GREETINGS FROM LACORDAIRE!
The Middle School at Lacordaire emphasizes meaningful engagement with the curriculum among faculty and students. Focusing on 21st century skills, students in the middle school collaborate with one another, engage in critical thinking, and are challenged to problem solve. Our teachers provide a personalized environment where students are encouraged to take risks, supported in doing so, and reflective of the results. Along the way, our curriculum prepares students for the next phase through an adherence to faith, character, and academics. Students demonstrate the ability to think creatively, present effectively, and show compassion toward others. Developing life-long learners, Lacordaire supplements academics with purposeful field trips, hands-on learning, access to clubs, team sports and a strong performing arts program.
Head of Middle School
Middle School at Lacordaire Academy offers a challenging and engaging curriculum that prepares students for competitive high schools, as well as inspires each of them to be creative and independent thinkers, compassionate leaders, and good citizens. A traditional curriculum delivered using current pedagogical practices and supported by technology focuses on inquiry and project-based learning and offers the best in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM). Enrichment classes in art, writing, world language, music, physical education, and computers encourage students to pursue their interests.
Assessments take many forms, including projects, blogging, films/videos, presentations, portfolios, essays, and tests. In every class, students learn organizational and study skills required for academic success. Reading, writing, and public speaking skills are taught across the curriculum. Creativity and imagination are valued and used to teach high level thinking and collaboration.
The language arts program encourages students to express themselves confidently and effectively, to make connections between their world and what they read, and to develop a personal style and voice in their writing. The goal of this curriculum is to advance reading ability while developing strong writing skills. Each language arts class has five components: literature, writing, vocabulary, oral recitations, and grammar. Although the structure of each grade is similar, the curriculum advances in terms of level of difficulty and content, as well as expectation for independent work as the grades progress. Novel study involves project and inquiry-based learning, and many of the units are interdisciplinary in nature.
In grades five through eight, emphasis is placed on refining critical thinking and analytical skills through an intense study of the elements of a novel, the author’s purpose, and figurative language. Students apply these skills to various pieces of literature, ranging from myths and legends, folk tales, poetry, and short stories through novels. As a supplement to this process, the reading program works in tandem with the language arts program.
During 7th and 8th grades, reading class is a two year course with both grades combined. The course focuses on developing reading comprehension and analytical, synthesizing, writing, and vocabulary skills. An advanced version of this course is offered as well. This class is a challenging course that prepares students for advance reading and writing at a high school level. Students must be recommended to this course by their previous Language Arts and/or Reading teacher. Language Arts and Reading grades, standardized test scores, and writing ability are all taken into consideration.
The Middle School math curriculum emphasizes the basic mathematical skills of numeration, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of whole numbers, fractions, and decimals. Concepts are taught through the study of measurement, geometry, statistics, probability, number theory, functions, and relationships. Particular attention is given to balancing procedural fluency and conceptual understanding. Students develop stronger number sense and more ability to apply math in real-world situations. This is further reinforced with the instruction of daily mental math exercises. All fifth grade students study 5th grade math. All students begin a study of Pre-Algebra in grade 6 and complete a full Algebra course by the end of eighth grade. Eighth grade students enrolled in honors math courses will also complete an Introduction to Geometry course. Beginning in the 6th grade, honors courses are offered to students who qualify based on teacher evaluation, test grades, and standardized testing scores. All courses have online texts and study resources.
Our Middle School religion curriculum includes study of Catholic doctrine, including the Old and New Testament of the Bible, sacraments, structure and role of the Church in the contemporary global community, Dominican heritage, and the responsibility of the individual. Students explore different religions and share their individual faith traditions with the class. Ecumenical prayer services are prepared and led by students. In addition, students participate in monthly liturgies and prayer services that are celebrated with the entire school community.
The cornerstone of our science program is a hands-on curriculum that encourages an excitement and enthusiasm for learning about the natural world through experimentation and inquiry. Through project and inquiry-based learning, as well as technology and labs, students acquire basic scientific knowledge and understanding of the scientific method.
A fully equipped STEM/science lab is where 5th grade, Earth, and Life Science classes have labs. Physical Science classes use the Chemistry lab and Life Science labs. All labs on campus are equipped with SmartBoard technology and have access to iPads and Chromebooks.
The fifth grade curriculum is a survey class, including life, earth, and physical science. Beginning in sixth grade, students focus on each area in more depth beginning with earth science. Seventh grade studies physical science, and eighth grade culminates with life science.
STEM Lab is a part of the science classes as well. Dedicated time is set aside each cycle for students to engage with concepts from a multidisciplinary perspective. This value-added approach allows student to practice the 21st century skills of problem solving, critical thinking, and communication while working with STEM.
Middle School social studies teaches history, geography, economics, and sociology in an experienced-based program. In addition to learning facts, students use texts, novels, videos, and projects to explore the life and issues of various historical periods. In addition to exploring the past, students explore contemporary issues, such as immigration, newly formed governments, evolving countries, and global societal concerns.
Fifth and Sixth grades explore ancient civilizations while seventh and eighth grades turn their attention to United States History.
Foreign Language: French/Spanish
French is offered in 5th & 6th grade as students continue building on their skills from the Lower School. 5th & 6th grade French classes meet twice a week and introduce students to conversational French vocabulary and grammar. In grades 7 and 8, students can choose to take Spanish or continue their studies in French. Language classes meet three times a week and become more academically rigorous. Students learn to conjugate verbs in simple tenses, to pose and answer questions, and to hold conversations about weather, dress, restaurants, travel, and sports. Additionally, they become familiar with the culture and customs of the Francophone world. French and Spanish curriculum covers topics normally taught at most high schools. The classes are project-based and students learn to communicate in the target language by presenting video projects, fashion shows, and cafes.
*Independent French for Fluent Students
This program is designed for students having an excellent knowledge of French. The content of our curriculum is based on the educational requirements of the French Ministry of Education “Ministère de l’Éducation Nationale.” Subject to availability of faculty.
Seventh and Eighth graders take an Introduction to Latin course. The course is designed to improve grammar and vocabulary, to increase understanding of word roots and etymology, and to prepare students for high school Latin courses.
Our Middle School students continue to develop a strong foundation of fitness and movement through various warm-up games and exercises, as well as strength, balance and core development. Yoga is again an important part of our routine as we introduce various movements and poses to improve flexibility and strength. Fitness activities and team sports such as Soccer, Basketball, Volleyball, Softball, Football, Kickball, and Gaga ball are all continued, and strategy and tactics are further developed, as students also contribute their own ideas.