Middle School Curriculum
Sandy Spring Friends Middle School encourages our students to challenge their hearts, minds, and bodies and take academic risks in an atmosphere of support and safety.At Sandy Spring Friends School, we believe in the development of academic skills through holistic, nurturing, and often non-traditional approaches. By creating a supportive environment, that encourages open and honest communication between educator and student, our students feel supported to take on academic risks. Additionally, the curriculum exposes and educates students to the many diverse cultures found within the wider community. Recognizing that experience shapes character, students are provided opportunities for leadership, artistic expression, athletic competition, meaningful community service, and extended field trips. Our students depart the Middle School with a strong collection of academic and life skills, taking the next step on a path towards the Upper School with confidence.
Our Humanities program combines English and Social Studies classes, allowing our teachers in both departments to build a collaborative and comprehensive curriculum that fosters the development of themes, essential questions, and writing and thinking skills. These efforts make the curriculum more relevant for students, and demonstrates the interconnectedness of the disciplines in life and society.
Our Middle School mathematics program helps students develop from concrete thinkers to understanding the abstract underpinnings of algebraic structures. Through their study, students stretch their minds by not only learning new topics and applying them, but by applying them in new situations. All our math courses are designed to develop thinking and problem-solving skills commonly utilized in adult life and to prepare students to pursue higher level math.
Middle School Science combines hands-on experience with discussion-based lectures and research techniques. Each year of Middle School, Science includes life, earth-atmospheric and physical sciences. Students perform experiments as they become familiar with scientific tools and methodology in a problem-solving environment. When possible, projects are integrated with other courses such as Humanities, Art, and Mathematics to increase student awareness of science relevance in other disciplines.
The Middle School Global Languages program focuses on two languages: French and Spanish. The program is both exploratory and preparatory, designed to pique student interest in language study and increase awareness of other languages and cultures. All levels are taught through cooperative games and interactive participation, and students use the iPad to create projects, visit language-learning websites, and read authentic materials in the target language.
Our Middle School provides a diverse and broad arts program, including music, movement, visual arts, drama, digital media arts, and weaving. Through participation in our arts program, students engage in an exploration of themselves, gain a outlet for creativity, build upon their unique skills and talents, and shine individually. In addition, students also learn valuable group skills by working collaboratively and cooperatively and appreciating the interdependence of group members and their individual talents.
Physical education and athletics play an integral part in the development of our Middle School students. All students are given the opportunity to participate and develop their abilities in order to maintain a lifelong affinity for exercise. With each experience, we encourage students to improve both their fitness and skill levels, while providing an environment that will foster a better sense of self. Learning and opportunities for play are offered through challenging and skill-building games and contests in both physical education and athletics.
Other Middle School Curriculum Highlights
- As part of an Advisory Group, students are matched with a faculty member who serve as a student advocate and offer guidance through the student’s challenges and successes.
- Community Service opportunities, which help our students learn to be contributing members of both their community and the world.
- Our School offers a variety of experiential learning opportunities , which provide meaningful, longer, and memorable experiences that are correlated to various aspects of the curriculum and build community.
- Our students have opportunities for Leadership, whether by serving on a committee or attending conferences related to peace, Quakerism, environmentalism and diversity.
- In the afternoon, students may choose to participate in Tutorial, Athletics, or an Elective.
- The Middle School provides Student Support Services to students, faculty, and families to assist students in acquiring the academic, social, and emotional skills needed for success.