In 7th and 8th grade, students are housed on a separate floor and follow a separate schedule to address the particular needs of upper middle school students. Seventh 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, students are expected and encouraged to analyze beyond factual knowledge and reach deeper understandings by asking how and why certain phenomena exist.
As students gain new insights in content knowledge, teachers are also intentionally developing 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 each afternoon (except on Friday) 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.
The Quaker values of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and stewardship are explicitly taught within academic classes and are more generally infused in advisory lessons, service in the community, and off-campus learning. We expect our 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.”