In Fifth Grade, teachers work to transition students into middle school. Students are excited to get their own lockers, to have their classes in the Penthouse, Lounge, Study, and Science Lab, and to move independently throughout the building for classes. The key themes that are stressed during this important transition into Middle School are personal responsibility, time management, and self-control. As Fifth Graders embark on their Middle School journey, they soon discover how to keep their locker and binders organized, how to stay on track with various homework assignments and projects assigned by their teachers, and how to participate in lively class discussions and activities in a mature manner.
The overnight trip to the Horse Institute in September provides time for new and returning students to come together as a class. During this trip, students learn several important communication and team-building skills, which can be applied to real-life situations that may arise during their Middle School career. Preparing to lead their first parent-teacher conference in December is also a big milestone for students, as is participating in the Leadership Summit during Month of the Young Adolescent. Additionally, Fifth Graders have many opportunities to work and socialize with their older middle school peers, including through their Special Events class, weekly Middle School Assembly, and such activities as student government, school dances, and clubs.
By Sixth Grade, students have firmly established themselves in the middle school and are ready for new challenges. The year is an exciting one, beginning with an overnight trip to Frost Valley with the Seventh Grade in the fall. On this trip, students are encouraged to test their personal strength and courage by participating in a number of physical challenges such as The Flying Squirrel, the climbing wall, and a number of low-ropes courses. Another addition that the students look forward to at the start of the new year is the use of pens on a daily basis. Students are excited to use ink for their main classes so that they can show they are responsible in their work and careful about making mistakes.
Throughout Sixth Grade, the students work with various age groups within the school and community. A favorite Sixth grade activity is interviewing some of our first grade students to help them remember what the world is like through the eyes of a six year old. The students also look forward to hosting the annual Baby Shower for a family in need, and creating a Disabilities Awareness Day presentation for the school community. Sixth Grade is also a year where the students get to take many unique and interesting curriculum-related field trips. Two of the choice field trips are to Medieval Times, which allows the students to go back to the 11th century and experience life in the Middle Ages, and to Ripley’s Believe It or Not, to show how everyone in this world is different and unique in their own way. As the students continue to mature and grow in their abstract thought, they begin to experience new activities and ideas on a daily basis.
Seventh Grade students are ready for more challenge and have many opportunities to learn and grow from the community. Returning to Frost Valley with the Sixth Grade in the fall, students relish the opportunity to finally test out the Zipline. This experience, along with the other challenges at Frost Valley, provides students with a feeling of self-confidence and accomplishment. The year is marked by many exciting milestone projects, such as the Poetry Slam and the creation of a mural for their community project.
Seventh Grade students are granted greater responsibilities, including their own Netbook and login id to utilize the school’s server to complete their work. They are also granted more leadership opportunities in our campus life and community projects. The level of guidance given on projects and assignments decreases as students grow in their independence, organization, and cognitive abilities. Giving them space and guidance to become responsible citizens is pivotal at this age as students begin the transition from childhood into adulthood. In the spring, students and parents also begin to engage in the exciting process of high school exploration, which will begin in earnest at the beginning of Eighth Grade.
Eighth Grade is an action-packed and productive year at All Saints. Students start the year with a bang, getting right down to the important work of creating a digital portfolio to be used as part of their application to high school. Teachers work with students and families as they search for the high school that is the “right fit.” Class time is dedicated to developing and honing interviewing skills and preparation for the Independent School Entrance Exam. Their work continues to grow in length and depth, but mostly in the independence they are given to develop their ideas and organize their thoughts.
A highlight for the year is a student exchange program in which students from Ecuador visit our school and the New York City area for 10 days, followed by our visit to Ecuador for 10 days in the spring. Of course, the end of the year is bittersweet for all, as students celebrate the end of their Middle School years through the planning and execution of their own graduation ceremony and celebration. Throughout the year, students prepare for this important ceremony by studying rites of passage from around the world and writing their own spiritual autobiography, a reflection of their time at All Saints and how they will continue to live the school’s mission statement.
Curriculum/Middle School Program: Next Page Middle School Student Life at ASEDS