Middle School

The middle school girls at GA love their teachers and treasure their relationships with their classmates. Our halls and classrooms are filled with spirited and joyful learners who are eager to come to school each day. 

With a focus on the school's motto, Toward the Building of Character, our assemblies, all-Middle School meetings, and advisory program contribute to building our nurturing, close-knit community. Our students build confidence as they take academic risks and challenge themselves with the support and encouragement of their teachers and peers. 

GA middle school students thrive in our rigorous academic setting. From Group V through Group VIII, our girls build and sharpen their academic skills while discovering new interests and maintaining a deep love of learning. We have a rich language program with Spanish, French, and Mandarin, as well as a required Latin course. Emphasis is placed on building effective communication skills through our writing and public speaking curricula. Also, our girls excel in our math program which helps the girls build a strong foundation and deep understanding of all topics taught. Another highlight for the girls is their Current Events course, an opportunity for them analyze and discuss the news of the day while also connecting it to what they are learning in their other classes. Each girl benefits from our outstanding visual and performing arts program, and each Group VII and VIII girls participates in our interscholastic athletics program each season. We also have a robust Middle School Clubs Program in which students can discover or develop a new interest while simultaneously connecting with a teacher and classmates. Ultimately, our goal is for each girl to leave Middle School having learned how to take risks, ask questions, and self advocate.  

Program Overview

English

During their time in the Middle School English program, our students find their voices. Building on the skills they learn in Lower School, they become increasingly comfortable sharing their ideas in class and crafting increasingly complex and well-organized analytical, creative, and personal essays. They read a diverse set of authors in a variety of genres, from memoir to poetry to plays to fiction, celebrating the different ways people express and share themselves with others. Our students further develop their love for reading and writing and learn the skills and habits necessary for the challenges of Upper School. More importantly, they leave us confident they have the tools they need to be successful readers and writers for life.

Group V:

  • The Westing Game Reader’s Theater Mystery
  • Fantasy Fiction creative writing
  • Essay writing boot camp
  • Realistic fiction book clubs

Group VI:

  • Focus on developing annotating skills.
  • Encouraging choice in reading selection through our Drop Everything and Read program

Group VII:

  • Suspense stories
  • Mockingbird Monologues in conjunction with To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Utopia Project in conjunction with The Giver

Group VIII:

  • Romeo and Juliet diorama project in conjunction with our Engineering & Design Lab
  • Culminating project is a collection of personal vignettes.
  • Public speaking presentation

Extracurricular:

  • Our highly popular book clubs
  • We participate in the Connecticut Nutmeg Award reading challenge every year.
  • Our students win awards for writing from the University of Connecticut, Scholastic, Greenwich Reads, and Bluefire.

Math

It is the goal of the math department to provide Middle School students with a program that challenges them and enables them to build a solid foundation in math. The program is designed to encourage students to think deeply about mathematics and begin the process of independent learning. The curriculum in the Middle School has been developed to help students gain an understanding and appreciation of math, and to feel secure and confident in their abilities.

  • In Group V the Singapore Math approach is used to cover all operations with whole numbers, fractions, and decimals. In addition, ratio, percent, measurement conversion, and geometry are explored. There is an emphasis on mental math and problem-solving skills.
  • Group VI students develop and strengthen the basic arithmetic operations through problem solving. Students analyze and solve multistep problems, and become comfortable taking risks as they gain confidence in their mathematical ability.
  • In Group VII the girls are introduced to algebra and geometry. There is an emphasis on honing their problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. Real world applications become an integral part of the curriculum.
  • All Group VIII students take Algebra I. The focus is on gaining a solid mastery of the basic algebraic concepts, while developing a more independent approach to learning in preparation for the transition to the Upper School.

History

The History and Social Sciences Department seeks to engender a love of learning and an understanding of the richness of cultural, religious, ethnic, and racial diversity. The Middle School curriculum is intentionally developed to help our girls make connections between names, places, and events, and to help them recognize themselves in the history of others.

A curricular highlight for our students is a current events class taken each year, which provides students the opportunity to apply and make relevant their growing understanding of the world and its people. Primary to the content is the sequence of skills that builds progressively from Group V through Group VIII. Teachers guide students on the journey to acquire and develop basic study/note-taking skills, close reading of secondary and primary documents, as well as structured and analytical writing. Independent learning and computer and library literacy also augment the traditional skill development.

