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Network of Sacred Heart Schools
Lower & Middle Schools

Middle School Curriculum

Rigorous and personally transformative, the curriculum for the Middle School is designed to form thoughtful leaders who can meet and embrace the challenges of living in the 21st century globalized world. Students are guided to become self-directed, self-advocating, independent learners who can work collaboratively as active participants in their learning journey. Instruction is geared towards promoting inquiry, critical thinking, and creativity in an inclusive learning environment that encourages each individual to thrive.

List of 9 items.

  • English

    GRADE 6
    Sixth-grade English provides the foundational study of grammar, vocabulary, critical thinking, literary analysis, and writing. Emphasis is placed on writing as a process which involves mechanics as well as evaluation, deliberation, and revision. The literature provides ample opportunity to begin learning analytical skills in age-appropriate works. Emphasis is placed on both the student’s academic growth and on ability to work well with her peers.

    GRADE 7
    Our seventh grade English curriculum stresses the development of writing skills, the refinement of language usage and style, and the comprehension and analysis of a variety of literary works. Throughout the course, critical thinking and analytical skills are honed and strengthened. Our analysis serves as a spring-board to the ongoing discussion of the students’ growing awareness of themselves in a greater society.

    GRADE 8
    The eighth grade course in English has as its primary goal the development of critical reading and writing skills in literature. The course heavily emphasizes reading comprehension, the analysis of literature and learning to write a critical essay. Literature is selected for both challenge and accessibility to the students. An essay writing rubric is taught and followed throughout the year to guide students through the rudiments of the critical essay. The course also includes a vocabulary program which emphasizes skills needed when encountering new words in the context of reading selections, with the special objective of increasing the students’ facility and comfort in dealing with abstract, conceptual vocabulary. The grammar component of the course stresses usage and aims to address those mechanics which students have not yet mastered in their own writing. While critical writing is stressed, opportunities for creative writing are included. Study skills necessary for the study of English are both taught and graded. Clear articulation and increased sophistication in the style and content of student speech are a constant emphasis.
  • Mathematics

    GRADE 6: MATH 6
    Based on the Singapore method of instruction, Math 6 is a hybrid course, designed to meet the needs of all students and with components of pre-algebra and geometry to provide the appropriate amount of challenge. The curriculum emphasizes multiple methods of solving problems, allowing students to access each lesson at various levels, and with an opportunity to pursue extension and challenge work. Because of its problem-based, critical thinking approach, all students benefit from hearing different perspectives from their peers. Math 6 is one of a three-year sequence.
    Developed through the College Preparatory Mathematics (CPM) program, students in Math 7 focus on solidifying their understanding of numbers and their relationships through a concept mastery framework. Students gain a deep understanding of of how and why math works through a concrete-to-pictorial-to-abstract approach, metacognitive reasoning, and the use of bar models. In this program, students are taught fewer concepts in greater depth in order to develop a solid conceptual foundation for problem solving. Math 7 is the second in a three-year sequence.
    Students in Algebra I will become proficient at solving equations and inequalities, graphing linear equations, and problem solving. Polynomials, quadratic equations, algebraic fractions, and systems of equations are concepts that will be introduced and practiced. Mastery of this course will provide an essential foundation for success in all future mathematics courses.


    Students in Math 8 will complete the course proficient at solving linear functions or systems using a graph, table, and equation, describe geometric transformations on a coordinate grid, represent and analyze data, find and interpret slope, graph linear and non-linear equations, use the Pythagorean Theorem to solve problems in two and three dimesions, apply exponential properties to solve problem, and apply geometric properties. Math 8 is the final in a three-year sequence.

    Algebra I course description noted above.

    In Geometry students will be introduced to the topics of plane, solid and analytic geometry, while continuing to use and extend,some of the concepts learned in algebra. Students will learn about angles, parallel lines, triangles and other types of polygons, congruence, similarity, circles, polyhedra, area and volume, coordinate geometry, and basic right triangle trigonometry.  Investigations and hands-on projects may be used to help students discover and use many geometric concepts formalized in the text.
  • Science

    GRADE 6: Earth Science
    This course focuses on the study of Earth Science, including geology, earthquakes, and meteorology.. Both basic and integrated process skills are enhanced to enable students to successfully conduct experiments, collect and analyze data, and effectively communicate results. Students support understanding of the Earth's geosystems by modeling the flow and energy and cycling of matter within, and among, different systems.

