The Middle School curriculum is designed to offer students a mix of challenge, exploration, and opportunity.
Students study a wide variety of interconnected subjects. A civilization they discover in History will be explored in Music. A book they read in English will inspire their work in Art class. Day by day and week by week, our teachers work together to ensure that students understand 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 studying 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 concepts and operations meaningfully. Students discover, understand, and predict arithmetic patterns and create models of inquiry to analyze and generalize. Once a student achieves foundational understanding, they can master arithmetic facts. Students will challenge hypotheses and engage in discussion to 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 observations. Developing higher order thinking skills and using observations to reach conclusions is an essential 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 instill respect for the past and appreciation for cultural diversity by examining evidence, fostering debate, and articulating conclusions. The curriculum aims to promote community and global awareness, stimulate independent and creative thought, and imbue 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 Languages fosters students' linguistic, intellectual, and social growth by providing a multi-modal curriculum that guides students through ascending levels of language fluency and cultural understanding. All foreign language classes are taught primarily in the target language.
World Language offerings for Middle School are:
- Grade 5: students take a trimester of Spanish, Latin and Mandarin.
- Grades 6-8: students take one of the three languages offered: Spanish, Latin or Mandarin.
Note: International Middle School students take ESL in place of a World Language
The Arts foster self-confidence and artistic expression in students, 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: Middle School students explore 2D and 3D art making
Music: Middle School students participate in a grade-level choral ensemble. These ensembles perform during our Middle School Arts Workshops throughout the year.
- Grade 5-6: Students enjoy the "Ensemble" class in which they construct musical works through the Orff/Schuylwark and World Drumming curricula.
- Grade 7: Students engage in music theory through "Breezin' Thru Theory," an online music program.
- Grade 8: Learners build on prior experiences to compose their own musical pieces.
Theater: All Academy Middle School students explore acting, improvisation, and scene study through our Theater Arts Curriculum. Grades 7 and 8 produce a full-scale musical, in which students can elect to be in the cast or support the production through the art studios by creating posters, props, and sets.
In Grades 5-8, all academic disciplines integrate computer use. Students use technology in classrooms, the computer lab, and the library to leverage writing, research, creation, and presentation tools. Additionally, through Computer Science and Maker classes, a Design Thinking approach cultivates critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Classes incorporate fundamental coding concepts that students use to program robots and create games, simulations, and animations. The curriculum also contains a digital citizenship curriculum to teach students to use technology appropriately and responsibly.
Grades 5-8 curriculum includes physical education, health and wellness, fitness, and team sports. Each student’s program is individualized, in part, by their preferred seasonal sport (soccer, basketball, volleyball, baseball, or softball). Health & Wellness is coordinated through the Advisory Program and is co-taught by the Guidance and PE Departments. Through integrated experiences and individualized programming, coursework emphasizes skill development, team effort, sportsmanship, and a positive attitude.
Students in Grades 5-12 may also participate in team sports.
In addition to the core curriculum, Middle School students can select from a variety of electives that change yearly.
Past electives include:
- Creative Writing
- Computer Science
- World Drumming
As a community that fosters diversity, embraces multiculturalism, and advocates social justice, the Academy employs an evolving diversity curriculum to support efforts to educate students about the global challenges of the 21st century.