Grades Six, Seven, and Eight (Middle School)
Holy Cross Middle School
Welcome to the Holy Cross Middle School. There are many unique aspects to our Middle School. Our core subjects are departmentalized. Students experience a rigorous standard based curriculum, hands on science, and the availability of advanced math classes. In addition there are many leadership opportunities such as: Student Council, yearbook, choir, band, and History Club. Our middle school teachers hold baccalaureate and post-baccalaureate degrees in fields related to their subject matter and are devoted to the individual development of each student.
The mathematics curriculum follows the Standards set by the Archdiocese of Washington Catholic Schools, and other state and national standards. In addition, we stress the importance of real world problem solving through various applications. Math involves learning new ways to solve problems, and sometimes there will be different approaches to the same question, just as there are many ways to solve a puzzle. Therefore, emphasis is placed on teaching to different learning styles.
Holy Cross Elementary School divides math classes in the middle school. The smaller class sizes make it easier to work with individual students, address problems they encounter, and have them progress at their own speed. All of the students in Grades 5, 6, and 7 take a grade-level appropriate math readiness assessment each spring. Algebra 1 is available for qualified 8th grade students.
Middle school is the time for students to dabble in all the different disciplines of science. In each of the 3 years we cover Earth & Space Science, Life Science and Physical Science with the specific subject matters addressed in each year listed on the science page. The science curriculum is built around hands-on inquiry activities designed to engage the student at the concrete level and slowly move to the more abstract levels of thinking and discussion. We start each unit with vocabulary and hands-on exploration, moving on toward reading from the book and current science journals to finally writing about what they know. All students are expected to learn how to write about the science they do, both in journals and on exams.
The specific experiments and field trips we take during the year vary with the opportunities available, but some of the standard activities in each grade are visiting the Solar Decathlon on the National Mall every other year (for 7th and 8th grade), dissecting owl pellets and frogs in the 7th grade year, Halloween Chemistry to supplement our 8th grade chemistry unit, visiting and testing the creek in 6th or 7th grade, and a trip to the zoo with the 1st grade buddies during our conservation unit in 6th grade.
Holy Cross Middle School Social Studies emphasizes historical analysis and synthesis. Technology is integrated within the lessons to enhance student learning. Students are exposed to a wide variety of media and study/test taking skills to enhance their critical thinking skills and to be able to apply the lessons of the past to the present. Map skills are emphasized as well as civic, economics and sociology. Students in the 4th – 8th grade compete in the National Geographic Bee and are encouraged to enrich their study by choosing historically relevant books for their Language Arts independent reading.
The goal of our middle school Language Arts instruction is to enable students to become effective communicators through the written and spoken word by improving their skills in comprehension and critical thinking. To that end, students take separate classes in Reading and English. The Reading program is a novel-based literature study that strengthens comprehension strategies and introduces critical reading skills. Genres studied include fantasy, historical and contemporary fiction, poetry, short story and speeches. The English program facilitates strengthening writing skills through integrated grammar, vocabulary and formal writing instruction.