  • Group V history explores the basic concepts of geography and the development of civilization in the ancient world, particularly the cultures of Egypt, China, and Greece.The girls learn how to define civilization and examine the role geography plays in the evolution and flourishing of culture.
  • Group VI history explores the universality of human culture through the examination of the five major world religions via a comparative lens of geography, belief, culture, history, and current events. 
  • Group VII history explores the ‘Atlantic World’ with a particular emphasis on indigenous populations pre-contact as well as the beginnings of the African diaspora and American slavery.The course finishes with North American colonial settlement, independence, and the formation of a national government.
  • Group VIII American History focuses on the 20th century with an emphasis on the political, economic, and social events that have shaped modern American life.Class trips to Harlem and Washington D.C provide students with an experiential component to their learning.

Science

The Middle School science curriculum imparts to its students not only a strong foundation in scientific knowledge, but also skills in problem-solving, critical thinking, oral presentation, and writing. The curriculum is designed to foster excellence and exceptional achievement in science through challenging course material taught in a variety of methods designed to reach students of all skill levels and learning styles. The curriculum is inquiry-based, rigorous, and age-appropriate. The students have the opportunity to engage in devising projects using GA’s state-of-the-art Engineering & Design Lab. The program promotes independence, resilience, and integrity in a setting in which it is safe to conjecture, to experiment, to err, and to persevere.

  • In Group V science, natural sciences and environmental systems are explored. The course focuses on living things and their adaptations to their current natural settings. Units of study include ecosystems, cell biology, and inventions.
  • In Group VI, students explore the major systems of the human body, basic astronomy, and engineering concepts, and conclude with an in-depth look at Earth’s resources and the protection of our oceans, atmosphere, and land.
  • Group VII students learn about various forms of energy and their role in electricity, forces, motion, and geology using lab experiments, virtual explorations, and engineering activities.
  • Group VIII science introduces the concepts, principles, and laboratory techniques used in the study of chemistry. The course is focused on laboratory skills, scientific writing, and inquiry-based learning.
  • An extracurricular highlight for many Middle School girls is GA’s robotics program. Students work together to creatively solve problems while using a variety of design and engineering skills. In the process, they learn the necessary programming and building techniques to create a unique and multi-functioning LEGO MINDSTORMS robot.


 

World Languages

As the girls continue their language studies in Middle School, the World Languages Department centers its curriculum and classroom on diverse societies and global awareness. Our teachers encourage the exploration of the many people and places where Spanish is spoken while developing essential skills for communication. We aim to enhance listening and speaking skills and to build reading and writing skills, all with an emphasis on promoting communicative proficiency. Our signature Latin program focuses on the culture and history of the Roman empire, the acquisition of vocabulary and the development of grammatical understanding providing students with meaningful insights into modern English.

  • Languages offered in the Middle School include French, Latin, Mandarin, and Spanish, which gives our students the opportunity to study the language of their choice.
  • In addition to their chosen modern language, students are required to study Latin for three full years beginning in Group VI.
  • Students engage in activities that foster the development of cultural and linguistic skills.
  • Teachers frequently and widely use age-appropriate digital media and authentic primary materials such as songs, games, videos and movies to enhance learning.

Physical Education

We believe teamwork and competition are crucial learning experiences. In Groups V and VI, girls focus on sports and technique, refining skills and improving strategies to prepare them for team play. In Groups VII and VIII, students train and represent their school in the four sports offered each season. (Group VIII students may also pick dance for a winter and spring sport.) Except for game days and Wednesdays, teams practice for the last two periods of school. Our Middle School Gators lay the foundation of our Upper School athletic program.

Health & Wellness

Our guiding principle is the belief that good health results from the integration of physical, psychological, social, and emotional well-being. The program promotes self-respect and respect for others, and aims to provide the girls with the information and skills necessary to support healthy decision-making, relationships, and living. Through discussion and interactive class activities, the curriculum is carefully planned, and includes developmentally appropriate materials covering health, wellness, and life skills including:

• Group V: body systems and puberty, nutrition, personal hygiene, healthy habits, and communication skills
• Group VI: puberty, interpersonal relationships and communication, and stress management
• Group VII: human sexuality and reproduction
• Group VIII: substance use, sexuality, body image, the influence of the media and culture on health, and interpersonal relationships

Guest speakers, advisory activities, and supplemental programs are offered throughout the year to further assist the girls in developing the skills and resiliency to become self-advocates, form healthy habits and relationships, and make good decisions.

Becky Walker
Head of Middle School

After School

In addition to teams and clubs that meet throughout the week, MS students can sign up for Homework Hall, a drop-in program that offers supervised study until 5:00 PM.

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