“I remember my middle school years with a shudder. It was brutal. I see my own child’s experience in middle school as the exact opposite of mine. They are joyful, confident, and loving school. I could’t be happier.” Mother of a SMCDS fifth grade girl, 2014.
Fifth grade begins the formal introduction into our middle school, which spans grades 5-8. St. Michael’s recognizes that the transition to the middle years of education can represent a dramatic change for students coming from lower school, and we enthusiastically support and nurture the increase in responsibility and accountability, all while developing within each students a greater sense of self-awareness, self-esteem, and self-confidence.
Though no longer fully self-contained in a classroom with one core teacher, fifth graders are afforded the ease and simplicity of a home base for their English / language arts, history, and math instruction. The students then travel for five classes per week to a science lab and three times per week for language lessons in French or Spanish, with French being studied for a semester, and Spanish being studied for a semester.
Of course, rounding out the fifth grade educational experience are special subject area courses that meet one time per week – art, music, physical education, and technology. In addition, visual and performing arts electives are introduced. Students could find themselves in two offerings – each meeting two times per week – from among studio art, introduction to theater, beginning band, or chorus. Every fifth grade student is assigned an advisor to help guide him or her academically and socially during this important first year in middle school. A student’s advisor is also one of his or hers subject area teachers.