Curriculum

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.

English

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

Math

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

Science

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

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 Languages

World Languages fosters the linguistic, intellectual and social growth of all students 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, Spanish

Grade 6, students take a trimester of Spanish, Latin and Mandarin

Grade 7 & 8, students pick one of the three languages studied in Grades 5 & 6

The Arts

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.

In Middle School, each grade has an allocated "Arts Block" in their schedule:

  • Grade 5 & 6, choral and instrumental ensemble, as well as creating artwork in both the 2D and 3D art studios
  • Grades 7 & 8, mixed-voice choral ensemble
    Girls and boys are divided into their own choral ensembles and each student creates artwork based on the theme of identity in both the 2D and 3D art studios.

Computer Science

Computer use is integrated into all academic disciplines in Grades 5-8. Students attend computer lab sessions with their respective subject teachers and use technology in classrooms as writing, research, creation and presentation tools. Additionally, students attend Computer Science and Maker classes where critical thinking and problem solving skills are fostered as they learn fundamental coding concepts that they use to create games, simulations and animations. The curriculum also focuses on digital citizenship concepts 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...

Electives

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:

  • Journalism
  • Debate
  • Science
  • 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...

Global Citizenship

Middle School students focus their multicultural experiences through in-depth cultural and historical studies of United States History, Ancient Civilizations, India, China and the Middle East. In works of fiction and nonfiction in English classes, students gain critical awareness on themes of intolerance, ability differences, cultural conflicts, genocide, prejudice and racism. Our Arts curriculum provides opportunities for cross-cultural expression.

We offer an active Middle School Diversity club, CAFÉ (Cultural Awareness For Everyone), which meets regularly during the school day. Students take on active leadership rolls while learning about and celebrating the rich heritage of the Staten Island Academy community. Learn more...

Academy students truly understand the need for inclusivity and their responsibilities as global citizens and are prepared to meet them with enlightened attitudes and competence.