Upper School (Grades 6, 7, and 8)
Upper School children prepare to transition from elementary to high school as challenges in the curriculum increase. Each student has a laptop computer to use in our wireless environment and at home. Organizational and study skills are emphasized as students learn to function more independently. Frequent small group work and oral presentations help students develop confidence, communication skills, and an appreciation for collaborative learning.
An increasingly departmentalized program begins in the Upper School. Each student is required to take courses in language arts, math, science, social studies, French or Spanish, art, music, health, shop, and physical education, During a weekly hour-long elective period, 6th, 7th and 8th grade students may choose to explore in small groups such areas as photography, cooking, yoga, archery, and special topics like science dissection, stone sculpture, and computer programming. Interscholastic teams compete in soccer, basketball, softball and lacrosse.
With increased independence and responsibility, students are given the opportunity to have a meaningful role in representing peers on school committees and representing the school in the larger world community. Every Upper School student also serves as a Big Friend to a child in the Lower School.
A variety of off-campus day trips provide an important complement to classroom learning. In addition, each grade has a multi-day, curriculum related trip. Sixth grade travels to Washington, DC for four days. Seventh graders spend four days in Virginia at the Chincoteague Bay Field Station (formerly known as the Wallops Island Marine Science Center) and eighth graders spend five days at Heifer Farm in Rutland, MA. International travel and hosting opportunities are offered with sister schools in Russia, Australia, India, Kenya, Ecuador, Hawaii, and China through our Joint Environmental Mission (JEM) program. These opportunities provide a global experience and perspective that is rare for young people in sixth, seventh, and eighth grades.