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MIDDLE SCHOOL

Core Curriculum 

Ursuline Academy’s Middle School (grades 6-8) offers a rigorous core curriculum in a warm and welcoming environment, motivating you to fully engage with friends and teachers in our culture of achievement. With guidance from our experienced faculty, you use technology through our One-to-One Laptop Program to learn and master our course of study, which includes mathematics, language arts, science, social studies, and theology. Our small class size and personalized approach to learning in an all-girls environment gives you the freedom to actively engage in academic lessons, express and develop your ideas, and experience personal and spiritual growth among classmates you trust and admire. Our core Middle School Curriculum prepares you academically, spiritually, and emotionally to excel in our challenging college-preparatory Upper School environment.

Language Arts
In Middle School Language Arts, you explore the elements of reading and writing in context to develop your unique ability to craft and respond to the written word. Using a student-centered approach, our curriculum focuses on grammar, vocabulary, literature, and written expression. Using a modified 21st century approach to Nancy Atwell’s Workshop method, you receive authentic instruction designed to bring out your inherent skills as a developing scholar and author in our Writer’s and Reader’s Workshop. The foundation of the workshop program lies in collaborative feedback through whole class discussions and one-on-one teacher conferences to refine your grammatical skills, writing techniques, and novel analysis. Each quarter culminates with the compilation and exhibition of your best work in a writing portfolio. Through the in-depth literary analysis of our Reader’s Workshop, you develop an appreciation for a variety of genres and build text-to-text, text-to-self, and text-to-world connections. Additionally, the curriculum emphasizes vocabulary and grammar instruction within the context of literature and writing, increasing your overall breadth and depth of reading, writing, and speaking skills, which are crucial for academic and real world success.

Mathematics
Our Middle School Math courses will help you enter the Upper School as an exceptionally confident mathematician. College preparatory offerings include Math 6 (grade 6), Pre-Algebra (grade 7), and Algebra (grade 8), and our accelerated offerings include Pre-Algebra (grade 6), Algebra (grade 7), and Honors Geometry (grade 8). Placement of students in accelerated tracks is determined by test outcomes in the spring. Our Middle School Teachers work to ensure you reach your fullest potential in mathematics and are confident in your mathematical abilities by teaching advanced concepts in a fun and interactive classroom setting. As you develop a strong vocabulary of signs, symbols, and origins in reading, writing, and discussions, our teachers emphasize problem solving, logical thinking, and organizational techniques that can be applied to real world situations. By integrating technology through your laptops, iPads®, and Smart Board®, you interact with abstract concepts in a practical way, increasing your aptitude for Advanced Mathematics, Science, and Engineering. Our Middle School Math Curriculum prepares you for academic success in our Upper School and higher level math achievement in college and beyond.

Science
Our Middle School Science Program emphasizes science process skills through the study of Life Science in grade 6, Physical Science in grade 7, and Earth and Space Science in grade 8 in an exciting, interactive environment. In our well-equipped Middle School Science Lab, you perform hands-on experiments while learning about scientific processes and run interactive problem solving activities, data spreadsheets, and graphs during experiments with the assistance of your laptop. By bringing science to life, you become an active learner, which enhances your interest in science-based fields and increases your confidence in mastering advanced scientific concepts in our Upper School courses. As a seventh grader, you complete and exhibit a science expo project with the support of local community members acting as judges and providing feedback on these projects, which gives you an opportunity to practice your budding public speaking skills. Our teachers use dynamic critical thinking and problem solving activities at all levels of science as you discuss how to approach problems in teams, devise a practical action plan, evaluate your performance and findings, and work collaboratively to complete group projects.

Social Studies
Middle School Social Studies explores a variety of topics from ancient civilizations to American history. Sixth grade students are immersed in the ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman cultures while seventh and eighth graders begin their journey by delving into the American colonies and end with an exploration of World War II. You experience history by analyzing and interpreting primary sources and reading historical literature, including Laurie Halse Anderson’s Fever and Elie Wiesel’s Night. Your laptop becomes an essential tool in your study of history in the development of PowerPoint® presentations, realistic museum brochures, and video documentaries. The Social Studies curriculum culminates with a National History Day research project, requiring you to become a historian as you use both primary and secondary sources, create an annotated bibliography, and write an academic research paper. Along with the study of the past, our teachers emphasize current events through the use of CNN Student News©. You emerge from the Middle School with an understanding of the past, as well as knowledge of the present, empowered to make history through acts of positive change and service.

Theology
Through study of the Old and New Testament, the Church, and the saints, our Middle School Theology Program examines the meaning of faith and its importance to you. By participating in and planning liturgies and prayer services specifically for the Middle School, you become more familiar with the powerful role of prayer in your daily life. Day-long class retreats combine prayer and reflection with relevant themes presented by the retreat directors, which gives you an opportunity to explore your spirituality more deeply. In addition to our in-depth Bible and Church study, our curriculum includes a spiritual study of Human Sexuality, based on the Middle School edition of Pope John Paul II’s program Theology of the Body, emphasizing self-respect and the consideration of God in decision-making. In keeping with our Serviam tradition, you complete individual service hours on projects and for organizations of your choice. Multiple service opportunities are available for your participation throughout the year.