Jags have a Kind Heart Wise Mind Brave Spirit Bold Faith
In Fifth through Eighth Grade, our faculty and staff take great pride in the relationships that are fostered with our middle school students. Students are introduced to approaches in learning to help tackle complex and sensitive issues that middle school students may be experiencing during this period of adolescence. The academic rigor and breadth of the middle school curriculum allows our students to navigate towards the next stage of their education as confident, happy and eager to excel to the next level of their education. Students are encouraged to promote action and service to the local and global community, with the regular use of collaborative project-based learning which nurtures positive communication and problem-solving skills to equip our middle schoolers to transition smoothly onward.
Students are introduced to the works of great writers and the study of the major literary forms, including plays, short stories, and poetry. Students respond to the readings with written analyses and are guided through a process in which writing, proofreading, and editing skills are emphasized. Grammar and vocabulary lessons are incorporated into the analysis of text to provide students with a deeper understanding of the English language. Reading instruction is designed to produce life-long readers.
Alverno’s Reading curriculum is Lucy Calkin’s Units of Study, a rigorous and highly effective program that explicitly teaches reading skills while growing students into independent and life-long readers. Additionally, we will also be reading several core literature books throughout the year. There is a strong focus on reading and writing in Middle School. The writing curriculum parallels reading as it is also Units of Study. Throughout the year, students learn the craft of writing through specific genres within narrative, opinion, and persuasive themes. As is such in reading, student choice is vital to learning. Students learn to use their voice – that what they have to say matters and that it’s their story to tell. Additionally, we use Daily Grammar Practice and Word Study to enhance our knowledge of grammar and spelling rules. Alverno’s Reading curriculum is Lucy Calkin’s Units of Study, a rigorous and highly effective program that explicitly teaches reading skills while growing students into independent and life-long readers. Additionally, we will also be reading several core literature books throughout the year.
Religion within the Middle School is a key component of the students’ day. Students in Middle School receive regular instruction in Religion that focuses on the principles of Catholicism and the integration of these values into our daily lives. It focuses on exploring and deepening the student’s relationship with God and with each other. They are taught about the Church, worship together, and prepare for the sacraments. This teaching promotes active learning that translates into active faith. An active faith also helps students work and learn about service and social justice. Our middle schoolers engage in a buddy program with our lower school students. Our buddy system helps students to feel valued and supported, teach important social skills and create a caring mindset in the school.
Christ Our Life by Loyola Press is our series for Religion. Written by the Sisters of Notre Dame, Christ Our Life fosters children’s love of God while providing a rich knowledge of our Catholic faith. The Christ Our Life curriculum comprehensively presents the authentic teachings of the Catholic Church and is the only program aligned with the Church’s mission for a New Evangelization, the NCEA: IFG ACRE assessments, and the Six Tasks of Catechesis.
Our Math curriculum consists of two programs that work hand in hand: Saxon Math and Simple Solutions Math. To master mathematics, students need to build on prior learning—what new concepts they can learn depends on which concepts they already know. Saxon Math provides a learning structure proven to advance students steadily and assuredly to higher levels of understanding. Simple Solutions Standards-Based Mathematics aligns with standards for Mathematics. These standards identify key ideas, understandings, and skills, and emphasize deep learning of mathematics concepts in each grade level.
Science offers an experience for exploring the world. A hands-on approach engages students and allows for independent discovery and learning. Using the 13 acres of the campus allows the teacher and students to explore our ecosystem within their own community.
In Grades 5-8, we utilize STEMscopes. STEMscopes was developed by Accelerate Learning Inc. in partnership with Rice University. STEMscopes uses the 5E plus intervention and acceleration learning model to provide an engaging STEM curriculum organized into customizable segments. Available in a digital format, enhanced by print materials, and brought to life through exploratory hands-on kits, our blended curriculum helps students improve student performance, through high quality, customized, standards-aligned, hands-on digital STEM curricula, and resources.
In the Social Studies curriculum, students explore the world in which they live geographically and historically. They make comparisons, explore causes and effects, study historical figures, and begin to realize the importance of involvement in their community. TeachTCI’s History Alive is our curriculum for Social Studies. Lessons enhance students’ knowledge of the past in an engaging and meaningful way. History Alive! The Ancient World introduces students to the beginnings of the human story. As they explore the great early civilizations of Egypt and the Near East, India, China, Greece, and Rome, students discover the secrets of these ancient cultures that continue to influence the modern world.
Students in transitional kindergarten through fourth grade also receive weekly instruction in Art, PE, Coding, Robotics, and Music. Spanish is introduced in kindergarten with stories, lessons in culture, and beginning vocabulary.