"I like this school because you get more one
on one time with the teachers."

 -- 6th Grade Student 

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English Language Arts: Students focus on  fundamentals, such as writing clean and complete paragraphs, reading for symbolism and metaphor in literature, and acquiring the skills needed to read for information in science, history, and math.

Language: Grammar and Vocabulary: The school uses the "Writer's Choice" series (Glencoe) in fifth through eighth grades. Sentence structure and parts of speech are presented in increasingly complex forms. Students begin to explore analogies. Various vocabulary activities support written and oral communication.

Social Studies: The class studies the rise of civilizations and the cultures of North and South America prior to European contact. Using the text Our World (Macmillan/McGraw Hill), students look at the interconnections of geography, economics, culture, government, technology, and history. The course emphasizes critical reading skills as the students consider the ideas of citizenship and identity.

Fifth and sixth grades work as a combined class, the curriculum alternating. In year A, the ancient cultures, fertile crescent, Nile River Valley, Indus River Valley, Huang He Valley, and ancient Greece and  Rome. In year B, the cultures of North America before European contact, age of exploration, early American arrivals, European influence on early America, and beginnings of revolution.

Science: Students establish an appreciation for and solid understanding of general science and the natural world. A variety of texts and resources enhances classroom and outdoor learning. During year A, soil and decomposers, food webs, birds (Project Feeder Watch), plants and plant structures. During year B, simple machines, energy transfer and efficiency, electricity and magnetism, ecology, energy transfer in the ecosystem, nutrient cycles, mammals and tracking, amphibians and vernal pool, insects. Students research a question of the week and write a formal summary.

Math: Unlike the rest of the fifth-sixth combined study, the math curriculum does not alternate. The elementary series  "Mathematics" (McGraw-Hill/Glencoe) contains parallel chapters that deal with the same concept or skill at slightly different levels. For example, the grade five chapter on equations contains sections on addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division; the same chapter for grade six contains, in addition, integers, solving problems, and the introduction of the two-step formula. The parallel structure allows the teacher to instruct the whole class in the same concept and then work on the specific skills with each group during the second half of the class time. The upper school uses the same series of texts, so that scope and sequence align.

Fine Arts: The course activities and focus reflect the Social Studies focus. Students recreate myths, explore pictographs and petroglyphs, basketry, and other decorative arts. Their work with tribal art reinforces their study of customs and belief systems of native peoples. Students continue classical drawing in their sketch books.

Life Skills/Study Skills: This course promotes adjustment to middle school by discussing the issues of making new friends, dealing with a dress code, planning for homework time, studying for tests, and learning tolerance and appreciation for diversity. Two texts support this work: Creative Living (Glencoe) and Life Skills by Gilbert Botvin.