Middle School Academics
At Keith Country Day School, Middle School academics build upon the language, math, and technology skills learned in the Lower School. Starting in 5th grade, students begin using a laptop computer in every class and technology is integrated into every aspect of the curriculum.
English is a sequential program of grammar, composition, vocabulary, reading, literary criticism, oral expression, and research skills. At each grade level, English classes develop foundation skills while enhancing our students’ ability to present, translate, share and appreciate complex thought through the written word. Additionally, a Language and Composition class is an elective writing course that students may choose to take in place of a second foreign language. In addition to structured coursework throughout their Middle School experience, students are required to read assigned literature and encouraged to develop a love of reading with their own selections. Middle School English courses are designed to prepare students for the rigor and demands of cross-curricular writing in high school and college.
In preparation for one of the region’s most demanding and enriching Upper School science program, Keith’s Middle School science program offers students individualized opportunities to make friends and explore the natural world around them. Our holistic approach allows for specific disciplines of physics, chemistry, biology, and earth science to be incorporated into all science courses and the establishment of a seamless curriculum into the Upper School. In partnership with the Lower and Upper School faculty, the Middle School curriculum builds on previous knowledge and prepares students for success in subsequent courses. Each course uses National Science Education Standards, Benchmarks for Science Literacy, and Core Standards established by the National Science Teachers Association to build the foundation for learning key concepts in becoming competent scientists of the future. Developed around a constructivist-learning model of education philosophy, our thematic, hands-on, multi-sensory curriculum includes skill development in early literacy, mathematics, the use of technology in scientific investigations, and the synthesis of classroom content with real-world experiences and observations.
The science faculty recognizes that the disciplines of science are continually evolving and new issues and controversies are always emerging. They are not only masters of their content area, but they also understand the different ways that children learn. Our faculty appreciates that for students to learn we need to give them time to collaborate, relate the material to the learner’s interests and experiences, and develop products that not only hone rote skills but also solidify conceptual understanding. Our courses offer each student an opportunity to build on previously learned knowledge through research, experimentation, presentation, and discussion. Our underlying educational approach is designed to challenge higher order thinking skills and introduce students to realistic methods of science.
Keith is very fortunate to have a 15-acre property that is nestled in a quiet residential neighborhood, surrounded by beautiful trees and a picturesque view of the Rock River. It is the perfect environment for young students to explore the world around them. It is located less than a half a mile from community resources like Sinnissippi Park, the University of Illinois Medical School, the Nicholas Conservatory, and the Anderson Japanese Gardens, many of which allow unique learning opportunities for Keith students.
Keith’s Middle School math program and curriculum, while traditional in nature, offers students several strong college-preparatory courses which continue through high school. Although the coursework often paces at an honors level, we are able to meet the needs of a wide range of students and provide additional resource time for students who need extra help.
Keith’s mathematics department centers upon the standards set forth by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Critical thinking skills, an appreciation of the scope of mathematics, logic, reasoning, and problem-solving all are major components of the department. Middle School course offerings include basic math concepts and evolve to pre-algebra and accelerated algebra.
In the Middle School, we focus on world geography, history, culture, and current events. Courses follow a regional approach to the study of the historical, political, economic and cultural development of the world. Our goal with Middle School social studies is to help students develop skills that will be essential to their success in Upper School coursework including critical thinking, reading with understanding, clear written and oral communication, and focused study and research. Teachers train students to interpret and create maps, charts, and graphs, as well as to use technology as a tool for research projects and presentations.
Students who are well-prepared for the global economy of tomorrow must be able to work in diverse groups, communicate in more than one language, and appreciate the diversity of world cultures. Keith’s Middle School offers an inspiring foreign language curriculum that includes Latin, Spanish and French. In fact, most Middle School students take two foreign languages.
Keith’s high school graduation requirement is to study one language for a minimum of four years, but students can take one modern language and Latin for all six years if they choose. Our belief is that students learn a foreign language in a deeper way that benefits them beyond our school walls rather than a spattering of first-year courses only.
In an accelerated academic setting, technology is used to enhance individual learning. Now, more than ever, it is a critical ingredient to a global education. Connectivity is the new essential for students and parents to communicate and collaborate. At Keith, students begin using a laptop computer in every class starting in fifth grade. Applications like Google Apps for Education and NetClassroom provide students, faculty, and parents an array of customizable tools to work together more effectively. Hardware such as SMART boards and the Epson Industrial Projectors play a major role during classroom instruction. To prepare both our Middle and Upper school students to compete and thrive in college and their future careers, technology is integrated into all aspects of the curriculum.