Whether our middle schoolers are chipping trails at a local park, testing the waters of the stream that crosses our campus, or traveling to Quebec with their fellow French students, you can rest assured that they are learning all the time. And we wouldn't have it any other way.
Each fall, every 6th grader is matched with a senior. Throughout the whole of the school year, these senior and 6th grade buddies meet weekly for planned activities and events, along the way forming relationships that in many cases last for years to come.
In an effort to reflect curricular themes and provide grade-level team-building events, 6th graders enjoy a two-day camp trip, 7th graders visit Mackinac Island, and 8th graders visit Washington, D.C. for several days to tour the city and come together in this culminating travel experience.
In the 7th and 8th grades, two-week-long units are woven into the English, science, and history curricula. Throughout students craft dramatic monologues, based on personal narratives, for performance; they perform scenes from Shakespeare's plays; they generate engaging and data-driven science presentations; and they prepare speeches and hold debates germane to their work exploring American history and the foundations of human civilizations.
The robotics program provides students hands-on experience with problem-solving by exposing them to the technical, team-work, and communication skills to build a robot. The middle school team competes in the FIRST Tech Challenge, which holds its competition in the fall.
Throughout the school year, Greenhills middle school students follow a schedule that contains 11 courses. Of these, there are five courses that meet every day, all year: English, foreign language, mathematics, science, and social studies/history.
Our modern and classical languages department offers four language options to our students: Chinese, Latin, French, and Spanish. Our Latin course explores Latin and Greek, their influence on modern languages, and their role in ancient history. Chinese, French, and Spanish are taught in full speaking immersion from the first day of school onward, and our students quickly develop robust conversational skills in each of these languages.
In order to fulfill our commitment to create a well-rounded liberal arts student experience--one that includes both STEAM and humanities classes--we offer a series of classes that meet on a rotating basis to serve as a companion to those that convene daily. Our fine and performing arts department offers music (band, jazz, orchestra, and choir) classes, as well as visual art and drama courses; our wellness department offers physical education and health courses; and our mathematics department offers computer science courses.
The 6th, 7th, and 8th grade teaching teams facilitate students' daily experience in each grade. These teachers convene once or twice each week to discuss student progress along with upcoming grade-wide activities and trips. We pair every student with an advisor, who serves as a point person for parents and students throughout the school year. We dedicate a portion of each day to advisory; on some days, students meet in advisory groups, while on others they may have free time, meet as a full grade, gather as a whole middle school, or convene as a whole school.
Each May, at an entirely student-emceed event, 8th graders present capstone projects generated in their English, science, and foundations of civilization courses. Students present Shakespeare scenes, memoir pieces, speeches, and Sustainability Action Projects (SAPs). Students develop their SAPs over the course of the second semester in their science classes, and past projects have included solar energy, animal preservation, and water quality.
Apart from academic classes, these activities offer students inclusive opportunities to connect with another group of peers and to take healthy risks by trying something new.
Our middle schoolers have many opportunities to branch out and learn something new. Activities may include: