Academic Experience

Immerse Yourself in Our Curriculum

The middle and high school years are ones in which students are forming their authentic selves. As a result, some bright students downplay their intelligence in order to blend in. Here, you will see life as an intellectual adventure and proudly shine under the academic spotlight. Athenians are explorers; you will discover uncharted territory in and out of the classroom, seeking out new approaches and perspectives. Starting 6th grade with a class of all new students, you will get to take PE, art, and language classes every day on our beautiful campus. Friday Focus Days offer interdisciplinary experiences while opportunities to take math and language classes based on readiness rather than grade level ensure every student is challenged academically.

English

You will explore a diverse range of literature while discovering your voice in English classes that are designed to complement the Social Studies curriculum. As you study the Pacific Rim in 6th grade Social Studies, for example, you will read novels in your English class set in the Pacific Rim with related themes. In addition to exploring literature, you will begin to unpack the writing process, learning to draft and revise so you can clearly and concisely communicate your ideas. You will practice English grammar, writing conventions, spelling, vocabulary, and editing. The English curriculum incorporates personal growth as well. You will learn basic study skills such as binder organization, note taking strategies, and daily planner use.

Social Studies

By studying groups and peoples from around the world, you will come to understand societies through the framework of culture, economy, and politics. You will journey through a series of historical and geographic regions, starting far away and long ago and moving closer in time and space—the Pacific Rim in 6th grade, Western Civilization in 7th grade, and American Studies in 8th grade. You will learn how and why civilizations change over time. By integrating social studies with English and art, you will understand the interrelatedness of our world in a way that sticks with you throughout your life.

Math

Math is the doorway to logical reasoning and the science of structure. Your math classes in the Middle School are designed to build and demonstrate mastery, develop your critical thinking skills, and instill confidence in your math ability. You will apply the skills learned in textbooks to real-life situations. For example, you will discover how to find the best deal when shopping by visiting a grocery store and calculating the actual price of different items.

Middle School math classes include: Math Fundamentals, Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Advanced Algebra, Geometry. Some students have the opportunity to take advanced math classes in the Upper School.

Science

Become a scientist! You will master the scientific process by asking questions, gathering information, making hypotheses, conducting experiments, observing, recording, and sharing your results. As you explore astronomy, earth sciences, life science, and physical science, you will apply your knowledge by creating real biomes in groups, researching and writing a comprehensive pollution paper, and competing in Newtonian Olympics.

World Languages

Learning multiple languages is an essential way to develop a global understanding of cultures and people, increase your perceptiveness, improve your decision-making abilities, and strengthen your mastery of English. In your study of Spanish, French, or Mandarin, you will practice the "five standards" of language study—oral comprehension, speaking, reading, writing, and cultural awareness. In addition to role-playing, storytelling, music, games, written exercises and reading, you will explore cultural, religious, and ethnic traditions to expand your understanding of the world. In the 7th grade, you may have the opportunity to go on a language immersion trip to a Spanish, French, or Mandarin-speaking country. Most students develop sufficient mastery to place into the 2nd year of language classes in the Upper School.

Arts

Our fine arts department instills confidence and conviction and rewards students who are willing to take risks, make mistakes, and try again. Our emphasis in the Middle School is to enable you and your classmates to feel confident and successful in your creative efforts. Often supporting English, social studies, and math classes, we invite your imagination to take over in your art projects.

Physical Education

Every day in P.E., you'll learn about and play different group sports from around the world while practicing teamwork and good sportsmanship. You'll learn about nutrition and anatomy as you increase your strength and endurance. We hope you will discover fitness as a source of well-being and enjoyment for you throughout your life. 

In P.E., you will play soccer, basketball, softball/baseball, badminton, team handball, Australian rules football, kickball, frisbee, water polo, lacrosse, flag football, and volleyball. You will also swim and dance and do yoga and circuit and cardiovascular training. 

Electives

In addition to your required courses, you have the opportunity each year to take up to six different electives of your choice. Between sports, arts, music, games, study halls, and community service, there's something for everyone. 

Examples of recent electives: Graffiti art, video production, leadership, quiet study-halls, subject-specific study-halls, table tennis, football, basketball, robotics, engineering.