The Middle School curriculum is designed to offer students a mix of challenge, exploration and opportunity.
Students study a wide variety of subjects, all of which are inter-connected by our teachers. A civilization they discover in History will be explored in Music. A book they read in English will be the inspiration for their work in Art class. Day by day and week by week, our teachers work together to make sure that students are understanding the material in as dynamic a way as possible.
- World Languages
- The Arts
- Computer Science
- Health and Physical Education
Middle School English classes cultivate passionate readers, writers and thinkers. Literature provides opportunities for reflection on the human experience, and the study of literary works enriches our lives. Courses help develop a love of the English language and foster a community of active listeners, powerful writers and articulate speakers. English classes build upon the literacy foundation laid in Lower School and employ extensive writing, literary analysis, grammar and vocabulary building, discussion, debate, cooperative learning and role play.
English themes for Middle School are:
- Grade 5, Belonging and Community through Literature
- Grade 6, Identity and Survival through Literature
- Grade 7, My Place in the World
- Grade 8, Writing For Justice
Middle School Mathematics enables every child to learn mathematical concepts and operations in a deep and meaningful way. Students discover, understand and predict arithmetic patterns, and create models of inquiry so that results may be analyzed and generalized. Once understanding is achieved, arithmetic facts are mastered. Students are expected to challenge hypotheses and engage in discussion, so that learners discover concepts and formulas by truly owning them. Middle School math classes employ problem-solving, analytical reasoning, mathematical writing and concept-building strategies.
Mathematics themes for Middle School are:
- Grade 5, Mathematical Manipulatives,
- Grade 6, Organizing, Recording, and Communicating
- Grade 7 & 8, Algebra I
The Middle School Science program is based on the national science standards and uses an issues-based inquiry approach to the study of science. Students carry out activities to solve problems and make decisions based on their observations. The development of higher order thinking skills and the use of observations to reach conclusions is an important outcome of the program.
Science themes for Middle School are:
- Grades 5 & 6, Life Science
- Grade 7, Earth Science
- Grade 8, Physical Science
The curriculum includes the use of local resources such as the Greenbelt, the unique geology of Staten Island, the coastline and our beautiful campus.
History classes inspire in students a respect for the past and an appreciation for cultural diversity through the examination of evidence, the fostering of debate and the articulation of conclusions. The curriculum aims to promote community and global awareness, stimulate independent and creative thought, and instill ethical leadership and good citizenship in students who live in a rapidly changing and complex world. History classes employ extensive writing, research, analysis, discussion, problem-solving, cooperative learning and role play to help students deeply understand historical trends and concepts.
History themes for Middle School are:
- Grade 5, Origins/Hallmarks of Civilizations: Anthropology/Archaeology; Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, Israelites, Greece and Rome; and emergence to empire and colonization
- Grade 6, U.S. History – 1607 to Reconstruction
- Grade 7, U.S. History – Reconstruction to 21st Century
- Grade 8, Ancient Empires: Assyrians, Fertile Crescent; City-States: India, China, Japan and African Empires; and the Legacy of Imperialism
World Language offerings for Middle School are:
- Grade 5, students take a trimester of Spanish, Latin and Mandarin.
- Grades 6, 7 & 8, students take one of the three languages offered: Spanish, Latin or Mandarin.
Note: International students take ESL in lieu of a World Language during Middle School.
The Arts foster self-confidence and artistic expression in all students, while developing each student’s unique talents. Building on a strong foundation of skills, students learn to think creatively and understand that risk-taking is a natural part of the artistic process. Through exposure and experience, students develop a life-long love and respect for the arts.
Visual Arts: All Middle School students explore art making in both the 2D and 3D Art Studios
Music: All Middle School students participate in a grade level choral ensemble which are voiced age appropriately. These ensembles perform during our Middle School Arts Workshops throughout the year.
- Grade 5 and 6 students enjoy "Ensemble" class in which they construct musical works through both the Orff/Schuylwark curriculum, as well as, our World Drumming curriculum.
- Grade 7 explores music theory through "Breezin' Thru Theory", an online music program.
- Grade 8 students build on all of these prior experiences to begin composing their own musical pieces.
Theater: All Middle School students explore acting, improvisation and scene study through our Theater Arts Curriculum. Grade 7 and 8 students produce a full-scale musical. Students can either elect to be in the cast or to support the production through the art studios by creating posters, building props and painting sets.
Computer use is integrated into all academic disciplines in Grades 5-8. Students use technology in classrooms, the computer lab and library with their respective subject teachers as writing, research, creation and presentation tools. Additionally, students attend Computer Science and Maker classes where critical thinking and problem solving skills are fostered by utilizing a Design Thinking approach. Classes incorporate fundamental coding concepts that students use to program robots and create games, simulations and animations. The curriculum also incorporates a digital citizenship curriculum to ensure that students learn to use technology appropriately and responsibly.
Health and Physical Education
In Grades 5-8, the curriculum includes physical education, health and wellness, fitness and team sports. Each student’s program is individualized, in part, by the sport season in which they choose to participate (soccer, basketball, volleyball, baseball or softball). Through integrated experiences and individualized programming, coursework emphasizes skill development, team effort, sportsmanship and a positive attitude. Health & Wellness is coordinated through the Advisory Program and is co-taught by the Guidance and PE Departments.
Students in Grades 5-12 may also participate in team sports. Learn more...
In addition to the regular core curriculum, Middle School students have the opportunity to choose from a variety of elective offerings.
Offerings change yearly, and the descriptions below serve as examples:
- Creative Writing
- Computer Science
- World Drumming
As a community that fosters diversity, embraces multiculturalism and advocates social justice, we have created an evolving diversity curriculum that supports our efforts to educate the young for the global challenges of the 21st century. Learn more...