Middle School Academics
Students blossom academically and personally when they are engaged in a challenging curriculum in the context of a comfortable, connected and safe community. CCJDS Middle School teachers are subject area specialists who empower students through the close relationships they build around engaging subject material and through the CCJDS social-emotional curriculum. Project-based learning, aligned with the skill expectations students will need for success in a variety of academic settings, is a hallmark of the CCJDS middle school program.
Science features experimentation and lab work rooted in scientific inquiry. Our state-of-the-art lab utilizes cutting-edge technologies that prepare students for rigorous secondary school programs. The 6th grade trip delves into coastal science and natural history near Point Reyes. Each January esteemed scientists from the University of California, Berkeley judge students’ independent research projects at our Annual Science Night. Wise.berkeley.edu, FOSS Curriculum, Prentice Hall Focus on Earth Science, Physical Science, and Life Science.
Math students move at a pace that challenges appropriately so that students are highly engaged and motivated and develop both confidence and enjoyment in math. Students learn conceptual foundations and procedural fluency, both key for math understanding and achievement. Many choose to participate in extra-curricular math activities including the Math Kangaroo International Competition. The majority of graduates place into Geometry or Geometry Honors while some find Algebra or Algebra Two Honors or Advanced Math as a better 9th grade fit. Prentice Hall Math Series, Singapore Math Problem Sets.
English classes focus on the development of expository, narrative and persusaive writing skills through literary analysis, as well as close reading of non-fiction works, research, and argumentation. Students enjoy sharing their work – and earning well-deserved recognition – by participating in our annual CCJDS poetry contest and the Lafayette Youth Arts Society’s Writing and Photography Contest. Each year they also produce their own literary magazine. Novels, short stories, drama, essays and poetry. Examples of the fiction: The Giver, House on Mango Street, Animal Farm.
History encourages students to see the forces of change across time: political, cultural, and social. We seek to empower students to see themselves as change agents that can take an active role in their future. Through discussion, simulations and enactments, students learn to find connections to past and current events. On the 7th grade trip to Los Angeles, students encounter the largest piece of the Berlin Wall (outside of Germany) at the Wende Museum of the Cold War, record their own music at the Grammy Museum, and they learn about the history and repercussions of California’s internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Stanford History project, History Alive Simulations, Textbooks: Civilizations, American History, The Medieval World.
Spanish is a popular elective. Taught by native speakers, these classes provide a solid foundation in conversational Spanish and produce graduates who are ready to enter Spanish II or III in high school.
Middle School Advisory
In Advisory, students shape school culture by reflecting on important issues and planning special projects. Each week, during two 30 minute blocks, students learn listening, empathy and problem solving skills in a safe environment. Students have a place to share issues or challenges. Each advisory group sets a structure for participation so each student has the opportunity to respond or share a new perspective. Students tackle topics like school pride, inclusion and diversity, school-wide celebrations, creating a positive class and school environment, experiential off-campus trips (Yosemite, LA Israel), and starting new clubs, electives or programs. Students may also work on their service learning projects. They experience their school as a place where action and ongoing improvement are core values – and they truly make a difference.