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Middle School

Middle School students smiling working together at a table
Middle School Head Hassan Jones

Welcome

The Middle School path at Collegiate is designed to instill into adolescence curiosity, courage, and confidence. We focus on teaching students how to think instead of what to think.  The journey begins with the strong relationships carefully nurtured between students and teachers.  Through our unique advisory program and various opportunities for enrichment beyond the classroom, our students are challenged to discover, examine, and explore both their own identities and the world around them.  

By being curious, our students learn to ask the right questions, to think independently, and to solve problems in many different ways.  With the support of caring teachers dedicated to the academic, social, and emotional development of boys, our students learn how to act with courage, and to confidently grow into who they will become.  Having curiosity, courage, and confidence is what provides a Collegiate boy with the skills and habits he needs to be successful in Middle School and beyond.  

Dr. Hassan Jones
Middle School Head

Why Our Middle School?

We offer a vibrant, intellectually challenging, and socially and emotionally engaging program purposely designed to nurture the growth and development of boys. Through relationship-driven teaching, leadership opportunities, and an array of rich academic classes and extracurricular activities, our boys learn how to have fun while learning. The boys will get to make important choices; such as which language to study, which string instrument to play, and which art to specialize in seventh and eighth grade. Finally, in eighth grade the students can opt to study Latin or Engineering and Design. It is also the first time when students learn to manage their own learning, during study hall and at the after school help center, and their own free time, during breaks or a club time.

Each student is assigned a dedicated faculty advisor who closely monitors their academic, social, and emotional growth. We are on hand to support each student especially during this time when organization and executive functioning can be challenging. This, combined with our small class sizes and our teachers who understand the physically active and emotionally engaging learning needs of boys, provides a learning environment where every boy can truly thrive and be himself.  

students sitting on the curved seating area on the fourth floor

What we offer to students

Our Curriculum

Our Middle School curriculum offers an array of offerings that are thoughtful and purposeful. It is built sequentially so each grade level is developmentally appropriate. Please select the grade you wish to explore. 
Art - Eighth Grade

Eighth graders explore the use of photography and motion, including the use of video. Students draw and paint from observation, including a painted self-portrait. They then experience an advanced fiber art project. 

Art - Fifth Grade

Fifth grade artists have greater independence and responsibility in the studios.  Highlights of the year include printmaking, digital animation, clay sculpture and painting.  An emphasis is paid to safely using materials and tools, and using appropriate vocabulary. 

Art - Seventh Grade

In seventh grade, students create a gridded, shaded self-portraits and an expressive painting or printmaking project.  Students sculpt with fiber, create clay sculptures based on their observations, and paint acrylic landscapes.  Students take field trips to museums as an inspiration for their own work. 

Art - Sixth Grade

Sixth Grade artists expand on skills and techniques practicing linear point perspective drawing, color-mixing for painting, reduction- and mono-printing. Sculpturally, sixth graders use clay, fiber and cardboard to create expressive and functional pieces.  

Drama - Eighth Grade

The emphasis in eighth grade Drama is focused on the concept of working with text. The goal of this class is to explore theatrical texts through the work of the playwright, actor, and dramaturg. Some of the highlights of eighth grade drama include, going to see plays on and off Broadway, the Activist Artists dramaturgy project, and writing 10 minute plays to be performed for Arts Day.

Drama - Seventh Grade

Under the concept of building a character, the goal of this class is to explore seeing the world from another perspective by inhabiting different characters in a variety of ways. Some of the highlights of seventh grade drama include learning about “red nose” clowning and performing a Commedia dell’Arte play for Arts Day. Past seventh grade plays have included: The Servant of Two Masters, The King Stag, and The Love of Three Oranges.

Drama - Sixth Grade

Under the concept of storytelling and collaboration, the goal of this class is to learn different historical and modern theatrical techniques and to make collaboration and self expression a comfortable habit. The students learn about Bunraku puppetry, use comedy in storytelling, and put on a Festival of Dionysus. Sixth graders also have the opportunity to audition for an after school production in the fall; past titles have included James and the Giant Peach, The Lightning Thief, and Haroun and the Sea of Stories.

Engineering and Design - Eighth Grade

Our class focuses on four different disciplines; design, programming, electronics, and fabrication. The students gain foundational knowledge through readings, discussions and exercises but most importantly through hands-on projects. Students get an introduction into 2D and 3D design software and fabricate custom parts for their projects using 3D printers, CNC routers, laser cutters, and traditional woodworking tools. They explore programming through the language of C/C++ and Arduino microcontrollers and use that knowledge to program electronic components that bring their projects to life. The students do all of this under the umbrella of the design thinking process.

