The Academic Program

General information

Sixth graders are divided into three sections for English, history, science and math. The reading curriculum emphasizes multi-dimensional, in-depth reading of outstanding novels. Additionally, students write prolifically and with much variety as young authors explore changes in voice, purpose, audience, and form. Math carries students through the variety of topics necessary to prepare them for more specific courses in algebra and geometry; likewise, the science program builds on the Lower School foundation and provides excellent preparation for rigorous coursework to follow.

Each day, resource teachers meet with students for world language and physical education, as well as a variety of electives, including journalism, debate, and the visual and performing arts. The organization of a sixth grader’s day allows for a smooth transition to a seventh grade schedule which is departmentalized and moves from classroom to classroom with teachers who are subject matter specialists. The goal is to help them gently transition to greater independence both academically and socially.

The school’s innovative iPad program, initiated in 2010, provides all Middle School students with a school-owned iPad to use for their three years of Middle School.

In preparation for the High School, seventh and eighth grade students are offered the full range of academic coursework, including a core curriculum of English, math, science, world languages, and history. Classes capture the high energy level of Middle School students in challenging, interesting, and affirming educational activities. Placement of students in certain disciplines is dependent on developmental appropriateness. For example, the ability to consider the abstract differs in students and, therefore, students vary in their readiness for algebra and geometry. Similarly, instruction in world languages is varied according to students’ readiness.

Teachers across the curriculum cooperate to integrate their subjects. For example, the art teacher teaches the culture of art through language and history classes, science and history instructors share projects, and English and history programs teach cultural values of societies throughout the world.

Elective choices may include newspaper, studio art, ceramics, drawing, drama, band, orchestra, choir, speech and debate, Farm to Fork, robotics, photography, film production, Global Awareness, personal finance, an archaeology simulation, yoga, and a Maker Lab for design and building. Elective classes are subject to change depending on faculty and student interest.

Study skills are taught and practiced within the context of classes during the three years, with emphasis on organizational skills, listening, note-taking and outlining skills, preparing for and taking tests, and writing essays and reports.

All Middle School students participate in physical education classes and may elect to play interscholastic sports. In P.E., nutrition and health issues are addressed, and students are challenged to develop self-confidence about their physical abilities. Children can participate in interscholastic sports beginning in the fifth grade. Teams compete with other middle schools in soccer, basketball, volleyball, track, golf, and flag football.

Students have the opportunity to express their perceptions and feelings about issues arising from their growing up. In classes and other settings, special attention is given to drug awareness, human relationships, and the special challenges young adolescents encounter as they begin to emerge as adults. Faculty members, as well as resource people from the community, guide student discussions.