English Language Arts
The program uses a reading and writing Workshop Model in which large blocks of time are designated to reading and writing. Each thematic unit is focused around a novel or other text. Texts read over the two-year rotation may include: The Adventures of Ulysses by Bernard Evslin, The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, The Giver by Lois Lowry, The Pigman by Paul Zindel, and Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, as well as various poetry, short stories and works of non-fiction. Language arts lessons focus on literary analysis, craft and organization of writing, vocabulary, and grammar.
The upper middle school mathematics course is a two year program designed in alignment with the standards described by the Massachusetts State Frameworks. An integrated, differentiated curriculum, comprised of pre-algebra, geometry, number sense, data analysis and probability, presents the opportunity for students to develop skills and conceptual understanding that will aid them in enhancing their problem solving abilities. Students learn to utilize graphing calculators as they are introduced to exponents, radicals, equations and other pre-algebra concepts. Students learn to use the calculators to enter data and analyze measures of central tendencies. Computers are employed to aid in introducing geometry concepts. Small group and one on one instruction along with guided practice allows each student the opportunity to develop conceptual understanding at an individualized pace, allowing for a successful math experience for students with a variety of abilities.
In this two year course students study the foundations of human society and the development of cultures around the world. The scope of study is broad from our most distant ancestors through to the Holocaust. Students gain a deep understanding of human behavior and the role of geographic location in the development of societies. We examine the archeological and scientific evidence for African genesis and human migration across the globe. We examine the rise of civilizations in river valleys and the spread of culture by the sea peoples around the Mediterranean. The classical civilizations of Greece and Rome and the development of western civilization are examined. The course examines the environmental, social, political, religious and economic aspects of the classical world through to the Medieval through the Renaissance.
Middle School Integrated Physical and Biological Science
The interdisciplinary semester has a heavy emphasis on the physical sciences. Students use Holt's "Physical Science" as the basis for our study. The text is supplemented with additional readings, movies, labs, and project work.
Students continue the study of chemistry, focusing on the behavior of matter under the influence of forces. We then examine Newton's Laws of Motion, forces, simple machines, e/m waves, sound, and light. Our investigations in physics are correlated to biological systems. For example, when we examine forces and motion, we also examine the skeletal structure, function, and movement and when we examine waves and their behavior, we also examine sound and vision in mammals.
Middle School Oceanography
The theme is the “ocean”. Around this theme students explore several scientific concepts. The curricular areas touched upon utilizing this theme are; geology, astronomy, cellular structure, function and reproduction, food chains and webs, classification systems for biological organisms, ecosystems and technology.
Students undertake individualized research incorporating readings, movies, field work, guest speakers, labs, etc. Students are asked to create several models both in and out of class.
Students undertake a team research project on another planet in our solar system. They are asked to investigate and present information under the guise of real estate developers. Students create a classification system for a group of objects of their own choosing. During our focus on technology, students build model boats and/or hovercrafts.
The Spanish language program is focused on building conversation skills. Students create individual and group projects from the various units of study: greetings and basic conversation, the calendar, numbers, leisure activities, school, descriptions, food, family, the house, likes and dislikes, and time. Emphasis is given to making grammatically correct sentences and learning the way verbs are conjugated. The cultural traditions, art, history, music, cinema, literature, sports, dance, politics, cuisine, and geography of various Spanish speaking countries are studied. Vocabulary is practiced through games, theater, readings, written activities and art projects. Tests are given to account for student’s learning and comprehension.
Each student studies Art, Physical Education, and Electives (Offering and Artists in Residence classes) each week. Each student is invited to participate in the school’s Mentorship Program.