Middle School Curriculum

7th grade students working on a science project

The middle school years begin a new era in a child's journey to adulthood. It is when they become invested in their identities. They seek control over their lives. They yearn for autonomy. 

And yet, as they exert their independence, they seek belonging and peer connections. They become hyper-aware of friends, their appearance, their social realm. We understand this sensitive age. We embrace everything middle school students bring to our community. We see and appreciate them.

At Kirby, our program is based on current educational and neurological research. It is designed to be adjusted to fit the needs and interests of each child. Your child can take classes based on their ability, not the class we happen to offer for their grade level. Our curriculum supports growth in core academics as well as cultivates capacity for listening, empathy, and respectful communication. We will challenge each student, not overwhelm them.

We go beyond helping our younger learners discover their intellectual capacity. We cultivate their life-skills, their self and relational-awareness, and their ability to make healthy choices--all of which are essential to succeed in a rigorous college prep environment and life.

Strong Educational Foundation

Middle school students build their educational foundation with courses in English, history, mathematics, science, world language, and the arts, and develop mind-body awareness through the Social Emotional Learning and Physical Health (SELPH) and athletics programs. Homework averages 1½ to 2 hours per night. 6th graders take their courses as pass/fail without letter grades, though they receive significant feedback on their performance in the form of standards-based grading, which is individualized by the teacher of each of their classes. In 7th grade, students may begin taking high school-level foreign language and mathematics.

Developmentally appropriate transition period

Our combined middle and high school campus is a cohesive space that provides a safe environment in which to foster cross-grade relationships and peer-to-peer mentoring. 

There are many classes in which you might find 7th and 11th grade students working side by side on the same problem. Middle school students are inspired by the focus and engagement of the older students, while high school students straddle the role of learner and mentor, which improves their focus and comportment.  

We encourage our middle school students to explore their creative, intellectual and physical potential in a playful and supportive environment. This is achieved through ample mentorship, supportive staff, and an educational foundation that fosters the development of intellectual and creative capacity, mind-body awareness, critical-thinking, problem solving skills and how to work effectively--both independently and in groups. 

Skills needed to succeed in college prep environment

To succeed in a rigorous college preparatory environment, students need to develop solid study skills. Sixth through eighth grade students receive embedded study skills training in all classes.

The middle school study skills training breaks down the various skills into organization and time management, planning, note-taking techniques, and test-taking strategies. Self-advocacy is also developed with frequent opportunities for leadership roles. Students are frequently invited into increasingly complex academic challenges with positive reinforcement through scaffolding and regular feedback.

Curriculum Catalog

"In inculcating a community of respect and open dialogue in my classroom, I need to model the citizenship and comportment that I expect of my students, which keeps my community compass true."

Dr. Jason Brooks, Humanities Faculty