The Middle School Art program is a project-based studio art course. Students are engaged in a variety of projects designed to demonstrate their understanding of the elements and principles of art. Students develop an art vocabulary and are introduced to various media throughout grades 6-8. Additionally, students analyze and explore a number of important 20th century artists throughout the Middle School program. Traditional media projects include, but are not limited to, clay, printmaking, drawing and painting. Digital projects include digital photography basics, basic imaging techniques, and drawing and painting with Adobe Photoshop CS4.
In the Middle School, teachers employ an integrated approach to the development of language arts skills. The curriculum is designed to enable students to become excellent writers and perceptive readers. Students read ten or more novels each year prior to the 9th grade. In the Middle School Computer Lab, students learn new technology skills and enhance existing ones.
Foreign Language is considered one of the five major subjects in the Middle School curriculum. One goal is to inspire enthusiasm and to develop a strong base for language learning in the Upper School. Students begin foreign language study in the 6th grade with an introduction to French and Spanish. These semester-long courses introduce students to vocabulary, culture and basic grammar. In the 7th grade, students choose between Spanish I or French I. By the end of the 8th grade, students master the level one curriculum. Many of our middle school students are our best candidates for Advanced Placement Spanish and French in the Upper School. Students in grades 7 and 8 are scheduled in the language lab one day a cycle.
Mathematics Middle School Mathematics is designed to assist students in mastering the concepts in mathematics necessary to be successful in the courses that follow in Upper School. Teachers utilize diverse methods to help build meaningful understanding of these concepts including group problem solving, creative projects, open-ended problems, writing and investigations. An appropriate range of application for each topic is designed to be challenging but achievable. Students develop skills as they progress through a carefully structured sequence of activities. Each activity guides students in an incremental, step-by-step process to lead them to an understanding of each mathematical concept or procedure. This curriculum is developed in conjunction with “The Principles and Standards,” grades 6-8 set by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
Music is pervasive in the Middle School curriculum at Maryvale. Each year students study music in General Music classes. These classes incorporate music fundamentals, musical performance, creativity, music appreciation and history. Students study music for one semester of each year of middle school. This course alternates with their semester of Visual Art.
Physical Education & Health
The Middle School health curriculum provides students with information that will enable them to make decisions for healthy living. Health education improves students‟ health-related knowledge, attitudes and behaviors. Through individual and team activities, the student develops responsibility and respect for herself and her classmates, and an understanding and respect for differences among people in physical activity settings. From these activities the students also develop decision-making and critical thinking skills, cooperative social skills, and positive attitudes towards physical activity. The goal of our program is to develop physically educated students consistent with the national standards developed by the National Association of Sports and Physical Education.
The Middle School Science curriculum offers a "hands-on" approach that emphasizes problem solving, the scientific method and an enthusiastic attitude about discovering how science is connected to our world. Students in the 6th grade study electricity, magnetism, chemical building blocks, and the human body. Students research and build a working model of a Maglev train and run it successfully on an electric track. Students in the 7th grade study cells, genetics, and the six kingdoms of life with a concentration on dissection skills. Students dissect a flower, a gill fungus and a bullfrog. Students in the 8th grade study motion and forces, matter's properties, states of matter, elements compounds and mixtures, atoms and the Periodic Table. 8th grade students research and build a hovercraft. All Middle School students participate in Maryvale’s annual “Northrup Grumman Engineering Challenge” with engineers from the corporation.
The Middle School Social Studies Department seeks to educate students about the world around them and to prepare students for further studies in the social sciences. Students learn critical thinking skills, research methods, study habits, and skills for historical study as they explore such topics as Ancient Civilizations, World Geography and American history. Activities include reading historical fiction, celebrating Women’s History Month, exploring research topics, discussing current events, and much more.
Middle school students learn the skills necessary to successfully integrate technology into all subject areas. Students in 8th grade take a required technology course, and 6th and 7th grade students develop technology skills by completing technology-infused projects and assignments to create visual presentations for classes such as French, English and Science. Students use more advanced technology skills as they implement techniques that they have learned in their technology classes in order to create multimedia presentations and animations. Internet safety issues are researched and discussed, and students create projects designed to help others learn about these issues.
The Middle School Theology program utilizes the “Christ Our Life” program from Loyola Press. The curriculum focuses on salvation history, with a central focus on Jesus Christ, as students explore God’s saving love for humanity, as revealed in scripture and church. We encourage our students to develop a personal relationship with God as they are introduced to the charism of St. Julie Billiart and the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.