Academics in the Middle School
Rigorous and relevant – students are presented with a thoughtful and challenging program which emphasizes real-world connections. Chase’s tradition of academic rigor has been re-imagined for the 21st century.
We set the bar high for our students with an exceptionally well designed program taught by incredibly talented teachers. By focusing on both content acquisition and skill development, we prepare our students for their high school years, and life beyond. Our teachers are not only masters of the material covered in classes, but experts in delivering this content in meaningful, dynamic, and enjoyable ways. Great pride is taken by the faculty on finding connections between what is being taught and why it is important for the students to know this. Tangible, real-life connections bring the material vividly to life and stoke the intellectual curiosity of our students. Innovation and design thinking are introduced to students as a way to encourage creativity and develop solutions to problems.
Walk through the Middle School before or after school or during free periods and you will see teachers and students engaged in lively conversations about any host of topics, not because it’s curriculum, but because it is the culture.
History Teacher and Department Chair, Ernie Beaulieu, meets with 8th graders to discuss their Modern Ages through Film project
Sixth grade is a milestone year, filled with growth and promise. Our students thrive in our vibrant and welcoming community. As the academic rigor increases, they build solid organizational and study skills. They develop proficiencies in all areas, including research, problem solving, and public speaking---one of the hallmarks of a Chase education.
All of our students take part in an on-campus orientation, as well as a field trip that promotes team-building activities through group games, engaging conversations, and challenging low and high-ropes courses. Our students forge a strong connection and cohesion as a class, and learn the power of collaboration.
As our sixth graders make strides in gaining independence, they are given the opportunity to choose co-curricular electives that individualize their schedules. Our exceptional sixth-grade teachers focus on project-based learning and skill-building to provide each student with the foundation necessary for academic success---and achieving their own personal best. The sixth grade curriculum includes:
- Math in the sixth grade uses the Singapore math methodology – an approach that focuses on a three steps process (concrete, pictorial, and abstract) to strengthen and ensure mastery of both content and skill. Our students become proficient in both the understanding and application of mathematical concepts.
- Integrated Studies combines the study of ancient civilizations through the Global Studies curriculum, along with literature, reading, composition, grammar, and synthesizing in Language Arts. Great emphasis is placed on our students’ development of research and presentation skills, as they tackle global topics and issues to become citizens of the world.
- Science curriculum at Chase covers a wide variety of topics, including environmental differences between biomes, the structure and function of cells, genetics, the human body, and a study of evolutionary changes from sponges to mammals. Hands-on labs and activities support our students’ learning and give it a vital, tangible dimension. Our science curriculum weaves together research and public speaking, current events, and an experimentally based science fair project requiring research, data collection, and the graphing and presentation of learned material.
- Learning Strategies Workshop (LSW) underscores the focus on learning how to learn. Our students develop aptitude and mastery of a wide variety of academic skills including: essay-writing, public speaking, effective research, and organizational techniques.
- Latin emphasizes a connection with the roots of the English language through the exploration of the Latin and the Roman culture. Students study grammar and syntax, which strengthens their own vocabulary and lexicon.
- Science – new course coming soon.
With the transition to seventh grade, our students are presented with inspiring new challenges and a stronger sense of accountability.
Our seventh graders widen their horizons by taking on new experiences and risks, both in the classroom and within the school community. They assume more of a leadership role and become the stewards for the arriving sixth grade class.
The school year kicks off with a two-day overnight field trip in which our students and teachers explore team challenges, work on decision-making and leadership skills, and deepen relationships and friendships. It is a formative experience that creates lasting memories.
The core academic subjects in the seventh grade are:
- English, which is reading, writing, and critical-thinking intensive. Our students explore many books and novels—scrutinizing plots, exploring character analysis, and seeking meaningful connections. Each of our seventh graders also participates in an incredibly well-designed process to deliver two Declamations during the year, which are delivered to the community at large. Declamations are a longstanding tradition at Chase, and instill confidence and leadership in our students.
- Math is divided into two Math 7 and Enriched Math, to best meet our students’ levels. Both sections study and incorporate project-based-learning on topics such as the Fibonacci sequence and geometric analysis. Great emphasis is placed on creating connections between content in the class and its applicability to the real-world, engaging and motivating our students.
- Latin, French, or Spanish are choices that our students have in terms of language study. The seventh and eighth grade years will constitute one year of high-school level study. Each language is presented in the rich context of its culture.
- Earth Science is the second of three Middle School lab sciences. Our students explore local topography and geology, while also broadening their scope worldwide. The course involves a heavy focus on engaging laboratory investigations and experimentation.
- Global Studies II builds off of the curriculum from the 6th grade. Our students dig deep into the cultures, economies, and traditions of societies around the world. Sparked by this study, our students produce dynamic projects which instill global understanding and awareness, in keeping with the demands of the 21st century.
Our eighth graders act as strong leaders and role models of the community.
Much is expected of our eighth graders and they consistently rise to meet this challenge, with the support and guidance from the teachers. Our eighth graders exemplify confidence and leadership in our Student Council, and as captains of our athletic teams. They also serve as the stewards of the Middle School student population.
Their areas of study include:
- Foundations of Algebra and Algebra are the two math courses that are offered. Our eighth graders in the Foundations class build a concrete foundation that will prepare them to thrive in a ninth grade Algebra course. The Algebra class is a high school level section in which students explore a more demanding curriculum.
- English for our eighth graders includes targeted emphasis on a myriad of writing styles, and the reading of literary classics such as “Romeo and Juliet” and “To Kill a Mockingbird,” as well as more contemporary pieces. Our students again deliver two Declamations with spirited and compelling presentation styles. The first style is via a TedTalk format and the second is through a classic, creative storytelling approach.
- U.S. History would not be complete without the cherished Chase tradition of our 8th grade trip to Washington D.C. Our students serve as docents during the trip, explaining the various historical people, places, and events to the class. They make consequential and memorable connections between the real world and the classroom. This experience is emblematic of the course that focuses on providing meaningful associations between history and current day conditions.
- Physical Science is predicated on our students creating structures, vehicles, and inventive contraptions. Our students discover the concepts of physical science through intriguing laboratory experiments and project-based learning. The majority of time is spent in the lab because our students learn best by doing, instead of simply being presented with information.
- Latin, French, or Spanish continues from the 7th grade, in the same lively fashion, in which our students gain a true taste of the different cultures. Our students become more proficient with the speaking, reading, and writing of the languages, as there is greater focus on comprehension and communication.