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Upper School (5th - 8th Grade)

7th and 8th Grade

Welcome to 7th and 8th Grade

As the culmination of our program, seventh and eighth grades focus on developing the ability to engage in abstract thinking and synthesize and analyze complex issues. Upper school students participate in grade-based and mixed-age classes. The program is strongly project-based, with a focus on integrated, hands-on learning. Outdoor education, service learning, and advisory programs support students’ growth in study skills, organization, self-knowledge, resilience, and empathy. Upper schoolers act as mentors and leaders of the school community in clubs, on the playground, and with buddy classes.

Program Elements

List of 4 items.

  • Language Arts

    The language arts program works in concert with social studies to allow students to reflect deeply on what it means to be human. Frequent seminar style discussions allow us to enrich this understanding through shared insight, and the overall goal is to help students shift their thinking from literal to analytical comprehension. The writing curriculum addresses both creative and expository expression. Speaking and listening skills are developed through a variety of public speaking opportunities, from book talks to immersive simulations and debates.
  • Social Studies

    The 7th and 8th grade Social Studies curriculum is a two-year cycle that focuses on Asia and the United States. Throughout the two years, students are able to draw conclusions about the interlinking nature of culture, economy, society, geographical location, and government structures. Students develop their historical thinking skills like chronological reasoning, source analysis, and historical synthesis and argumentation. They apply these skills through project-based learning and authentic assessments like debates, Socratic Seminars, and research papers. Ultimately, students begin constructing a personal, intellectual framework on which to base an understanding of the major forces of human interaction.
  • Science

    Students become literate in the "Big Ideas" of earth, environmental, physical and life sciences. Application of the scientific method is used to discover scientific concepts firsthand and solve real-world problems. Units are designed to integrate with the humanities and math programs. For example, when American History is the social studies focus, science classes highlight the spirit of American ingenuity and innovation by building complex Rube Goldberg machines and studying the physics concepts involved.
  • Math

    Students build a strong mathematical foundation in the middle school, which includes the ability to successfully link computation skills, critical thinking and logic. Teachers provide differentiated math instruction, challenging students in pre-algebra, algebra, and statistics. Students are encouraged to seek out their peers in collaborative efforts to tackle challenging problems. We integrate math with other subjects when skills such as measuring, graphing, problem solving, or statistical analysis are useful, like measuring angles and distances when constructing catapults in science. Class time can also include hands-on mathematical games and puzzles that have been designed to revisit skills.

Essential Questions

Middle Schoolers are guided by Essential Questions such as:
  • “What does it mean to be the ‘Other’?”
  • “How does language influence our understanding?” and
  • “Which is mightier, the pen or the sword?”

Specialist Program

Spanish: four times per week

Visual Art, Drama, or Music: four periods per week (options include Drama, Band, Visual Art, Songwriting, Dance, Filmmaking, and Digital Arts)

Technology: integrated into the curriculum

PE: three times per week

Competitive sports offered: track and field, basketball, flag football, cross country

Current Parent

The teachers are conversant in the whole child, even to the degree of keeping up with technology trends of Eighth Graders.

Middle School Videos

Upper School Faculty

    • Joel Booth


    • Lauren Brody-Clarke

      Performing Arts

    • Jorge Diaz-Velez


    • Annie Gordon

      Learning Support

    • Sean How

      6th/7th/8th Math

    • Simon Kingsley

      5th/7th/8th Math

    • Stevie Lee


    • Stevie Lee


    • Hilary Levy

      Learning Support

    • Kate Mahoney

      7th Language Arts/8th Service Program/Director of Aftercare

    • Katherine Obertance

      5th/6th Language Arts

    • Jesse Pearson

      8th Language Arts/High School Placement

    • Kathy Piscioneri

      Visual Arts

    • Mo Poxon

      7th/8th Science

    • Nicole Rothschild

      5th/6th Science

    • Skyler Santos

      6th Math

    • Brittley Tringali

      5th/6th Social Studies

    • Katelyn Wellnitz

      7th/8th Social Studies

    • Carla Wilkins


    • Kurt Winterhalter


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.