will also have an opportunity to choose to be TAs in the 9th and 10th grade classes, rather than completing a project. 


The senior experience focuses on two objectives: preparing students for their lives after high school and creating and deepening connections as a class. To prepare for their lives beyond Menlo, seniors will learn through a speaker series, hands-on activities, and small group discussions. In addition, seniors will have multiple activities to spend time together, reflect on their time in high school, and have fun as a group. The experience will give seniors an opportunity to look forward and prepare for the future while also looking backward on their time at Menlo and treasuring the connections and memories they have made here.

Menlo Travel Programs – MTerm Travel Option For Grades 9-11

Menlo’s global travel program is another option for students to consider in lieu of the other M Term courses.