Academics

Middle School

So often “too big” for the elementary model, yet “too young” for the faster pace of the traditional junior high, fourth and fifth graders benefit from a special community of their own in which to learn, take risks, grow, and play. Experienced teachers who understand the unique needs of “middle childhood” can make all the difference in the way these emerging scholars view themselves and the world around them.

The Middle School (Grades 4 & 5) experience at CDS is designed to foster curiosity, develop strong habits of mind and character, and build empathy and compassion for others. The challenging yet nurturing environment of this division provides students opportunities to explore a variety of academic offerings, technology, physical education, music, art, drama, community service, and leadership roles. These efforts are facilitated by an exceptional family of experienced and caring educators, supportive parents, and enthusiastic students.

In their first year of Middle School, fourth graders begin to “move” between four core academic subjects: Integrated Language Arts, Social Studies, Mathematics, and Science (Life, Physical, & Earth). Emphasis in the first year of Middle School is placed on organizational skills, and our unique advisory program teaches students how to use a planner, organize their after-school time, and ask questions in classes. As students begin to explore the digital world in greater depth, our Communication courses help them understand the value of digital citizenship and the importance of online safety.
 
In fifth grade, students continue to pursue the same core subjects, but the emphasis turns to leadership and developing self-confidence. To this end, fifth graders speak at Lower School Morning Meetings, organize community-building events, and pursue individual Genius Hour research projects on a topic of personal interest.

Spanish, Percussion Ensemble, Movement, Communication, Financial Literacy, Choir, and Education for Sustainability - along with regular recess periods, lunch, and daily Physical Education - round out the students’ schedules. In mid-September, our fourth and fifth graders enjoy the annual trip to Camp Bernie YMCA for team-building activities like low ropes courses, group challenges, and sensory trail hikes. Field trips throughout the year to local museums, pottery studios, and theater productions encourage students to make connections between their classwork and the “real” world around them.
 
Who am I? Who do I want to be? and How am I going to make this world a better place?