Fifth through eighth grade students grow and learn on the St. Francis Xavier Campus with the help of a rich and sophisticated curriculum in the Middle School. Fifth grade serves as a bridge year that incorporates appropriate elements of both our Elementary and Middle School frameworks. Each student is issued an iPad, and additional tech tools including 3D printers, SMART Boards and online resources are used frequently and across the curriculum.
Novel studies and independent reading play a sizable role in reading instruction. Students share learning through group and class discussions, complete multimedia activities on their laptops, and write recommendations and book reviews on sites such as Goodreads.com. A specialist devoted to the Middle School aids in mechanics, editing, and grammar. The core math program is McDougal Littell, and seventh and eighth graders who qualify are invited to enroll locally in an honors tracking for math, or alternately in a Loyola Academy Talented Math Program that meets each morning on Loyola’s campus.
The Religious Education curriculum develops an intellectual grasp of doctrine according to age level and maturity, and fosters prayer and the development of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The Middle School science teacher meets with students in a dedicated science lab. All students participate in the annual science fair, which teaches students to hypothesize, manipulate variables, interpret data, and identify and present findings using laptops and SMARTBoard technology.
A Humanities block integrates Social Studies with Language Arts and Reading to explore common themes and maximize concept mastery. Sixth through eighth graders study Latin, a gateway romance language for soon-to-be high school students, which also develops reading and vocabulary skills to serve them for a lifetime. Latin instruction is offered four periods each week.
All Middle School students are assigned common-space lockers to encourage independence while also priming the transition to high school. Students in fifth through eighth grade are also organized into small, single-gender “Formation” groups and are paired with an Advisor for morning announcements and prayer. These groups also meet regularly to discuss developmentally-relevant topics in a safe setting. Subjects include hygiene, internet safety, friendship, and bullying. Middle School students are required to log a sequence of community service hours over the course of each academic year.