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Upper School (5th - 8th Grade)

5th and 6th Grade

Welcome to 5th and 6th Grade

The fifth and sixth grades support moving from concrete thinking into the abstract. Students build on the beginning research skills they have acquired, and apply them to long-term projects in science, language arts, and multi-cultural studies. The curriculum is inquiry-based, and Essential Questions are introduced throughout the students’ experience. Project-based learning, based on these questions, helps students become skilled and confident public speakers. In fifth and sixth grade, students participate in goal-setting and in parent-teacher conferences, a practice that continues in seventh and eighth grade. In fifth grade, students move away from the self-contained classroom of lower school, and have a departmentalized schedule.

Program Elements

List of 4 items.

  • Language Arts

    The language arts program combines reading, writing and word study and is guided by Essential Questions. Reader's Workshop, a methodology developed by Lucy Calkins at Columbia University, is used to guide our small, collaborative reading groups. Although writing is embedded throughout the curriculum, it is in Writer's Workshop that students focus on the craft of writing. Students write narrative pieces such as memoirs and short stories, and expository pieces such as persuasive paragraphs, essays, and poetry.
  • Social Studies

    Our classrooms make history come alive through active role-playing and meaningful simulations based on essential questions, such as:
    "What is the real definition of civilization?"

    The curriculum runs on a two-year rotation between studies of western civilization and an examination of early United States history. In the spring, individual research assignments link directly to the language arts program.
  • Science

    The science curriculum emphasizes critical thinking and problem-solving skills through the use of the scientific method. Students frequently perform experiments and build models and they are challenged to extrapolate what they have observed. Subjects include geology, earth science, and biology. We spend a great deal of time on environmental stewardship/environmental studies and how we are connected to the world, which also integrates into the history curriculum and Outdoor Education program.
  • Math

    Math classes emphasize the traditional strands of the math curriculum, which include multiplication, division, fractions, decimals, percents and geometry, while the Math Lab sessions allow for more open-ended problem solving. Students play math games and use mathematical manipulatives which allow them to see, touch, construct, and ultimately, arrive at mathematical solutions based on their discoveries.

The Mosaic Project

Every year the fifth graders attend the Mosaic Outdoor School in the Santa Cruz mountains. The Mosaic Project brings together students from three schools that differ socioeconomically. The social-emotional curriculum is
designed to build self-esteem, address issues of difference, and promote inclusion while building new friendships.

Specialist Program

Library: once per week

Art: twice per week

Spanish: three times per week

PE: three times per week

Music: twice per week

Technology: twice per week

Drama: once per week

Giving Potluck

An annual community service event facilitated by our fourth and fifth grade students, the Giving Potluck:
  • honors our mission of fostering community and developing a social conscience
  • empowers students to make a difference
  • donates proceeds to non-profit organizations researched and chosen by students

Current Parent

At this school, our kids are encouraged to be scholars, athletes, artists, collaborators and leaders, in their own time and in their own way.

5th/6th Videos

Upper School Faculty

    • Joel Booth


    • Lauren Brody-Clarke

      Performing Arts

    • Jorge Diaz-Velez


    • Annie Gordon

      Learning Support

    • Desiree Goyette-Bogas


    • Wyatt Griffiths

      Social Studies/PE

    • Sean How


    • Stevie Lee


    • Hilary Levy

      Learning Support

    • Katherine Obertance

      5th/6th Language Arts

    • Kathy Piscioneri

      Visual Arts

    • Jesse Pearson

      8th Language Arts/High School Placement

    • Mo Poxon

      7th/8th Science

    • Nicole Rothschild

      5th/6th Science

    • Skyler Santos


    • Katelyn Wellnitz

      7th Math/Language Arts

    • Carla Wilkins


    • Kendall Young

      7th/8th Social Studies

Non-discrimination policy: We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, nationality, ethnic origin, gender, gender identification, disability or other category protected by law.