Academics » Middle School (6-8)

Middle School (6-8)


Middle School (Grades 6-8)
 
Teachers on the junior high level specialize in their own disciplines. Students are presented with an academically rigorous program designed to prepare them for High School and beyond. The goal is for students to be confident, to take ownership of their own learning, and to be equipped with the skills needed to be successful in the 21st century. Technology is used to supplement as well as transform and improve the learning process. Students benefit from lessons that are dynamic and experiential, and blend various learning styles. Junior high is also a pivotal time for social and emotional growth. Teachers facilitate the transformation of young girls into independent and compassionate role models. The ultimate goal is to graduate young women who have a sense of stewardship and are empowered to take on leadership roles in their communities.

What are we learning?

Mathematics
Math at Notre Dame is alive, interactive, and innovative. The focus is on building math confidence as students develop critical strategies they need to use when solving problems. Students work collaboratively on exciting practical applications and explore various levels of STEM activities as they hone skills necessary for deep conceptual understanding. They are engaged in realistic applications of mathematics through project based learning which include situations such as purchasing their first car, modifying blueprints for a shopping mall, and creating mathematically proportioned scale drawings from actual measurements. Students learn that math requires dedication and concentration, but that the path towards understanding can be filled with joy and magic and has infinite possibilities. Capable 8th grade students are offered the opportunity to participate in the NYS Algebra I 9th grade Regents course and exam.

Language Arts
Our Language Arts course is designed to foster the love of literature. This course emphasizes advanced skills in reading, writing, speaking, and presenting. The development of critical reading and writing skills is achieved as we explore various literary genres. There is a strong emphasis on grammar, vocabulary, and composition skills. Students discover ways to take a critical approach to reading and writing as they connect the meanings of texts. Literature study and detailed composition go hand in hand as the girls learn to showcase their knowledge of the written word. This instruction provides our students with sophisticated techniques for success in writing on a higher level. Independent thinking will be fostered through logical and insightful analysis of critical works and classic literature. It is our goal that the characters we encounter during our reading experiences tend to remain in our hearts throughout our lives.

Social Studies
Our social studies program transforms middle school social studies classes into multi-faceted learning experiences. The lessons start with a big idea — the Essential Question — and incorporate note taking, group work, and step-by-step discovery. Students are engaged in lively town meetings, political debates, archaeological excavations, cave explorations, and much more. With the focus maintained on the student, instruction taps into a variety of learning styles, allowing students of all abilities to learn and succeed.

Beginning with the history of the human story, students explore the great early civilizations of Egypt, India, China, Greece, and Rome. They discover the secrets of these ancient cultures that continue to influence the modern world. Continuing with the story of the United States from the pre-colonial era to the 21st century, students begin to understand the intricacies of the social world and how the United States has developed into an influential country in today’s world.

Science
The goal of the junior high science program is to instill in students a love of science through engaging, inquiry-based activities and lessons in biology, human anatomy, physics, engineering, chemistry, and earth science. Laboratory activities might include observing cells under a microscope, dissecting organisms, observing cellular respiration in yeast cells, applying physics topics to engineering challenges, observing and collecting data from chemical reactions, gathering and analyzing astronomical, meteorological, and geological data, and discovering the unique geology of Staten Island. Students are continuously challenged to think critically, develop controlled experiments, and analyze scientific data as they explore real world science. Capable 8th grade students are offered the opportunity to participate in the NYS Earth Science Regents course and exam.