The ultimate goal, though, is to learn how to learn, learn how to do, and learn how to be, so that each person who enters our doors will find a calling and change the world.- Laura A. Sandefer, author of Courage to Grow
Our eighth grade students spend their final year at Presbyterian School preparing to share their personal experiences and passions with the greater Houston community and the world beyond. A daily balance of leading others and depending on the guidance of those around them serves as the essential skill to hone and master. Based on authenticity of self and respect for others, our curriculum explores the way in which our culture presents itself through people of integrity and energetic focus. From the character analysis of Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird to the confidence required to design and report on their own scientific experiments in Integrated Physics & Chemistry, our students own their learning and stand as models for those they encounter in the future.
8th grade promotes student agency and choice where students own the learning that exist in the various spaces on campus. Teachers take advantage of programming that advances student ownership and make connections between the many content areas. Cross-curricular work plays a pivotal role in our design, often blurring the lines from one “class” to the next. Additionally, much of the curriculum, from math to vocabulary, focuses on individual challenge by allowing students to advance at their own pace. With an elective program developed for children to pursue and perform STEAM-based courses, our curriculum has no limit.
Character Development: Advisory & Squads
All students are assigned to an advisor. The middle school promotes character development through daily connection to an advisor with reflection serving as a key to improvement. In addition to advisory, a fun, community, leadership-minded House System, called Squads, distributes all middle school students and teachers into four distinct Squads. Squads focus on collaboration, construction, competition, and fun with students across every grade level. 8th grade students have a particular responsibility to serve as a role model who energizes, leads, and celebrates our school program.
Place-Based Learning: Museum Partnerships
While our classrooms begin in the somewhat traditional sense, the School extends its boundaries into the incredible museum resources within walking distance of our main building. Presbyterian School transcends the “field trip” experience by integrating our curriculum into the exhibits and resources that spend time in our museums. The opportunity to deepen our learning develops with the partnership that museums offer our learning spaces.
Art Every Day
7th and 8th grade students take a fine arts class every single day... and these classes aren't just your run-of-the-mill average art classes. Thi year's classes included Scientific Illustration, Expressive Sculpture, Paper Art, Mock Trial, Guitar, Main Street Singers, Yearbook and more! The School has offered 80 different fine arts classes to students in the following genres: drawing & painting, mutlidimensional Art, Digital Art, Mususem Art, Expressive Art, Music, Film, Dance, and On Stage.
The Power of Play: P.E., Fitness & Athletics
As a way to focus on the mind, body, and spirit of a middle school child, Presbyterian School facilitates intentional time for structured and unstructured play. 8th grade students attend P.E. and Fitness classes which include cross training to improve cardio and agility. Students participate in Flex Time which involves clubs, recess and other activities. Our no-cut athletics program after school is open to all 8th grade students and offers over 30 teams in 14 sports. 8th grade students play on varsity level teams and learn to take on greater responsibility on the field as they look towards possible high school experiences in the future.
Spiritual Growth: Bible & Chapel
We invest in each child’s spiritual development through daily Bible class and in the consistent message of sound character as supported by our school's core values of reflecting God's love, respect, perseverance, courage, compassion, gratitude, and integrity. Middle School students have opportunities to learn from God's word, talk about current issues, and dive into matters of the heart in Bible Class and lunchtime bible studies. Students also attend a weekly chapel to worship together as a Middle School.
Change the World
The 8th grade RIDEE (Research, Ideation, Development, Evaluate, Empowerment) Project provides a platform for students to pursue specific interests and develop a dynamic way to present findings to the greater Presbyterian School community. From virtual reality to the second amendment, eighth grade students choose their topic and build a unique learning experience.
The 8th grade class puts together the annual school musical, the quintessential class project, a collaboration months in the making. Every student plays a role in the musical. The hard work and dedication of our 8th grade students spans all realms of imagination, creativity, and effort to manifest in every aspect of the production. The class is asked to design sets, construct props, rehearse songs, block dances, memorize lines, and practice scene changes ad nauseum. Students also lead from the wings, serving as the essential “set crew” which elevates the flow of the show.
Confidence in every Child
Middle School students at Presbyterian School are expected to demonstrate their learning by creating, collaborating, and presenting. Students grow as a result of intentional reflection and challenging goals for improvement. Our Classroom Learning Cycle focuses beyond “what we know” and challenges students to think about “what we do with what we know.”