Middle School Curriculum Guide
All students in the seventh and eighth-grades are required to have a laptop computer, which they bring to school, fully charged, every day. RCDS is a dual platform school, meaning students may have computers with either the Macintosh or the Windows operating systems. Prior to the summer, the School provides details about purchasing the computers.
From Grades 5 through 8, students will begin to develop, practice, and implement healthy and effective study skills habits. An emphasis will be placed on executive function skills including but not limited to organizing, planning and prioritizing, time management, metacognition, and self-regulation. In addition, we will teach students how to self-advocate and learn various strategies on how to study and plan for different types of assessments. The goal is to help students become independent learners, as well as to help them make efficient and effective use of their study time when by themselves or when part of a group.
The goals of the SEEK program are to help students develop as responsible and respectful members of our Middle School community and help them feel more competent and positive about themselves. Beginning in fifth grade, students will explore the topics listed below through activities and group discussions. All discussions are developmentally appropriate for each age group. When the need arises, discussions will center on a topic that is highlighted in the news and meaningful to the students. Sixth-grade SEEK builds on the knowledge and skills that students began acquiring in fifth grade. The units being discussed may be the same as those of the fifth-grade curriculum; however, Grade 6 students will be able to process the information at a deeper level. The goal of the seventh-grade SEEK program is to help students learn the skills that will assist them in navigating academic and social situations that arise. Students in seventh grade are at a pivotal point in their lives as they enter their teenage years. The eighth-grade SEEK curriculum builds upon and augments the skills, activities, and topics covered during the program in Grades 5, 6, and 7. The eighth-grade program also serves as an opportunity for students to share concerns and information about adolescent issues, ranging from peer interactions to school responsibilities.
SELECTED SEEK TOPICS
- Organization/Study Skills
- Metacognition and Memory
- Transition to current grade/goal setting
- Team Building/Experiential activities among SEEK groups
- Friendships and social situations
- Substance Use (tobacco, alcohol, drugs)
- Stress, Depression, Anxiety – learning to regulate mood
- Bullying, Harassment
- Sexuality Education
- Communication Skills
- Revisiting Goals
- Transition to following grade/stress management
Service Learning Periods
Throughout their Middle School years, students learn about the five stages of service learning, the ethics of service, and the role of youth as change agents in the community and world. Students complete reflective personal inventories that enable them to more effectively put their own skills and interests to use in working in partnership with community organizations.
A number of community blocks are dedicated to service learning each year. Students and advisors may elect to work on teams that research, plan, and implement a different project. The teamwork culminates in student-driven direct service, advocacy, or activism projects in the community.
All eighth graders spend a series of service days in either the fall or the spring doing service learning projects at different sites.