    GRADE 7: Life Science
    This course offers study in the area of biological topics, including anatomy, physiology, genetics, heredity, and neurology.A major theme of the year is the anatomical interaction of light with life systems and the scientist’s use of the electromagnetic spectrum as a tool to advance discovery. After exploring principles of light, students investigate different types of cells and their structure, function, and processes within a system using a microscope. Students delve into genetics and heredity, looking closely at DNA, as a foundation to explore how life has changed over time. The incorporation of neurology and cognitive learning allows students to better understand themselves as learners.

    GRADE 8: Physical Science
    8th grade science  focuses on Physical Science, with units of study on chemistry, motion, and astronomy. Students develop practices and build fundamental knowledge in chemistry and physics with units of study on matter and its interactions, forces and motion, and astronomy.  Students apply their knowledge in physics and chemistry to astronomy including a project on designing rockets. Class investigations to explore key concepts develop skills such as predicting outcomes, making careful observations, collecting and organizing data, and reaching appropriate conclusions based on evidence.  Personal responsibility, combined with collaboration and communication, are essential for student success.
  • Social Studies/History

    The Middle School History Department is dedicated to enriching students’ understanding of their world through the study of peoples and cultures who came before. The curriculum is grounded in:
    • Historical thinking and analysis
    • Critical writing and research
    • Real world application
    • Global citizenship


    Students learn about the earliest humans, the development of tools, the foraging way of life, agriculture, and the emergence of civilizations in Mesopotamia, Egypt, ancient Israel, the Indus River valley, China, and the Mediterranean basin. Students practice history as an interpretive discipline, investigate visual and written primary sources, and learn how to analyze multiple points of view, cite evidence from sources, and make claims in writing and speaking based on that evidence.

    In this course, students study the social, cultural, and technological changes that occurred in Europe, Africa, the Americas, and Asia (East, South, and Southwestern)  in the years CE 300-1750. Curriculum explores the growing economic interaction among civilizations as well as the exchange of ideas, beliefs, technologies, and commodities; the resulting growth of authority, the natural rights of human beings, and the divine right of kings; experimentalism in science; and the dogma of belief. Throughout, students are asked to consider how the ideas, systems, and beliefs they study in history class continue to influence their world today.

    This course begins with an intensive review of the major ideas, issues, and events that shaped the founding of the nation. In their study of this era, students will view American history through the lens of people who were trying—and are still trying—to fulfill the promise of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Central to study are themes of freedom, equality, and liberty and their changing definitions over time. Additionally, geography of place, movement, and region is explored, starting with the Atlantic seaboard and then American westward expansion and economic development, the Civil War and Reconstruction, and finally, industrialization.
  • Religion

    GRADE 6
    In this course, students focus their religious studies on the Old Testament, also known as the Hebrew Scriptures, with special emphasis given to the Book of Genesis. Students are encouraged to analyze the relevancy of these ancient texts with present society. Through reading the Old Testament, students will also gain an understanding that we are persons created in God’s image and that the Bible is a history of God’s merciful love. In addition, insights gained through the reading of Old Testament stories will be applied to the process of moral decision-making, thus helping students to learn to meet personal challenges with a clear and positive moral attitude.

    GRADE 7
    Seventh-grade religion focuses on the New Testament and the life of Jesus. Students are encouraged to gain an appreciation for the message and mystery of Christ and the development of the Christian scriptures. What the New Testament is, where it comes from, and what its purpose is will be primary themes. Gospel values will be explored and studied as a model for living a Christian way of life. In addition, students will be exposed to various forms of prayer, as well as given the opportunity to write and share their own prayers.

    GRADE 8
    The eighth-grade religion course offers students an opportunity to examine and deepen their faith lives through discussion, reflection, and an active and thoughtful questioning process. With a respect for all religious traditions and openness to the ideas of others, students explore the possibility of developing a real and personal relationship with God. In addition, students investigate and debate relevant moral and social issues within a Christian framework.
  • World Languages

    Middle School students may choose between FrenchLatinSpanish, or Mandarin, and will take their selected language throughout all three years. Language classes focus on the “five C’s” of language learning: Communication, Cultures, Comparisons, Communities, and Connections.
    Through a variety of engaging, meaningful, and fun classroom activities, assignments, and real-life projects, students have ample opportunities to develop each of these areas while also practicing each of the three modes of communication: interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational.
  • Fine Arts

    All sixth and seventh grade students participate in an engaging and inspiring fine arts rotation that includes a full semester of studio art and drama, and a year of music. Eighth grade students may choose to continue their study of the fine arts through our electives program.

