In 7th and 8th grade, students have a separate floor and follow a separate schedule—one that addresses the particular needs of upper Middle School students. The 7th graders are assigned an advisor who remains with them through the end of 8th grade. Students meet with their advisory group each morning; this setting is a place for students to connect with peers and to think about their roles as individuals within a community. Advisors take the primary role in overseeing students’ academic, social, and emotional well-being.
During the academic day, students take classes in arts, English, a modern or classical language, math, science, and social studies. In each of these courses, teachers expect and encourage students to analyze beyond factual knowledge and to reach deeper understandings by asking how and why certain phenomena exist.
As students gain new insights in content knowledge, faculty are also intentionally teaching essential student skills, such as organizing materials, managing time, planning projects, collaborating with peers, and thinking critically. Beyond the classroom, various after-school clubs and musical ensembles provide stimulating extracurricular enrichment.
All 7th and 8th grade students take part in athletics for at least one hour four afternoons each week and during each season (fall, winter, and spring). Sidwell Friends offers a wide range of individual and team athletic options, most of which provide the opportunity for competitive games against other local schools. Practices occur during the school day, though when students have athletic competitions, they will likely not finish until after the school day ends.
Academic classes explicitly teach the Quaker values of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and stewardship, which are more generally infused in advisory lessons, service in the community, and off-campus learning. Sidwell Friends expects 8th graders to graduate from the Middle School with a well-developed sense of service, a strong understanding of and commitment to global citizenship, honed organizational and reasoning skills, and the confidence to let their lives speak.