Program : Middle School : Other Features
As a Middle School student, you have many opportunities to expand your horizons beyond the academic classroom. Here are a few.
Advisory program: [top]
During Middle School advisor time small groups of students get to know one another and their advisor through hearty
discussion, service projects, conversations about character and ethics, and problem-solving activities.
The goals of the advisory program are to:
Support and enhance academic success
Promote improved peer relationships
Enable teachers to know students well
Nurture service-oriented thinking and acting
All Middle School students participate in interscholastic sports, including soccer,
basketball, volleyball, swimming, and ultimate frisbee.
Ethics class [top]
Students in Grade 8 take part in a class on ethics, led by a member of the Board of
Trustees, who is a trained facilitator in the field of ethics. The curriculum grows out of the Institute for
Global Ethics. In this class students learn about making choices and how those choices impact
others. They discuss and develop shared core values and establish a class code of ethics. They learn a variety of ways to
determine right from wrong and consider the need for moral courage in today’s society. Our students learn to think and act
based upon values and reasoning. Participation in this class leads students towards meaningful leadership roles in Middle School and beyond.
Every four or five weeks Middle School students come together for Forum, a program designed to
broaden their view of the world and enrich their learning. When appropriate, Lower School students attend as well. Forum generally occurs
once every four or five weeks. A few of the participants in the program over the last 3 years have included:
Andy Young, a Chicago-area performer of Irish music
Alistair Willis, a symphony orchestra conductor
Fern Davye, a nationally recognized performer of poetry
Maggie Pelton, a former dancer with the Alvin Ailey Dance Company
a brass quintet from the Elgin Symphony Orchestra
the Kenyon College Chamber Singers
story teller Oba Williams King
a high school music student
current parents who shared about Muslim and Hindu traditions
editorial cartoonist Roger Schillerstrom
several environmental education speakers
The speaker series has included presenters from service organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, the Heifer Project, Canine
Assistants, and Humanitarian Services Projects. Students and teachers also make special presentation during Forum time.
Students in Kindergarten through Grade 8 learn Spanish. They have class twice each week through
Grade 5, three times per week in Grade 6 and daily in Grades 7 and 8. The Middle School Spanish program is designed to prepare students to enter
a high school Spanish 2 program.
During their years of Spanish study students engage in a variety of class activities that incorporate all four areas of communication;
reading, listening, writing and speaking. Students are also exposed the cultures of Spanish-speaking countries through videos, magazines,
projects and literature. There is an emphasis on the joy of learning about other cultures and new ways to communicate.
Study skills [top]
“The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled.” (Plutarch)
Study skills are the fire that kindles the knowledge that is already inside of you. By studying the correct way, using critical thinking,
and breaking down what you are learning, you can learn anything and enjoy doing it! Sixth graders have a regularly scheduled class where
the focus is on study skills in the context of the Middle School curriculum.
Middle School students have some special travel opportunities. The school year starts with a
leadership trip at a camp in Michigan. Field trips take place throughout the year. In June students have a culminating experience that is linked
to curriculum. These trips have included visits to Washington, D.C., and a trip to Costa Rica’s rain forest.
Work program [top]
Middle school students develop a sense of ownership, responsibility, and self-motivation by
taking part in regular, brief work program sessions. Advisor groups work together to improve the campus environment by doing such tasks as running
the campus recycling program, helping preschool and kindergarten at lunch time, and doing some outside yard work. Students take pride in
their school and in contributing to a sense of community.