English - Eighth Grade

The eighth-grade curriculum helps students become inquisitive, lucid, and compelling in their thinking, writing, speaking, and listening. Students write analytical essays, personal narratives, and a persuasive speech. The course is organized by genre and students learn about the ways in which literary form shapes meaning by reading novels, memoirs, short stories, plays, and poetry. Sample texts include J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, Richard Wright’s Black Boy, part I, Samhita Arni’s Sita’s Ramayana, William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and select lyric poetry.

English - Fifth Grade

The goal of the curriculum is to explore the nature of heroism, in all the different forms a hero takes. Throughout the year, students have opportunities to read and write both fiction and non-fiction, and present work to classmates. This course will also include the formal study of vocabulary and grammar. Sample texts include: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, The War that Saved My Saved Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradle, and Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin.

English - Seventh Grade

Our curriculum focuses on individual expression and the formation of identity through the spoken and written word. Many of the selected texts for this course are memoirs, novels, and plays about identity, family, and culture. As we explore various kinds of literature, the course focuses on personal essay writing and building an extensive portfolio of personal essays. Students also write analytical essays and present a scene from a Shakespeare play. Sample texts include Lorraine’s Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Benjamin Alire-Saenz’s Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.

English - Sixth Grade

The goal of the curriculum is to explore common fictional narratives and to interrogate those stories through the reading of fairy tales, parables, myths, and mysteries. Many of the selected texts are familiar stories told in new ways to encourage us to think critically about narrative, norms, and stereotypes. Students are engaged as writers themselves by writing both fiction and non-fiction pieces, formal paragraphs, personal essays, short stories, and poetry. Students also study vocabulary and grammar. Sample texts include: Grimms’ Fairy Tales, Animal Farm by George Orwell, The Chosen by Lois Lowry, and The Crossover by Kwame Alexander.

French - Eighth Grade

We continue to use a communicative and interactive approach, and to encourage students to develop the complexity of their speaking and listening skills.  Students review material learned in previous levels using the web-based textbook D’Accord. They work with authentic resources to improve understanding of French as it is spoken today, and read a short story, create a project on French regions, and complete an in-depth study of a film.

French - Fifth Grade

The fifth grade uses the method Loustics 1 through which students are exposed to language used in true-to-life situations and authentic communication. Students also work with French is Fun, read Jean-Paul et ses bonnes idées, watch animated movies in French, sing and play games. In the course of the year, they complete a project on Francophone countries and another one on body parts that culminates in a “Monsters” exhibition.  

French - Seventh Grade

The emphasis of the year continues to be interpersonal interaction. New words and structures are contextualized in our textbook, D’Accord 1, and in other accessible materials to enrich communication. Songs, games, and films help reinforce the material as students acquire new vocabulary and grammar and improve listening comprehension and expression. Students profit from the access to technology to work with authentic French documents and then develop projects independently.

French - Sixth Grade

Students develop their interpersonal and presentational skills through authentic materials and activities while learning new and more complex grammar and vocabulary. The material is always presented in the context of real-world situations to create connections. Equipped with technological and cultural skills, students also work on long-term projects that advance presentational competence such as a project on the organization of a sports day at school. 

History - Eighth Grade

We examine global history from the beginning of agriculture up until 1500. In addition to studying specific societies, we examine dynamics and structures common to different cultures, as well as how those cultures interact. The class explores a variety of perspectives, including social, political, cultural, economic, religious, and environmental history. We encourage a curiosity and appreciation of the past, purposefully relate the present to the past, and develop critical thinking and academic skills.

History - Fifth Grade

Students build their own “historian’s toolbox” by learning the tools of the trade: analytical thinking, note-taking, interpreting sources, synthesizing information, and both informative and analytical writing. They use these tools to learn about life in premodern societies, such as Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley, China, classical Greece and Rome, African kingdoms of Egypt, Kush, Axum, and Mali, as well as American societies prior to European contact. Throughout, students will confront questions about the nature of human society.

History - Seventh Grade

We examine issues of citizenship, exploring the essential questions: What is government, and why is it essential?; What does the government owe us, and what is its impact on our lives?; What does it mean to be a good citizen, and how do we hold government accountable? The curriculum continues to stress the development of academic skills as it explores the foundations of American government, the functions of federal, state, and local governments, the U.S. economy, and U.S. foreign policy.

History - Sixth Grade

Our overarching question is: How did we get to where we are now? Beginning with the late 15th century CE, students learn about colonization, capitalism, and industrialization before investigating the 20th-21st centuries via case studies in human geography and current events. They practice requisite skills of historical thinking: source evaluation, synthesizing information, argumentation, and analytical writing, as well as note-taking and other study skills. As students learn, they also study terrain, climate, natural resources, and political geography. 

Latin - Eighth Grade

Latin is introduced as an option in eighth Grade. A rigorous program establishes a foundation for a continued study in the Upper School. In addition to teaching the fundamentals of the Latin language, it gives students the opportunity to understand how grammar works in many languages, including English. Excerpts from ancient authors are incorporated into the class.

