Middle School (Grades 6 – 8)
Our faculty and administration work closely with each student to facilitate a smooth transition from Elementary School to Middle School, a vital time of self-discovery and personal development. Core Judaic and General Studies subjects are tracked, enabling each student to realize his or her greatest potential. The program devotes equal weight to Judaic and General Studies, with scheduled time each week for physical education, art, computers and Hebrew language. We integrate technology throughout the Middle School program to enhance our students’ knowledge and equip them with the tools necessary to become 21st-century learners. A wide choice of electives, including art, graphic design, kosher cooking, creative writing, and fitness, enables students to focus on specialized areas of interest to them. (Elective offerings very per trimester.) Students round out their educational experience with a variety of extracurricular activities, including student council, boys’ basketball, after-school art and yearbook. The Politz Middle School experience helps students acquire the discipline, self-confidence and life skills they will need to prepare for high school and beyond.
Students make sense of their worlds, both academic and personal, by reading, writing, listening and speaking. The Language Arts curriculum sets out to help them develop language fluency, not only during their school years, but also for lifelong learning and enjoyment. The focus of these courses is to build upon the basic skills previously acquired and ask students to think analytically about what they read and write. During class discussions, students are challenged with advanced questions to help them develop into critical readers and thinkers. They learn how to dig deeper into a text to enhance their understanding and how to craft well-written responses that justify their thoughts and interpretations. Mastery of the R.A.C.E. method (Restate-Answer-Cite-Explain) enables students to provide textual evidence to support their thoughts. In-class writing workshops and mini-lessons emphasize the importance of utilizing the steps of the Writing Process to create richer final products. Building a solid suite of writing fundamentals through studying Greek and Latin roots, analyzing words in context and examining sentence structure helps in the development of strong writers. They refine their digital literacy skills by using a variety of online tools. For all students, the fundamental objective is to evolve into capable and confident communicators who can express their own voices, opinions and knowledge with conviction and expertise.
The Social Studies curriculum inspires students to respect different peoples and cultures as the global community becomes ever-smaller and an understanding of the world around us becomes increasingly critical. As they become well-rounded historians and informed citizens, they analyze data, interpret maps, write essays, apply new connections to the real world, and investigate cause and effect by surveying historical events. Sixth grade world geography gives students the tools necessary to connect to the world and its many cultures. They build bridges between past, present and future and fully grasp the complexity of modern society. Seventh and eighth grade students study all aspects of the American government, beginning with the early colonies and continuing through advanced study of the rights and responsibilities of various contemporary social groups. They realize the essential power of informed citizens and understand the opportunities they have to shape their community and the world. The use of personal analogies in class brings forth meaningful connections to the world and helps students understand how and why events have occurred throughout history.
As a universal language, mathematics provides our lives with order, prevents chaos and nurtures our power of reasoning, creativity, abstract thinking and even effective communication skills. Our Math program endeavors to create a bridge between core concepts and the abstract thinking required for algebra; and to provide opportunities for students to tap into their natural curiosity and enthusiasm. Embracing the idea that math involves reasoning and problem-solving skills to foster curiosity, perseverance and attention to detail, the sixth grade course strives to strengthen and extend work with integers, fractions, decimals, percentages and geometry. This establishes a solid foundation for the abstract language and mechanics required for our seventh grade pre-algebra course. In pre-algebra, students continue to develop an appreciation for the aesthetics of math, with special emphasis placed on the process used to solve problems rather than on the answer itself. In eighth grade Algebra I, students are exposed to material that both interests and challenges them while using real-life applications to make the learning more relevant. Upon advancement from Middle School, students have developed a strong foundation for algebra, competency in using a variety of problem-solving techniques and assessing the logic and effectiveness of solutions.
Science influences almost every aspect of our lives, from food and energy to medicine, transportation and recreation. It improves human life at every level, from individual comfort to global concerns. Our Science curriculum encompasses multiple disciplines including biology, chemistry, physics, earth science, environmental science and astronomy. Inquiry-based activities comprise the majority of class time in our standards and laboratory-based program. Critical thinking, data organization and use of the scientific method are stressed through every activity. Both long-term and short-term student-driven projects enable the students to integrate all aspects of science into their personal lives. Students use iPads to create slow-motion videos and take close-up photographs through microscopes to make the learning experience rich and relevant.
Humanities is a two-year, team-taught course for Grades 7 and 8 that aims to inspire a love of history, culture, literature, and writing while cultivating independent thinkers and writers. Students learn to respect others’ thoughts and opinions while forming and defending their own points of view. The course features a project-based curriculum that allows students to actively engage with the content while creating real-world solutions to problems and issues of the time period of study.