Middle School Curriculum
Blessed Sacrament School’s departmentalized middle school is organized for students in Grades 6-8 to rotate between core subject area classes. Guided by the Diocesan curriculum, our middle school curriculum builds on grade school content to include:
Grade 6 begins with reading the Old Testament for an understanding that God’s saving actions and his love are manifested in salvation history and fulfilled in Jesus. It then delves into the New Testament in Grade 7, with an emphasis on understanding that the Gospels are unique sources for the life and teachings of Jesus. The final segment in Grade 8, will complete students’ preparation for the sacrament of Confirmation. It will include the study of Church history, from its infancy when the Apostles first sought to spread the Good News up to the present-day Church and modern Popes. Our program addresses issues of Christian social justice, how students can be witnesses today and put their faith into action, and how the historical dilemmas have relevance in our modern world.
Literature and Language Arts
The content of our Literature and Language Arts program is tiered to deepen understanding of reading, writing, attention to grammar, punctuation, capitalization, and appreciation of literary genres at developmentally appropriate formats for each grade level. Instruction is structured to foster fluency, expression, active listening, and public speaking. Classes participate in local and national writing and poetry contests, and each year some of our students receive awards. As a final activity, eighth graders select and perform a Shakespeare play for the school and at the annual Diocesan Shakespeare Festival.
World language is a core academic subject. Courses are offered in Spanish. The program provides middle school students with the equivalent of one year of high school Spanish. Students develop insight into a second language and culture while learning to communicate with others in that language. Students are engaged in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. All students take the National Foreign Language Exam to assess and reflect on their progress. Eighth grade students are also required by their receiving high schools to take a world language placement test; many BSS students place into the second level of their chosen language.
As with math in preceding years, the middle school math curriculum is a spiral one. The students continue to return to the same topics while going deeper, always moving from concrete to representational to abstract. In middle school, math instruction is provided in smaller, leveled classes averaging 10-15 students instead of the full-size class. Most students study algebra in Grade 8, and there is strong emphasis on word problems and real-world applications. Mathematical concepts are reinforced in science (e.g., measurement, formulas, proportions, problem-solving applications) and history (e.g., economics and demographics, graphing and tables).
Our middle school math program offers grade-level and advanced instruction. Placement into the appropriate level is based on Diocesan Scantron test results, report card history and teacher recommendation to insure each student’s success.
Across the middle school science curriculum, there is an emphasis on scientific reasoning and investigation, with annual review of the nature of science and scientific investigation. Our goal is to educate students on the process and understanding of the scientific method and its application to the different sciences. Grade 6 focuses on the study of Earth and Environmental Science; Grade 7 delves into understanding Life Science; and Grade 8 examines Physical Science as defined by chemistry and physics.
Students participate in “Science Fair.” In Grade 6, they develop an innovative idea, a scaled mock “blueprint,” a three-dimensional model, and scientific abstract. Seventh graders design and conduct a controlled experiment, and their work is assessed by outside judges. Ten students represent the school each year in the Diocesan Science Fair, and in the past 10 years several students (and the school itself) have won awards at the Diocesan level. Technology is integrated through video and slides, scientific equipment, and using “Discovery Education Techbook,” which offers students a variety of resources to support their curiosity and learning.
In Social Studies, students progress in their ability to integrate skills for historical and geographical analysis (analyze primary and secondary source documents, sequence major events, interpret ideas and events from different perspectives, debate issues, interpret maps). The content area begins with World History (prehistory-1500 A.D.) then explores United States History to 1877 through present day. We take advantage of the vast resources available in our community and integrate field trips to government and historic sites, area museums, and special events.