MakerTech - Fifth Grade

The fifth MakerTech class is an exploration into the world of technology through hands-on projects. As our students' imaginations run wild in the makerspace, we aim to focus their enthusiasm to make whatever they can imagine into something tangible. Programming is a foundational skill for the year. We build on the concepts- sequential thinking, syntax, variables, control structures – while introducing them to a range of programming languages and environments. Instruction in electronics, design and fabrication (2D and 3D) are essential companions to programming that allow us to make the creative projects. At all times we focus on being responsible digital citizens. 

Mandarin - Eighth Grade

The four skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing are expanded with the acquisition of complex grammatical structures and vocabulary, and an emphasis on more substantial conversations and writing tasks. Lesson topics include family relationships, Chinese festivals, medicine, and the arts. Traditions are explored through authentic materials including films, news articles and calligraphy. 

Mandarin - Fifth Grade

The course begins with a basic training in pronunciation and an overview of fundamentals for Chinese character strokes, while the ensuing practice throughout the year reinforces the students’ competence in these areas. Meanwhile, all four language skills – listening, speaking, reading, and writing – are incorporated into the study of the following basic themes: names, nationalities, family and friends, school, numbers, animals, body parts, the use of calendars and addresses, food, colors, and fruits. 

Mandarin - Seventh Grade

Students expand their knowledge of key structures and vocabulary. Rigorous practice of spoken and written Chinese in everyday-life situations is a focus of the course.

Teacher-generated texts and authentic materials, such as short articles from Chinese newspapers and clips from Chinese television, support students’ acquisition of the language. Topics include community relations, giving and requesting directions, the house, the Chinese New Year, school schedules and subjects as well as Chinese geography and cities. 

Mandarin - Sixth Grade

Presentational and interpersonal skills are emphasized throughout the year. The students augment their vocabulary and acquire an understanding of more complex grammatical structures. In addition to the textbook, students begin to use authentic materials. This year’s topics include locations, transportation, daily schedules, weather, sports and leisure activities, calligraphy, shopping, clothes, and Chinese food.  

Music - Eighth Grade

In the seventh and eighth grades, students may choose to continue with the string orchestra program or a different music class. The seven/eight Orchestra is part of the larger Collegiate Orchestra and works on pieces for the three main concerts that happen throughout the school year.  Other options include a Music Production/Electronic Music course.  

Using MIDI, drum machines, synthesizers, and samplers, students learn about rhythm, harmony, and melody and how to use them to create music. A third option is the A Cappella class for beginning and experienced vocalists interested in performing music without instrument

Music - Fifth Grade

The signature musical experience in the fifth and sixth grades is the string program. Boys have the opportunity to learn either the violin, the viola, the cello, or the bass for two years, and perform at least four times in a large string orchestra. Collegiate provides the instruments and employs inspiring and talented artist-instructors to teach each instrument. 

Music - Seventh Grade

In the seventh and eighth grades, students may choose to continue with the string orchestra program or a different music class. The seven/eight Orchestra is part of the larger Collegiate Orchestra and works on pieces for the three main concerts that happen throughout the school year.  Other options include a Music Production/Electronic Music course.  

Using MIDI, drum machines, synthesizers, and samplers, students learn about rhythm, harmony, and melody and how to use them to create music. A third option is the A Cappella class for beginning and experienced vocalists interested in performing music without instruments.

Music - Sixth Grade

The signature musical experience in the fifth and sixth grades is the string program. Boys have the opportunity to learn either the violin, the viola, the cello, or the bass for two years, and perform at least four times in a large string orchestra. Collegiate provides the instruments and employs inspiring and talented artist-instructors to teach each instrument. 

Physical Education - Eighth Grade

The goal of the program is to provide students with the skills necessary to live healthy and active lifestyles. We work to instill the concept of good sportsmanship and cooperation with others and the program develops physical skills in an appropriate sequence. Students can join an interscholastic team or a Physical Education class. Teams include basketball, baseball, wrestling, soccer, cross country, and track and field.

Physical Education - Fifth Grade

The boys are exposed to a variety of movement opportunities and a sequence of activities that allow students to grow developmentally. Students improve fundamental physical skills through practice and application. In order to commit to a lifetime of healthy behaviors they experience several options for movement and sport. Units include soccer, flag football, baseball, cross country, speedball, basketball, wrestling, volleyball, racquet sports, team handball, floor hockey, and track and field.

Physical Education - Seventh Grade

The goal of the program is to provide students with the skills necessary to live healthy and active lifestyles. We work to instill the concept of good sportsmanship and cooperation with others and the program develops physical skills in an appropriate sequence. Students can join an interscholastic team or a Physical Education class. Teams include basketball, baseball, wrestling, soccer, cross country, and track and field.

