In middle school, our students mature as scholars, honing strong habits of learning and character. They act as junior historians, analyzing original documents to better understand the context of historical events. They dissect a brain alongside Columbia University neuroscientists so they can visualize the connection between its form and function. Our students work with professional poets and come to know (and love) Shakespeare’s plays. They spend three days on Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s college campus, working alongside professors and students on applied math and engineering questions.
The middle school is designed around subject-based specialists, challenging students to navigate a schedule, multiple environments, and different class structures. An extended day offers students an opportunity for quiet reading before classes begin. Students can also take advantage of after-school programming from 5:00 - 6:00 p.m. to work with teachers and volunteer tutors. Students may use this time for enrichment, additional support, or homework.
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Our middle school electives program allows students to delve into one elective per trimester during three long blocks each week. The program is an opportunity for students to connect with teachers and pursue personal interests in arts, athletics, and hobbies.
(F = Fall, W = Winter, S = Spring)
Lower School Service: Open to grades seven and eight only, lower school service is an opportunity to give back to your school and practice role-modeling, organization, and leadership. Students will collaborate with the elective’s advisor in splitting into small teams to help grades one through four during their arts/athletics blocks.
PERFORMING ARTS ELECTIVES
Beats and Bars: Lyrics and Lines Edition (W) Students learn the basics of song structure, rhythm, and rhyme. Students will learn techniques to open up channels of creativity within themselves and tap into their personal style of lyrical expression.
Fall Play (F): Experience the hard work and dedication it takes to be part of a play, as well as the joy and exhilaration of a job well done. Students will learn lines, songs, stage directions, and perhaps even some choreography in preparation for putting on the production in December.
Shakespeare (S): This year, elective participants will study Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet in depth after the Shakespeare workshops, compete in the Shake Smack by performing scenes with students from all over NYC at the Classic Stage Company Theater, and produce and perform an abridged version of the entire play. Open only to grades six through eight.
Boot Camp (W): This is a fitness course designed to test resilience, strength, stamina, and quick decision making skills. We will engage in various stretches, exercises and routines that will work towards developing strength, stamina, and flexibility. While having fun, this work will help us be healthy and fit even in the dead of winter!
Dance Fitness Club (S): This elective will work to improve students' cardiovascular strength and flexibility through different types of dance related activities such as Zuumba, hip-hop, stepping, and Afro-Caribbean dance and movement. This elective allows students to explore alternative types of exercise, set goals, and improve their physical fitness. By the end of the elective, students will choreograph and perform a dance fitness routine.
Sports Camp (F & S): Students will participate in a variety of sports where they will learn basic fundamentals of each sport and the common traits for success in any endeavor - teamwork, commitment, sacrifice, work ethic, and discipline. Our sports for this year may include running, soccer, flag-football, basketball, Ultimate Frisbee and more!
VISUAL ARTS AND GENERAL ELECTIVES
Fiber Arts (W): Participants will design and create homemade accessories and art. Students who have previous experience with knitting will be taught more complex projects, such as new stitches and multicolor designs, while beginners will start with the basic knit and purl stitches to make a hat. All are welcome!
Logical Minds Elective (W): Tease your brain, stretch your mind, and reason to your heart’s content! In this new elective, you'll be challenged to "think outside the box" through various deductive and inductive reasoning games and activities, on and off the computer!
The Visual Arts (F): In this elective, students will be exploring the fundamental skills of drawing, printmaking, and photography. The goal is to create an art studio full of your best work from the trimester and then showcase your work to the HA community. We will be introduced to the work of different artists throughout the trimester, and appreciate and/or experiment with their art forms.
HA Newspaper (S): Students will learn what it takes to make a publication by creating one for the whole HA community to enjoy! After deciding what sections to include as a team, elective participants will interview people, write articles, design puzzles and advertisements, and incorporate other applicable skills. The staff will publish a new issue every few weeks so that everyone can read about what is going on at HA and beyond.
TRIPS & EVENTS OVERVIEW
Princeton Blairstown Center - Middle school students, teachers, and volunteer parent chaperones head to New Jersey for three days of team building exercises in the woods. Read more.
Fall Play - As part of our electives program, students put on a play. Previous productions have included The Wizard of Oz; Peter Pan; You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.
ReExplore NYC Day - All middle school students spend a day off campus on self-designed trips around the city. Each class group works together to plan a trip to local landmarks and cultural destinations.
Poetry Reading - Poets visit our sixth and eighth-grade classrooms for six weeks, leading students through the creative process of writing, revising, critiquing, and performing original works. This unit culminates with a poetry reading where students read along side professional poets. Read more.
Eighth Grade D.C. Trip - Spring trimester of eighth grade students and teachers head to Washington, D.C. to see what they have been learning in U.S. history in action. Read more.
Shakespeare Performance - Students who participate in the Shakespeare elective put on an abridged version of a Shakespeare play each spring. Previous productions have included The Tempest and Macbeth. Read more.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - Each June the middle school travels to Troy, N.Y. to spend three days on a college campus working with professors and exploring STEM subjects. Read more.
How Do Middle School Students Spend Their Time Each Week?