    The art studio is a creative, indoor and outdoor space where students can actively immerse themselves in the wonderful world of art. The goal of the Visual Art program is to develop in students an understanding and enjoyment of art, craft, and design. Students use a wide variety of tools and techniques to explore work in two and three dimensions while they experiment with printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, photography, drawing, painting, and textiles. Students are exposed to traditional and historical artists, art in the local community and develop their visual literacy through on-going discussions about their own work and that of others. In middle school, emphasis is placed on connecting work in the art studio with areas of study across other academic disciplines. Students will also explore art outside the classroom through a field trip to a local museum. Throughout the year, students will awaken their imaginations and strengthen their skills of observation and self-expression.

    During their course of study, sixth and seventh grade students work to develop and fine tune a wide array of dramatic tools including body language, eye contact, facial expression, gesture, language, mask work, poise, tempo and voice. Exploration of the cultural, artistic and historical styles of African, Asian, Greek, Latino, Medieval and Shakespearean drama is incorporated. Students have ample opportunity to create, perform and respond to artistic work while reflecting upon their own personal connections to the arts. These explorations enhance creativity, improve self-esteem and develop collaborative work habits. Additionally, all middle school students have multiple performance opportunities each year.


    GRADE 6
    Sixth grade students have two course offerings based on their proficiency level: Beginning Band/Strings and Concert Band/Strings. For both classes, a commitment to participate for an entire year is required, as is participation in two performances throughout the year.

    • Beginning Band/Strings is offered for students who have little or no experience. This course teaches the student basic musicianship (including how to read music) through learning to play a string instrument. The instrument choices for strings include violin, viola, cello, and double bass. The instrument choices for band include flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, baritone horn (euphonium) and mallet percussion. Students will have the opportunity to perform music selected from a wide variety of genres.
    • Concert Band/Strings develops the skills of the musician with more experience and musicianship. Students with one or more years of experience on an instrument may sign up for this course.

    GRADE 7
    Seventh grade students have two course offerings based on their proficiency level: Seventh Grade Band/Strings and Symphonic Band/Strings.

    • In Seventh Grade Band/Strings, students continue to develop the skills of the experienced musician. It is the natural progression for students successfully completing 6th Grade Beginning Band/Strings. Students with one or more years of experience on an instrument may sign up for this course. Students will perform music selected from a wide variety of genres.
    • In Symphonic Band/Strings for students who have successfully completing 6th Grade Concert Band/Strings. Students with two or more years of experience on an instrument may sign up for this course.


    GRADE 6
    Sixth Grade Chorus is designed to be the introductory ensemble into the Middle School Chorus program, bringing together students with varying levels of choral experience. Emphasis is on building choral sound and proper vocal technique, along with focusing on individual musicianship and ensemble skills. The choral ensembles perform music representing a variety of styles and eras, while building the sense of community that is central to the Sacred Heart tradition. The goal of the program is to foster a love and appreciate for the arts, in the hope that our students will develop a desire to be lifelong musicians. Students commit to participate in this class for an entire year, as well as attend and participate in the winter and spring concerts.

    GRADE 7

    Seventh Grade Chorus course is designed to be the intermediate choir. It is the natural progression for students successfully completing Sixth Grade Chorus. Emphasis is on advanced repertoire in 3-4 parts. Progressive concepts of tone, vocal production, and choral sound are practiced and performed. The repertoire is diverse, representing a variety of styles and eras. Students commit to participate in this class for an entire year, as well as attend and participate in the winter and spring concerts.
  • Physical Education

    Development of the whole child is at the core of the values of a Sacred Heart education. Athletics at SHS are an integral part of the daily life of the school, and are designed to complement the work that takes place in the classroom. The Physical Education program is designed to develop skills, encourage personal responsibility and increase confidence in physical abilities while fostering social and emotional development through teamwork, commitment and fun. In the Middle School PE program, students will take part in a variety of individual and team sport units, including track/cross country, lacrosse, swimming, soccer, basketball, water polo, volleyball, racquet sports, flag football, baseball, and life fitness.

    Students wishing to participate in additional athletic activities are encouraged to join 
    LMS team sports.
  • Electives

    GRADE 8
    Eighth grade electives are unique learning experiences offered to students in their final year of middle school.  Electives are experiential learning opportunities, designed by faculty who often use these courses to share knowledge and interests outside of their recognized domain of expertise. Electives have both an experiential and an intellectual component, and culminate in a presentation of student learning that extends beyond the class itself.

    Past elective offerings have included:
    • Government Team/Model UN
    • Advanced Chorus
    • Creative Writing
    • Robotics
    • The (Visual) Art of Drama
    • Yearbook
    • Advanced Instrumental Ensembles
    • Murals as Social Justice
    • Introduction to Coding
    • One Act Play Production


List of 2 members.

Where Scholarship and Values Matter
Founded by the Society of the Sacred Heart, SHS is a Catholic, independent, co-ed day school for students in preschool through grade 12