Middle School is a progressive and exciting time for students. Our Middle School students move from a self-contained room to departmentalized classes engaging in interdisciplinary projects. Along with that class schedule comes new responsibility. Middle School students utilize the fundamentals from Elementary School while refining their study skills and work habits in preparation for the independence necessary for high school. The Unity School staff and faculty are committed to creating an environment where each individual student can learn while still enjoying work. In addition to the core subjects (math, language, science, and social studies), Unity School offers support classes that provide the opportunity for students to experience the fine and performing arts, a foreign language, computer technology, sports development, service-oriented programs, and creative enrichment. Our Student Government, a variety of clubs, and competitions provide additional areas for our students to further their individual interests.
The language arts program at Unity School develops competency in the areas of reading, listening, writing, and speaking. In all grades, reading and comprehension skills are emphasized, from letter recognition and corresponding sounds in Kindergarten to the study of Shakespeare in Middle School. Classic literature is a major component of our reading program and is read aloud in class, helping students to develop essential listening skills. Children are taught to understand social issues through a critical study of novels, art and poetry relating to subjects such as; the Civil Rights Movement, the Holocaust, and acceptance of other cultures.
Written communication skills become increasingly important as the children progress through school and onto professional careers. A strong foundation is established through an early focus on spelling, the skillful use of grammar, and vocabulary development. Students are taught to think critically about what they are reading, to make connections between literature and real life, and to articulate these connections clearly and concisely. Verbal communication is encouraged beyond the classroom setting for all students. The younger children stage plays for parent audiences, breeding confidence as they progress to public speaking in Middle School.
Students at Unity School are taught to value mathematics. Children learn to think logically with opportunities for patterning, comparing, graphing, measuring, analyzing, estimating, problem-solving, and computation. Beginning in the Fourth Grade, advanced students are given the opportunity to attend higher-level math classes where they explore advanced geometric and algebraic concepts. In Middle School, the challenge increases. Teachers capitalize on analogies that emphasize the importance of math in daily life. Students who successfully complete the Middle School curriculum receive high school credit for Algebra 1 and many also qualify for a geometry high school credit.
The social studies/history curriculum at Unity School promotes an awareness of world issues while learning about geography, history, and world economics. In Kindergarten, students learn about community, citizenship, and their local geography. History studies progress through Elementary School, with a focus on American history, famous Americans, and local history. The Sixth Grade curriculum introduces views of world history from the Ancient World through the Age of Colonization. Seventh Grade students explore physical and human world geography including a study of the Holocaust and select a famous landmark to study, located anywhere in the world, to expand their geographical knowledge. Eighth Grade studies begin with the formation of the colonies in 1763 and continue through post-World War II America. At the end of the school year, Eighth Grade students enjoy a class trip to Washington DC, reinforcing the year’s curriculum and introducing them to the history of our country.
The Spanish program for all grades continuously develops the student’s ability to communicate in verbal and written Spanish. Students who complete Spanish in the Eighth Grade have the option to obtain a high school credit in Spanish I.
The science program at Unity School recognizes a student’s innate curiosity about the natural world, and nurtures it through exploration. Starting in Third Grade, Discovery Days are devoted to a particular science concept, allowing children a self-discovery process that generates a deeper, more thorough knowledge of a subject. The Sixth Grade science curriculum begins with an introduction to Earth and Physical Science and ends with a class trip to Sea Camp. Seventh graders study Life Science, followed by Physical Science in the Eighth Grade. From Sixth Grade onwards, students participate individually in the annual Science Fair. Unity students are well prepared for any rigorous high school science program.
In preparation for the Middle School music program, students in Kindergarten through Fifth Grade take a music class that develops their vocal skills. Third Grade students learn to play the recorder, Fourth Grade students play the keyboard and a wind, brass or string instrument of their choice, and students in Fifth Grade begin to work on percussion. Students continue to play these instruments through the Eighth Grade. All students learn to read music and perform in at least three concerts per year. There are also opportunities to join a formal choral group (grades three through eight) and the Hand Bell Choir (grades three through eight) that meet before school. Middle School students may also choose elective classes in chorus, jazz band, and string orchestra.
At Unity School, we believe that there is an artist in everyone. The key is to guide students through seeing and understanding the elements of design and how the design gives artwork visual order. Design concepts are introduced separately, and art projects are created as students layer on one concept at a time. In Middle School, art is offered as an elective.
The computer is integrated into everyday teaching and learning activities at Unity School as a tool to solve problems, research subject matter, and communicate information through design. Beginning as early as First Grade, students are taught keyboarding and word processing skills. Elementary students are exposed to multimedia creativity and publishing software that correlates directly with the math, reading, science, and social studies curricula and are introduced to Internet-based research. Sixth graders continue their keyboarding skills, while acquiring the ability to use Word, Excel, and Power Point software. Upon graduation, students are able to independently conduct Internet-based research, create presentations for group projects, and develop internal and external links. Middle School students may also take electives in Web Page Development and Graphics.
Physical education is a fundamental part of our educational curriculum, contributing to the total growth and development of the children. The program embraces every level of ability and teaches confidence, discipline, and the development of a healthy lifestyle. Helping to keep young bodies and spirits in good shape leads to better concentration and stamina overall and aids in the learning process in the classroom.
The Theater Arts elective for the Middle School offers education in one of the oldest and most distinguished fields of art and teaches students about revolutionary figures in theater and film. It also introduces students to many creative aspects of drama and encourages self-awareness, personal development, and group cooperation. While developing their voices and body movements through acting skills, students will participate in a variety of activities ranging from improvisation, pantomime, reader’s theater, and many others. Guest speakers in the areas of acting, production, and make up also help round out this fun but comprehensive course. In-class activities and skits provide students with skills that aid in memorization and retention which carry over into traditional academic classes.
The Unity School Drama Club offers participation in the annual stage performance of a classic tale, providing stage and behind-the-scenes roles to students in grades five through eight. Assuming both acting and production roles helps students to build confidence and a sense of responsibility.