Integrated into our educational curriculum are wonderful traditions that are purposefully designed to encourage students to apply their learning, be highly experiential or thought-provoking, and build a strong school community. Students look forward to participating in these traditions every year as they continue their education in the Middle School.
Community Building Days
At the beginning of the school year, all Middle School students and their teachers participate in community building days on campus. Students engage in individual grade level and cross-grade activities to help everyone get to know one another better. As part of this tradition, students spend the night on campus under the supervision of their advisors. Several times per year, students participate in activities that involve these same family groups.
Science fair projects use the scientific method to explore a topic and communicate the results. Development of a project helps students further develop their scientific inquiry, improve their time management skills, and integrate Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) concepts. Seventh and eighth-grade students participate in the local and state competitions and sixth grade works on class projects as an introduction to the science fair experience.
The Big Dig
One of the highlights of 6th grade is the big dig, a combined language arts/social studies project that explores the culture, history, and discovery of ancient cultures. Students learn about ancient cultures and how those cultures developed in two different classes. Each class then creates their own secret culture and artifacts, which teachers bury. Students from one class dig up the artifacts made by the other and try to piece together what they’ve found and what it teaches them about the created culture.
A major component of the grade 8 advisory program is the leap program. Created by the Experience Institute and adapted for our Middle School, a leap is a specific time-bound project designed to help students leave their comfort zones and learn something new. It is an exploration of something they are passionate about, find interesting, or are curious about. Specifically, this exploration involves taking action. The goal of a leap is to help students discover more about who they are, what they find important about themselves and the world, and what they are capable of accomplishing when students take risks and challenge themselves.
End of the Year Trips
To celebrate the end of the school year, broaden their horizons, and step out of their comfort zones, each grade participates in a different end of the year trip. The sixth grade takes several daily mystery trips to surprise locations, with each adventure being educational, experiential, fun, and collaborative. The seventh-grade students prepare for stepping into a greater leadership role in eighth grade by taking a leadership retreat. This trip helps students reflect on their journey through the Middle School to date and begins to lay plans for their final year in the Middle School. The eighth grade takes an international trip to Quebec, Canada, giving them the opportunity to experience a different culture and learn about other worldviews and people groups.
Middle School Musical
The entire Middle School looks forward to participating in the annual Middle School musical each spring. Students can join the cast or crew, and experience first-hand the teamwork and dedication necessary to produce and perform a live production. Students come with varying prior theater experiences but everyone walks away with a stronger self-confidence, tighter bond with classmates and a new appreciation for the performing arts.