An activity period, taking place once a month, encourages students to explore as many nonacademic areas as possible. Each semester, students choose to participate in one of about 45 activities, organized and led by Middle School faculty.
A resource period takes place when the activity period does not occur. During this resource period, teachers are available in their classrooms for student remediation, enrichment or team activities. This is also the time during which all Middle School vocal and instrumental performing groups rehearse.
Interdisciplinary units apply concepts and language from more than one discipline to examine a central theme, issue, problem, topic or experience. The goal of these units is not to replace the individual disciplines, but to help students learn and apply their concepts. These units are generally geared toward an entire team of students, rather than a single class.
Language arts in the sixth grade is a double period encompassing reading, writing, grammar, speaking, comprehension and vocabulary. Seventh-grade students take both English and developmental reading. For eighth-grade students, reading skills are incorporated into English class.
The Language Arts Curriculum is aligned with the Pennsylvania Academic Standards. Student progress is monitored through a district-wide assessment plan which includes skills assessments, process assessments and a portfolio of student writing samples.
Math is the only core subject in which students are grouped homogeneously within their team. Our math curriculum follows standards established by the National Council of Teachers of Math. Math at the Middle School level currently ranges from general academic math to geometry.
Science coursework in the sixth grade focuses on earth science, chemistry and ecology. Sixth-grade science classes use our outdoor environmental nature center as a laboratory to study and impact on the natural environment. Living sciences are studied in the seventh grade while physical science is the emphasis in the eighth grade.
Sixth-grade social studies focuses on the geography of North America. Seventh-grade students study world cultures from ancient times up to the Renaissance. Eighth-grade social studies units range from the discovery and exploration period to the Civil War. Special opportunities in the department include the Geography Bee, History Day, Renaissance Faire, and the Civil War Re-Enactment Day.
Sixth-graders take reading as an integral part of their double-period language arts class. Seventh-graders take reading every other day, alternating with physical education. General reading objectives are to develop skilled, lifetime, enthusiastic, functional and selective readers.
We offer a two-year exploratory foreign language program for all seventh- and eighth-graders. Seventh-grade students take 18 weeks each of Latin and French, while eighth-grade students study Spanish and German, each for 18 weeks.
Our Middle School art program builds upon the knowledge, skills and attitudes learned at the elementary level. Our art curriculum focuses on production, history, criticism and appreciation. Students maintain a portfolio and notebook that include artwork, student and teacher evaluations, worksheets and research. Special features of the art program include: art-related computer software, art clubs, opportunities for gallery visits, exposure to major works of art and visiting artists.
Our music curriculum focuses on major musical periods, characteristics of sound and tone color, music fundamentals, music reading, musical theatre and composition. A hands-on approach uses learning stations, games, singing, conducting, composing, dancing and discussions to stimulate analytic and creative thinking processes. All students have an opportunity to participate in a keyboarding lab throughout their years at the Middle School. Our music staff offers a sixth-grade and combined seventh- and eighth-grade marching band, concert band, jazz band, string orchestra, and chorus ensembles.
All Middle School students take physical education class every other day. The program's objectives are to challenge students to work hard and to develop a positive mental attitude toward health and fitness. Adventure Based Education (ABE) is an important part of the department’s program. ABE consists of a series of outdoor elements to build teamwork, decision-making and student self-confidence.
Sixth- and eighth-graders take health class every other day, alternating with physical education. The curriculum stresses the physical, mental and social dimensions of a balanced lifestyle. Emphasis is placed on fitness, family life, mental health, and prevention of tobacco, alcohol and drug use. Students gain information they need to make healthy lifestyle choices.
Our activity-based technology education program gives students an understanding of the evolution, application, and significance of communication, manufacturing, construction and transportation technologies. Sixth-grade students study technology evolution, invention and impacts on the world. Through the application of tools, materials, and processes, seventh- and eighth- graders learn about telecommunications, building structures, making products, and moving passengers and freight.
Family and Consumer Sciences
Our family and consumer science program provides a variety of experiences that instill in students a sense of responsibility. Students develop practical life skills needed to be an educated consumer and responsible adult. Major units of study include child development, child care/baby-sitting, food preparation, nutrition, meal planning, consumer management and sewing.
Library skills are integrated into students’ core subjects, allowing students to apply library knowledge immediately. Students receive instruction in booktalks, literature appreciation, bibliography writing, note-taking, using specialized reference materials, Dewey Decimal System, internet searching and use of online databases. In addition, the library is always open to students during the school day for leisure reading.
Our 5,000 square-foot library is a complete media center with computerized card catalogs, electronic access to other Pennsylvania libraries, online databases, and a media retrieval system. The media retrieval system gives teachers remote control of video tapes, laserdisc, video floppy disk, and interactive CD ROM Disk equipment from their classroom telephones.