MS Curriculum at a Glance
The Middle School program consists of five core academic subjects: English, mathematics, science, social studies and Spanish. There are four special subjects: religion, music, art and physical education. Our boys move from class-to-class and work with subject/specialist teachers in all academic areas. In addition to the subjects listed, each boy also attends life skills. Below is an overview of curriculum subjects:
- Social Studies
- Performing Arts
- Visual Arts
- Physical Education
- Life Skills
The English program promotes an understanding and appreciation of literature and strengthens basic writing skills. As our boys read and study fiction of various genres, non-fiction, short stories, plays, poetry and films, they develop evaluative reading, thinking and communication skills. In response to literature, our boys acquire thinking, planning, drafting and editing skills through expository, narrative and creative writing. Students also continue to study English grammar, spelling and vocabulary.
The Middle School mathematics program employs Holt McDougal Middle School Mathematics for Grade 5 and pre-algebra for Grade 6. The fifth grade program emphasizes advanced basic math skills, while introducing one-step algebra problems. The pre-algebra program is designed to give our boys a foundation in beginning algebra so that their transition to seventh grade is seamless. Both of these programs aim to develop learners who can think outside the box by guiding students through the process of problem solving and assisting students in evaluating and applying mathematical principles in real-world connections. In seventh and eighth grade, our boys are leveled, taking either algebra in two parts or algebra and geometry. Grades 7 and 8 use Houghton Mifflin Harcourt textbooks, supplemented by Khan Academy in eighth grade. Teachers and students benefit from blended learning through the text and apps on their iPad, which include Notability, Desmos, Socrative and more. The combination of direct instruction, group discussion, online videos and assessment, and additional tools keep math engaging and provide our boys with the ability to explore key mathematical concepts in algebra and geometry in a dynamic environment.
The science program promotes an active learning process where our boys build a strong knowledge of scientific process, principles and ideas as well as develop inquiry skills for problem solving in both an analytical and creative manner. The content covers: science as inquiry, physical science, life science, earth science, the role of science in society and technology, and the history and nature of science. A highlight of the Princeton Academy science program is the Independent Science Project (ISP). Each year our boys in Grades 5 through 8 pose a problem, research related information, design a controlled experiment, troubleshoot, analyze data, draw conclusions, write a detailed report and present the completed project to a panel of scientists at the annual Science Exposition.
The social studies program aims to develop and strengthen our students’ skills in reading and research, observation and listening, recording and organization, interpretation and analysis, and clarity in written work. Our boys are encouraged to think critically, formulate their own opinions about the past and apply what they have learned to the present day. The program spans the history of humankind beginning in fifth grade with the study of the earliest civilizations across the world, and concluding in the eighth grade with a study of the 20th Century.
The Middle School Spanish program presents an integrated skills approach to Spanish. Both receptive (listening and reading) and productive (speaking and writing) proficiencies are developed. The primary objective of the program is to offer students an opportunity to acquire communicative skills while developing an awareness and appreciation of the Hispanic cultures. The proficiency-oriented instruction provides continuous comprehensible input and engaging, personalized lessons to make everything student-centered. The Middle School Spanish program covers both vocabulary and grammar in the context of culture. Santillana is the program currently used.
The religion program in fifth and sixth grade is Sacred Heart based. For our fifth grade boys it is the “Year of the Sacred Heart” and this theme is continued through sixth grade where our boys continue to explore their relationship to God, self, others and to all creation. Our seventh and eighth grade boys become acquainted with the basic dimensions of the world’s major religions which fosters inter-religious acceptance and dialogue by educating to an understanding of a deep respect for the religions of the world. A variety of classroom activities including discussions, skits, art, music, guest speakers, prayer and meditation allow opportunities to learn in meaningful and interesting ways. Deep reflection is introduced to help each boy grow in his personal faith journey.
The music program aims to create fully engaged, independent musicians who can listen, understand, read, write, compose and improvise music. Middle School boys have the option to choose an instrumental track (strings or band) or a general music track. Student in both tracks have opportunities to perform. We also partner with Stuart Country Day School for our annual winter musical production.
The visual arts program aims to instill lifelong learning goals while strengthening the student’s imagination, critical thinking skills and problem solving ability. Our boys are encouraged to create, present, respond, and connect art and ideas with personal meaning. A highlight of the Princeton Academy visual arts program is the creation of a signature project. Each year our boys create an original artwork, that they initiate, design, problem solve and present upon completion.
The physical education program encourages our boys to improve their physical endurance, strength and flexibility as they learn to play or improve skills in a variety of sports. Our boys learn the importance of team play and good sportsmanship. The program’s goal is to develop lifelong habits of fitness.
The life skills program is designed to introduce topics such as study skills, drug/alcohol awareness, sexuality and other health issues within a context of developing strong interpersonal and decision-making skills. An objective of the program is for our boys to learn to take responsibility for their own learning, thus preparing not only for the challenges of their continuing education, but also for life. Emphasis is placed on organization, time management and work habits in the fifth and sixth grade. As our boys move on to seventh and eighth grade, they learn to advocate for themselves both inside and outside the classroom.