Physical Education - Sixth Grade

The boys are exposed to a variety of movement opportunities and a sequence of activities that allow students to grow developmentally. Students improve fundamental physical skills through practice and application. In order to commit to a lifetime of healthy behaviors they experience several options for movement and sport. Units include soccer, flag football, baseball, cross country, speedball, basketball, wrestling, volleyball, racquet sports, team handball, floor hockey, and track and field.

Religion - Seventh Grade

In this class, we explore two essential questions: What is the purpose and impact of religions? What are the similarities and differences among religions? Students gain a rich global perspective as they explore and compare religious foundations and philosophies and the profound effect they’ve had throughout history, our cultures, and on our daily lives.  While examining these perspectives, lifestyles, and traditions, students gain empathy as they reckon with the differences and similarities in each. They will also experience New York City's religious diversity through experiential learning.

Science - Eighth Grade

Students develop their research and study skills by integrating hands-on projects and experiments with a higher-level exploration of topics in chemistry, physics, and biology.  Notable activities include the paper roller coaster project, the sludge lab, the kinematics video project, and the nuclear chemistry research project.  Students practice applying physics formulas and conduct chemistry experiments to build a foundation for deep engagement with these topics.

Science - Fifth Grade

Students experience a variety of topics related to both life science and physical science. These range from the cell and its structures to the mechanics of electricity.  Through a mixture of hands-on projects, class activities, and modular e-texts, fifth graders develop skills in scientific inquiry and learn to describe and explain various scientific phenomena.

Science - Seventh Grade

Seventh grade marks a jump from following the scientific method to applying it.  Students will design, carry out, and submit formal lab reports on their own experiments.  Concurrently, they engage deeply with life science topics such as cell biology, Mendelian and molecular genetics, classification, and evolution.  Students continue to practice methodical and systematic notetaking in order to prepare for a variety of assessments that require increased critical thinking and analytical skills.

Science - Sixth Grade

Students further develop their inquiry skills while engaging more deeply with science content. Topics include scientific methods, astronomy, geology, ecology, and chemistry. There are opportunities for students to build models, make videos, and practice experiments.  Students also learn and practice a systematic notetaking method that helps them organize their ideas and to develop a more critical and analytical engagement with class topics.

Spanish - Eighth Grade

The emphasis of this course is to improve and refine students’ communication skills in Spanish. We study all verb tenses as well as new grammatical structures and idiomatic expressions. Writing activities become more substantial as we strive for accuracy. Teachers utilize audio-visual devices to present and practice the material and for some units the students create and present projects. We also focus on the development of reading skills through age-appropriate literature.

Spanish - Fifth Grade

This course focuses on communication about everyday life topics through project-based instruction. Students learn vocabulary and basic grammar through oral and written practice and through exposure to infographics and audio-visual materials. They watch movies, sing songs, play word games, participate in thematic skits, and acquire the foundational skills needed to study a language. Students also work individually and collaboratively on an array of presentational projects. 

Spanish - Seventh Grade

The students focus on the development and improvement of the four language skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. There is an emphasis on new grammatical concepts, vocabulary, and cultural topics. Teachers utilize audio-visual devices to present and practice new topics. Students are expected to showcase their work and language skills through presentations. We also build on reading and writing skills through age-appropriate readers.

Spanish - Sixth Grade

Students use storytelling in conjunction with teacher-generated materials to improve their communication skills. They acquire more complex grammar and vocabulary in an interactive setting while films, music, games, skits and dialogues remain central to their classroom experience. As students continue to work on projects, they practice with larger compositional formats in their writing and begin to explore the cultural traditions of Hispanophone countries.

8th grade students surrounded by their roller coaster
Middle School Highlights

Roller Coaster Project

A highly anticipated project in eighth grade science allows the boys to employ physics and build a roller coaster. 

5th grade students in the 8th floor commons for their class meeting
Middle School Highlights

Class Meetings

Each grade comes together each week to meet as a unique community. This not only builds camaraderie among classmates but also provides opportunities for special programming.

Students playing basketball on the roof deck
Middle School Highlights

Down Time

We make sure that our Middle School students have an appropriate amount of movement and mind breaks. One favorite activity during break time is to visit the rooftop for some vigorous play.

Students studying at the After School Help Center
Middle School Highlights

After School Help Center

Middle School students can attend the After-School Help Center. Both teachers and older students help learners with their homework in an informal setting.

three students at a table in the maker space working on robotics
Middle School Highlights

Robotics Club

A variety of clubs are offered in the Middle School. Shown here is the popular Robotics club that meets in the Makerspace after school.

%22Monsters%22 created by language students
Middle School Highlights

The Monsters Project

Fifth-grade Spanish, French and Chinese classes all simultaneously study elements of a monster. They then use that vocabulary to create an actual monster that are then displayed.