GRADES 7 AND 8
In the Middle School program, students study four main subject areas: language arts, social studies, mathematics, and science. Students have a separate teacher for language arts, another for social studies, and a third teacher for science and math. Subject areas are integrated often; for example, in language arts students study novels that complement the social studies program. Another example is students applying mathematical concepts to scientific exploration.
The overall curriculum emphasizes depth of study, as students develop critical thinking skills through investigation of topics. In recognition of the changing needs of the adolescent, students are given both more responsibility and have higher expectations for contributing to the class and the school. Students are encouraged to form a cohesive and supportive group environment. Middle School students take leadership of the school’s weekly “Town Meeting” for students in Kindergarten and up. The class participates in fundraising activities throughout the school year in order to pay for a class trip in the spring. The planning and detailed decisions determining the class trip are also the responsibility of the Middle School students themselves.
Social Studies: In the Middle School social studies program, students explore the historical, political, cultural, geographic, and economic developments of humankind through an in-depth study of the history of the United States and its changing place in the world. Over the course of the two-year program, students will become knowledgeable about the birth of the United States and its growth through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The Middle School program also includes a component of current events, in which students gain insight and understanding of important people, discoveries, debates, and issues of the world and time in which they live. They will gain an overall understanding of the flow of history, the interconnectedness of the people of the past, present, and future, and the commonalities that people from all over the globe and throughout history share with one another, as the students work to find their own place in the world.
Language Arts: In the Middle School language arts program, students’ reading, writing, and other language skills are developed through an integration of reading, writing, and grammar. The many aspects of language arts are interwoven and independent, providing students with a wide variety of literacy experiences that model a rich and diverse array of different types of literature and text and allow students to practice and apply the skills they need to be proficient and critical readers, accomplished writers, independent researchers, and confident oral communicators. It is important for students to be able to choose literature that is the appropriate reading level and inspires a genuine appreciation of reading for pleasure. Students must also be able to express their thoughts, feelings, opinions, and knowledge clearly and effectively in writing or aloud. Middle School students must be encouraged to develop a clear voice, critical thinking and reasoning skills, and an appreciation of global literature, opinions, and information.
Mathematics: The goals of the Middle School mathematics program are for students to learn to enjoy and value mathematics as a way of understanding the world. The program is designed to foster confidence in mathematical ability, strengthen mathematical reasoning, develop mathematical problem solving skills, and teach students to communicate mathematical ideas. The curriculum is chosen to help students maintain an interest in and develop a positive attitude towards mathematics and presents high-interest and relevant tasks and problems for students to work on. The math program is highly individualized. Students will spend time in whole group activities, small group activities, and individual learning. Students may progress at their own speed, moving ahead when ability has been demonstrated and taking more time to fully master material is needed.
Science: The Middle School science program introduces the idea of science as a way of knowing and of understanding the evidence that supports modern scientific theories. Science topics are covered in depth to allow students to analyze information and to understand how theories are developed and supported. Students learn about the history of scientific thought and about science as a process, as well as a body of knowledge. The program goals include developing students’ curiosity about the world, their familiarity with how scientific investigation is conducted, and building knowledge of key scientific concepts in Space, Earth, Life, and Physical sciences. Students will use a variety of resources for learning, including laboratory investigations.