Middle School English

Our English program (five classes weekly) is first and foremost a study of good literature. In each grade, novels are grouped thematically and frequently align with the history curriculum. Independent reading is a central component of our English program. Skills are reinforced and assessed with the Accelerated Reader program, which helps students to identify materials at their appropriate reading level and challenges them to respond to analytical and comprehension questions about their independent reading choices. Once students demonstrate consistent 90% achievement in Accelerated Reader, they move on to the next level.

Poetry: Through a six-week collaboration with the Poetry Society of America, poets work one-on-one and in small groups with students, leading them through the creative process of writing, revising, critiquing, and performing original works. The program culminates with the students and professional poets presenting their poems side-by-side in front of the school community.

Shakespeare: Our Shakespeare program uses a performance-driven curriculum that challenges students to read closely, decode the meaning of unfamiliar words, and grasp the underlying relationships between characters. The program opens with a workshop developed in partnership with the Classic Stage Company and the graduate Theatre Arts Program at Columbia University’s School of the Arts. Actors work with students for one week to explore a play’s themes and the use of language to express character and plot. Students then spend four weeks reading a text in class, stopping frequently to re-read and to discuss the subtext of situations. As a final project, students prepare and perform scenes for an audience of parents and peers.