Middle School Curriculum

Middle school is an exciting journey. Our faculty helps students feel safe during these critical years—comfortable to stretch and grow, both intellectually and socially. Small classes, together with assignments designed for diverse learning strengths, and a curriculum that stresses the process of learning, enable students to become self advocates and owners of their education.

Learn more about our philosophy of Intellectual Courage

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Our class size allows us to give personalized attention to each student, nurturing and challenging them simultaneously.

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Middle School students study math, science, Spanish, history, literature, cultures and geography in classes that are often linked across disciplines.

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An emphasis on the arts teaches students to express themselves in ways that build confidence and foster the habits of mind of artists.

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All Spanish language classes are taught in Spanish from the first day.

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As part of the 7th grade study of World War II, students recently conducted oral history interviews with local veterans and others who experienced the war. These stories were adapted into an original play, “Crates of Thunder,” by NWS Theater faculty, and performed by students from several grades at the Seattle Museum of Flight and multiple locations in England. This project involved at least three distinct generations working together and interwove four academic disciplines: Humanities and the Arts most particularly, but also Math and Science via the aviation components.

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Every 7th grader designs and builds a Rube Goldberg machine - an apparatus that performs a simple task in a very complicated fashion, usually including a chain reaction. Students display and demonstrate these machines at Northwest School’s Winterfest, the annual all-school celebration of science and math.

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Sixth graders build research and note taking skills and discover all of the choices they have in STEM fields during a two-week integrated science and Humanities unit. They chose a scientist or mathematician from ancient times to the present, gather research from several print and online databases, write an outline, complete a bibliography, and collaborate to write and perform a scene in which four people from diverse disciplines, time periods and nationalities sit down and converse over tea.

Requirements

Each year, students are enrolled in courses in every academic department: Math, Science, Humanities and Modern Languages.

In addition, students take two classes in the Arts at all times and one class in Physical Education.

All students participate in Environment, helping to clean and maintain the school under the supervision of faculty and senior students.