While SMT is a small, intimate school with a tight-knit community, students entering middle school engage in a more independent, responsible learning experience. Teaching is organized by department, and some subjects, such as science and math, are taught in classrooms other than the homeroom.
Throughout middle school, students acquire skills and build confidence that will prepare them for the next steps in their academic life. For example, note taking is reinforced in sixth grade and expected in all subjects. Students have repeated opportunities to learn how to think analytically, work collaboratively, manage their time efficiently, and study effectively. These skills and experiences are critical to success in high school and build a solid foundation for excellence in college and adult life.
SMT’s English and literature program is aligned to Common Core standards. Students strengthen their grammar knowledge in order to study Latin, improve their writing skills, and grow in their ability to comprehend and appreciate both fiction and nonfiction texts. By the end of eighth grade, students will have studied and written personal and fictional narratives as well as argumentative and analytical essays. They will have participated in a range of collaborative discussions as well as engaged in many public speaking opportunities.
In math, both the regular and advanced courses are aligned to Common Core standards and emphasize a mastery of foundations, a rigorous approach, and a commitment to the hard work needed to achieve a deeper understanding of concepts. The middle school years are critical to the building the foundation that will be used later in algebra, calculus, and geometry, as well as physics, biology, and chemistry.
Humanities form an important part of the curriculum, with social and religious studies adding strong building blocks to a well-rounded education. Social studies courses cover periods from ancient history through contemporary world history, with an emphasis on American history in eighth grade. Through our religion curriculum, middle school students learn about Gospel values, build their faith, and deepen their appreciation for the Christian message. Service learning and outreach activities strengthen the core values of compassion, generosity, and gratitude.
Laboratory courses are a distinguishing characteristic of our science program. Logic and critical thinking skills are incorporated into daily instruction, while students integrate technology such as iPads and digital probes for real-time data collection, visualization, and analysis. Independent exploration is encouraged though participation in our science fair program, in which our students win awards yearly at the county and state levels.