We believe that learning a second language at an early age has a positive effect on intellectual growth, enriches and enhances a child's academic development, leaves students with more flexibility in thinking, greater sensitivity to language, and a better ear for listening. We believe that learning a second language improves a child's understanding of his or her native language and offers the ability to communicate with people he or she would otherwise not have had the chance to know. Latin and Spanish are offered in the Middle School.
Our fifth and sixth grade curricula focus on building confidence in language acquisition, developing vocabulary, and drawing awareness to basic grammatical structures. History and culture lessons broaden student cognizance and appreciation of our global society. Seventh and eighth grade classes follow Upper School standards for Level I of the language. Spanish classes are conducted primarily in the target language.
The Middle School focuses on using technology skills for research, organizing and analyzing information, collaboration and problem-solving. Purposeful time and energy are spent on coaching students about the importance of digital literacy, the etiquette of communicating through and with technology, and the responsibilities associated with signing and abiding by our Acceptable Use Policy.
Fifth and sixth grade students have the use of assigned laptops at school only and seventh and eighth grade students bring their own devices to use at school and at home.
Grade Level Trips
Each grade level takes a two or three night trip. These trips afford our students the opportunity to develop stronger relationships with one another, greater understandings of themselves and their environment, and more pertinent connections between what they learn in the classroom and the real world. These trips serve as centerpieces to the curriculum for each of the participating grade levels during the first part of the year as students engage in related art projects, study the cultures of the region, read literature with similar themes or settings, and focus their science explorations in these settings. The North Carolina mountains, historic Williamsburg, Monticello, and Washington, DC serve as destinations for our travels.
Exploration of the fine arts is an essential component of our Middle School curriculum as well as an integral part of each student’s development.
Our visual arts classes provide an environment for problem solving and creative thinking as students become confident in self-expression and the ability to create quality artwork. Students should emerge from middle school art classes with confidence in decision-making, responsibility for their work and the materials they use, an understanding of the relevance of art in their lives, exposure to the art of cultures, and an appreciation of the influence art has on all our lives.
Our music and band programs take students from a focus of learning to reading music notation and performing on the recorder to gaining technical prowess on their instruments and advancing their musicianship to an impressive level. The opportunities to be a part of a full concert band, a jazz band, or a small ensemble provide our students with the foundation, practice, and performance experience needed to join the Upper School band by the eighth grade.
Our theater classes focus on the abilities to think critically, solve problems creatively, make informed judgments, work cooperatively within groups, appreciate differences, imagine and create.
Students learn the fundamentals of various sports in an organized environment. Expectations of proper behavior that foster an understanding and enjoyment of wellness are encouraged. Respect, cooperation and sportsmanship are the focus of learning.