The curriculum is structured as a two-year program in which students receive courses in language, literature, writing, speech, Spanish, math, science, social studies, health, physical education, outdoor education, service learning, and fine arts. Literature, social studies, and science courses are structured on a theme with related writing assignments in support of strengthening understanding of material and communicating ideas. As students collectively study courses together, some receive Year A or B, for example, as seventh year, others as eighth year. Expectations of performance are appropriately greater for eighth year students.
Language – The language curriculum follows the reading and writing workshop model established by the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project of Columbia. It encompasses an integrated study of vocabulary, literature, grammar and mechanics, and writing.
Speech – Students learn a variety of communication skills, such as acknowledging others, using “I” messages, active listening, goal setting and group decision-making. Through the process of Council, students strengthen skills in speaking from the heart, speaking spontaneously, being of lean expression, and listening devoutly. Students also participate in activities developed from Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens; Costa and Kalick’s Sixteen Habits of Mind, and The Heroic Journey.
Social Studies – This coursework includes both geography and history through the study of the themes of locations, place movements, regions, and interactions/progress of people and their environment through the following topics: Connections (Native Americans), Exploration and Perspectives (New World, Other Continents, Space and the Deep Sea), Identity (Immigration), Systems (Economics and Economic Systems), Interdependence (Ecology and Future Visions), Structures (Governments and US Government), Forces (Revolutions), Power (Human RIghts Movement), Changes (Industrial Revolution) and Balance (Peace Education and Future Vision).
Mathematics – This course covers use a pre-algebra and algebra curriculum designed by Stephanie Romero that utilizes the Montessori materials to introduce concepts before practicing them abstractly. The students will have two guiding questions per cycle. Students must take quizzes for feedback and master comprehensive tests. Each year’s curriculum contains units of Pre-Algebra and Algebra, including quadratic equations, coordinate graphs, mathematical chemistry, geometry, radicals and the Pythagorean theorem.
Physical Science – The physical science curriculum covers the study of Forces (Motion and Four Fundamental Forces); Structures (The Structure and Nature of Matter); Power (Power, Energy, and Waves); Changes (Work and Machines); and Balance (Chemistry and Future Technology).
Life Science – The life science curriculum covers the study of Connections (Cells and Living Things), Exploration (Virus, Monera, Protista, and Fungi), Identity (Genetics), Systems (Animal Systems), and Interdependence (Ecosystems and Future Visions).
Physical Education and Health – The Physical Education program focuses on individual conditioning, sports skills and team building with yoga sessions once per week and PE classes twice per week. As part of the Health program, students explore issues of belonging, friendships, adolescent development,stress management, self-esteem, peer pressure, drug education, sexuality, nutrition, and balanced living.
Spanish – Students learn to listen and understand, speak, read, and write Spanish, using a textbook, a workbook, and engaging in a wide variety of activities to foster these skills while learning about the spanish culture.
Computer Literacy – Computer activities are integrated into all subject areas, with word processing, spreadsheets, graphics, academic programs and simulation games covered in the process of work.
Outdoor and Career Education and Service Learning – Through overnight outdoor education immersion trips, students develop an appreciation for ecological issues and learn how to work on and with the land. In economics, students run a class business, which they decide upon at the beginning of the year. For the business, the students keep an inventory of materials, buy supplies, produce and sell the product or service, and keep track of income and expenses. The funds generated from the business may be applied to Middle School trips. As part of service learning students engage in community service experiences within the school as well as assisting and forming partnerships with community service organizations such as The Alliance for the Great Lakes and environmental preservation and animal husbandry activities at Nature’s Classroom.
Fine Arts/Electives – Students participate in a music class on a weekly basis and art is integrated thematically into each cycle of work. Areas of elective exploration vary each year with student interest and availability of outside teaching resources. Courses may include the following: photography, painting, video-making, sculpture, pottery, drama, carpentry, jewelry, philosophy and culinary arts.
For more detailed information on specific material and skills covered within the curriculum, please review the following Curriculum Overview or please call 773.714.0646 or email for more information or to make an appointment.