Paramount to the Middle School experience is the opportunity for students to explore their interests and find new passions. One way to do this is through the elective system and after-school club choices. Students select two electives per semester from a wide variety of choices. Most courses are semester classes; however, choir, band, and orchestra require a full-year commitment.
The elective program also allows students to explore subjects not generally found in the core curriculum. Subjects offered on a rotating basis include Art, Band, Book Club, Ceramics, Choir, Digital Photography, Drama, Drawing, Farm to Fork, Film Production, Film Studies, Global Awareness, Happiness is . . ., History of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Maker Lab, Journalism and News Media, Orchestra, Personal Finance, Robotics, Shipyard Archaeology, Speech and Debate, Technology and its Uses, and Yoga. Electives are subject to change depending on teacher availability and student interest.
Students explore the different ways that news is delivered, from print and online sources to broadcast news and radio. Students conduct interviews and research to write articles, study and analyze broadcast, cable, and radio news, and produce a news program.
Robots open doors and work in supermarket self-checkout machines, thermostats, and the Mars Rover. In the Robotics elective, students have the opportunity to design, build and program robots of their own, while overcoming a variety of challenges. Students learn the fundamentals of engineering and prototyping as well as programming using Lego Mindstorms.
Sacramento is the proud home of the national “Farm to Fork” movement and our region is central to the global market for fresh, organic, and local foods. In the Farm to Fork elective, students harvest, store, and process sustainable agriculture from the Country Day organic garden. Students learn how to sustainably grow their own food and cook it, and, finally, enjoy consuming delicious meals using local and organic foods.
Students learn where mariners sailed by working with maps of the oceans and the ocean floor and by plotting major 16th to 19th century maritime shipping routes. They also learn what keeps boats afloat and what causes them to sink, how navigators used compasses and quadrants, and how archaeologists and divers work in the marine environment to discover, map, interpret, and preserve historic shipwrecks.
From pre-production through final editing, students learn the basic skills to create their own short videos. Small groups learn how to storyboard, shoot and edit lip-dub music videos, stop motion animation, and mini documentaries on a social issue. Students film on iPads and edit on the iMovie interface.
Students explore the art and science of photography using the school’s digital cameras. Students learn composition, exposure, and the basics of photo editing taking lots and lots of digital pictures both on campus as well as in the local community.
In art, students select from classes in drawing, painting, digital photography, and ceramics. In music, beginning band, advanced band, jazz, orchestra, and choir are offered, as well as opportunities for students to play in small groups. In drama, students build a foundation in the craft of acting and perform in two major productions each year, one in the fall and one in the spring.