The school provided me with the solid foundation I needed to succeed in my undergraduate and graduate studies as well as my professional life.Amy Agnew Dugdale (Alumni, 1994)
Middle School Curriculum
The Most Challenging Age
The most challenging age group for teachers and parents is students from ages 12-16. Let's face it, it's the most challenging time of life for these youngsters, transitioning from carefree childhood to responsible adulthood and never being sure, at any given time in the process, which stage is favorable. Consequently, they will tend to feign childish helplessness when it looks like it might work as a way of dodging some type of work, while at the same time demanding full adult status at times that they wish to assert their own independence.
The goal of our middle school program is to accommodate this transition period. We hope to help students develop a strong sense of responsible and independent behavior, both academically and socially, while also monitoring their performance and guiding their learning to ensure that they are not making choices they might later regret. The challenge is to give them "the roots to grow" and at the same time, "the wings to fly".
A Well Rounded Education
Middle school students all take English, advanced math leading to the completion of Algebra I in grade 8, science, social studies and a foreign language. They also have physical and health education and may choose from various arts electives.
The Best Chance at Success
The school utilizes a full rotary system, with specialty teachers for each subject, in preparation for the demands such a system imposes in high school. Staff meet regularly to discuss students' progress, to coordinate efforts to ensure consistent practices and, where necessary, to provide support for those struggling with their new-found independence!
Middle School Curriculum Summary by Grade
Middle School- Grade 6
The most important emphasis in the grade 6 program is the development of personal time management strategies and adaptation to various academic demands placed by differing staff. While the academic program is meant to be challenging in breadth and depth, the staff at this grade level pay special attention to the development of strong study skills.
Students have a full quarter course specifically in study skills as a way of introducing them to strategies necessary to succeed in Middle School. English focuses on oral presentations, word mechanics and responding to literature. Mathematics is studied through a grade 7 curriculum of pre-algebra. Social studies focuses on geography; science focuses on earth sciences; and students take one semester each of French and Spanish. Grade 6 students have some options in the arts elective program but must take the study skills course first. Grade 6 students are not allowed to participate in the Middle School drama production because of the large time commitment necessary for this program, but take may take computers, jazz band, art, or some of the other options that are offered from time to time.
Middle School- Grade 7
With the independent skills developed in grade 6, students begin to study all subjects in more depth. While study skill development remains a focus, extending and enriching content and providing more opportunities for research work also start to play a larger role. Students come to class prepared for serious discussion of academic topics and move beyond simple memorization of fact to the analysis and synthesis of ideas.
The English program focuses on writing and responding to literature; the math program is the first half of the high school Algebra I program; humanities involves the study of world history from early civilizations to current global events; science focuses on biology and human systems; students take one semester each of French and Spanish. The electives program for grade 7 offers an opportunity to participate in the Middle School drama production for those so inclined, as well as to take classes in art, computers, jazz band, cheer and other varying options.
Middle School- Grade 8
The grade 8 emphasis is on high school preparation. Students are expected to perform at a high level of intellectual output and to manage multiple tasks simultaneously. Formal essay writing is introduced in several subjects, and students conduct progressively greater research outside of the classroom setting.
The English program focuses on writing and responding to twentieth century American literature; the math program is the second half of the high school Algebra I program; humanities involves the study of U.S. history; science focuses on conceptual physics and chemistry; students take one semester of speech. The electives program for grade 7 offers an opportunity to participate in the Middle School drama production for those so inclined, as well as to take classes in art, computers, jazz band and other varying options.