Middle School Curriculum
St Francis’s Middle School curriculum is underscored by cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead’s assertion that “Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.” We add in a community centered on being people for others and watch as our St. Francis students grow to see themselves as vehicles for positive change in the world.
- Visual and Performing Arts
- Guest Authors
- Summer Assignment Lists
- Physical Education/Athletics
The Middle School Mathematics Department strives to develop critical thinkers and problem solvers. Students grow in math skills, financial literacy (including participation in The Stock Market Game), and application of their knowledge to solve real-world problems using design thinking and engineering skills. Each grade level supplements textbook resources with computer-based programs. All students take Algebra I (a high school-level class) in eighth grade, and accelerated eighth graders will have the option to take Geometry.
At St. Francis, history is anything but the past! Middle School history enables students to become better global citizens by learning about and analyzing historical content and by focusing on 21st Century skills. Students create through multiple mediums and project-based learning, giving them ownership over the knowledge and skills they are refining.
Middle School science encourages awareness of the natural world through observation, inquiry, and experimentation. Students engage in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and 21st Century processing, including scientific creativity, experimental design, and application of principles across disciplines. Classes are inquiry-based and help students develop questions after an initial exploration to solve real-world problems. These investigations include the study of micro and macro Earth systems and ways to become the problem solvers of the future.
Spanish is taught at every grade level at St. Francis, beginning in the Primary School. Building upon their foundational instruction, Middle School students take Spanish as a core academic course, with special emphasis given to conversational usage, grammar, written composition, reading, listening comprehension, and culture. The National Spanish Exam is offered to seventh- and eighth-grade students. Many place into high school Spanish II and Spanish II Honors, and seventh graders may apply for the annual summer immersion trip to Costa Rica.
The St. Francis Fine Arts Department exists to provide students with access to the arts through creation, performance, and study. We believe that to be successful in the 21st Century, students must sharpen their observational and critical-thinking skills, cultivate their visual literacy, and develop a range of means for self-expression. The arts offer a universal language, encompassing all forms of communication and enabling students to express a variety of viewpoints and ideas through the visual arts, music, and theatre.
In the Anglican tradition (the worldwide fellowship of churches having their roots in and communion with the Church of England), the Episcopal Church is grounded in what is called the three-legged stool of scripture, the openness of free and rational inquiry, and tradition. At every grade level, students are engaged in a systematic study of the entire Bible as a piece of literature and are challenged to know God through a personal relationship of worship, love, and service. Middle School students take a religion class each year, with content based in Judeo-Christian history, but coverage includes various world religions as well.
Our Middle School students work toward the mastery of 21st century skills: critical thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration in literacy-rich classrooms supported by technology. Students explore nonfiction, poetry, and a wide range of fiction. They demonstrate their understanding of these texts in both written and oral form in essays, debates, and artistic performances.
Fostering a love for reading is one of the most important tasks educators undertake, and our St. Francis Crum Library and Technology Center
Each year, St. Francis welcomes storytellers and guest authors who bring with them a wealth of insight into the writing process and the writer’s life. Before these sessions, students have the opportunity to become familiar with the authors’ books. They can also purchase a book autographed by the author during the visit.
To avoid a potential regression in skills over the summer (known as the “summer slide”), we offer our Lower and Middle School students fun and engaging ways to build their independent reading skills. We add math to the mix for our Middle Schoolers to raise confidence levels and proficiency. This summer, we want to encourage students to pursue reading and math for enjoyment. The more independent and self-motivated students become, the more likely they are to develop into self-driven, lifelong learners.
Parents, you can find the summer assignments by logging into the Parent Portal and clicking on the Middle School section.
We offer a balanced physical education program that provides a laboratory within which children explore, meet both success and momentary failure, and learn about themselves and their capabilities. The Dynamic Physical Education (DPE) program offered to St. Francis Middle School students also emphasizes the values of health-related fitness. Students attend physical education class four times per week and enjoy a wide variety of activities presented in a well-structured manner.
Every sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade student who is interested in participating in athletics will be placed on teams. Students may sign up for three sports a year—one each in the fall, winter, and spring. St. Francis’s athletics programs comprise baseball, basketball, cross-country, field hockey, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track and field, volleyball, and wrestling. The number of student-athletes registered for a sport determines the number of teams—with most sports consisting of a varsity team and a junior varsity team.