A safe and challenging home through the Middle School years

Sixth Grade

The sixth grade at Poly provides students with a smooth transition from the fifth grade into the Middle School in a program that is designed to meet their developmental needs. It is a year of dramatic growth, in which teachers emphasize the development of organizational, time-management, and study skills in an intellectually rich curriculum. Providing plenty of support, the teachers ask students to apply what they have learned in a variety of ways, such as group work, computer assignments, construction projects, labs, performances, debates, and traditional quizzes and tests. All sixth-graders sample a variety of opportunities, rotating through a number of arts, physical education, and Block classes, allowing them to try many different experiences before they begin to specialize. In English, students work to develop their abilities to write more mature sentences and explore world mythology and utopian societies in class texts. History classes focus on ancient and early medieval world civilizations, with an emphasis on improving study skills and on developing engaged young historians. Themes in English and history classes are closely aligned. Sixth grade math focuses on pre-algebra skills and problem-solving processes, rather than just finding answers. In science, students investigate weather, climate, and the fundamentals of geology, engaging frequently in labs and projects. In the sixth grade, students choose to study the World Language that, in most cases, they will pursue through high school. Serving as the first year of a three-year level one sequence, Latin, French, Spanish, or Mandarin classes introduce students to various languages and their cultures. Optional programs, such as Orchestra, Strings, Band, and Cantatori, provide students with additional opportunities beyond the regular curriculum. The school year is punctuated with exciting events, such as the Big Bear class trip, Building Rome in a Day project, and the Medieval Festival. Poly’s sixth grade welcomes students into a safe home in the Middle School and prepares them to succeed as they move forward on their educational journeys.

Seventh Grade

The seventh grade at Poly challenges students to engage in a program that is designed to meet their developmental needs, with increased independence in their education, increasingly abstract concepts, and more opportunities for extracurricular activities and competitive athletics. Seventh-graders take a more active role in their learning, choosing their arts and physical education electives and managing assignments and group work with more autonomy. They have the opportunity to join the Middle School Debate Team, compete on athletic teams against peer schools, and participate in Orchestra, Strings, Band, and Cantatori. In seventh grade English, students are introduced to analytical writing for literature and poetry through a multicultural canon and a thematic lens of hopes and dreams. In social studies, students spend the year investigating the interaction between the earth’s geography and its cultures, studying the past and the modern world to better understand current global events and issues. In math, students explore concepts in pre-algebra, algebra and geometry, applying their knowledge in a variety of activities and projects. Using an interdisciplinary approach, the science course explores topics in chemistry, ecology, and robotics, emphasizing conceptual understanding with the aim of answering the fundamental question of Middle School students: “When will I ever use this?” In their World Language classes, students continue with second year of the three-year level one course, continuing their study of culture and developing their fluency in grammar, vocabulary and, for the modern languages, oral proficiency. The seventh-graders venture out into the world beyond Poly, camping and backpacking at Joshua Tree National Monument, exploring Downtown Los Angeles, and embarking on World Languages field trips. In a program that is rich in interdisciplinary connections and that emphasizes investigating the world around them, Poly seventh-graders gain a better understanding of their roles as local and global citizens.

Eighth Grade

Eighth grade at Poly is designed to provide an intellectually stimulating program to help students transition to high school. Students are challenged to use their abstract thinking skills and to apply their knowledge creatively in a variety of situations and assignments. Honing their skills, eighth-graders compete at more advanced levels on the Debate Team and on the athletic fields, and they continue to develop their musical talents in Strings, Orchestra, Band, and Cantatori. Not only do they have the opportunity to select their arts and physical education electives, students choose their Block courses as well. In English, students polish their grammar and essay-writing skills, as they develop their abilities to analyze works of literature, supporting their ideas with evidence. The math course is a first-year algebra class, which integrates concepts of geometry, probability, and statistics. In their study of United States history, students investigate the individuals and events that have impacted the nation since 1860. The science class takes advantage of adolescents’ desire to better understand themselves and focuses on human anatomy and physiology, culminating with lessons on social health issues, such as eating disorders, drugs and alcohol, and the reproductive system. The World Language classes serve as the final year of the three-year level one program, preparing students for the challenges of high school language courses. As the oldest students in the Middle School, eighth-graders provide leadership, serving as Middle School presidents and organizing programs, such as Big Sisters/Little Sisters with the sixth-graders. The spring is filled with a series of culminating activities: a daylong class service project, a speech contest in which the finalists orate before the entire Middle School, a field day of inter-advisory competitions, a class trip of canoeing on the Colorado River, and individual student projects. Ending the year with the Honors Day and Promotion ceremonies, the eighth-graders celebrate their successes in Poly’s Middle School and their advancement to high school.
Polytechnic School | 1030 E. California Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91106 | Phone 626.396.6300 | Fax 626.796.2249
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