Middle School Student Life

Middle School student life is a bustling, vibrant community of teachers and fifth through eighth grade students. These “middle” years are a time for students to take on increased academic responsibility as well as enhanced involvement in community service, student government, sports, and extracurricular activities. While other private schools may only focus on the environment or the arts, Keith’s has a variety of clubs and organizations to encourage students to become involved in community service projects. In essence, the Middle School is committed to helping young people grow and mature in as many ways as possible.

Click on any of the arrows below to learn more about Middle School student life.

  • After-School Study Hall

    Our Middle School students have the opportunity to participate in study hall after school until 5:30 p.m. All students are supervised by a faculty proctor who is available for homework help. Students can also use the time to connect directly with teachers if they need extra help.
  • Advisory Program

    All Middle School students are assigned to an advisory group, which meets each morning during the homeroom time slot. The advisory program plays a critical role in monitoring and supporting academic and social progress so that each student feels known, heard and understood. Advisory groups are small, grade-level cohorts.

    Advisory groups focus on issues that relate to students in their roles as people, as learners, and as members of the community. The ultimate goal is for students to understand themselves better and to explore topics as varied as developing personal goals, celebrating accomplishments and avoiding bad decisions. Advisors are also available to meet with families as the need arises.

  • Rotating Schedule

    At Keith, we understand that curricular boundaries prevent and discourage our students’ hunger for learning. It is for that reason that many years ago, our school established a unique, rotating schedule to support new and existing programming and provide choices for coursework. Students are presented topics on rotating days and times and have the opportunity to explore more electives. The system has proven successful in helping students and faculty to be at their best while promoting time management skills.
  • Foreign Language

    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, with most students taking two languages. Keith’s high school graduation requirement is to study one language for a minimum of four years, but have the option of studying a modern language and Latin for all six years if they choose.
  • Academic Teams

    Certamen is an oral team competition with a format which is a cross between that of College Bowl and that of Jeopardy. It requires a broad-based knowledge of the classics. Questions cover the Latin language (vocabulary, grammar, derivatives), as well as classical mythology, history, and culture. Teams of four students compete in four levels: Junior High, Latin I, Latin II, and Advanced (Latin III-V). Keith has been a member of the Illinois Certamen League for several decades, competing annually in three meets with schools in the Northwestern Illinois Regionals.

    Math Competitions
    Keith Middle and Upper school students have the opportunity to compete in high-level mathematics competitions. Once a year, seventh and eighth grade students participate in MathCounts, an event designed to inspire excellence, confidence and curiosity through fun and challenging math programs.

    Middle School Quiz Bowl/Scholastic Bowl
    Is your brain filled with tons of facts, information, and trivia? Then this is the club for you! Quiz Bowl is a Middle School activity where four-person teams compete in an academic competition. Competition material comes from social studies, mathematics, language arts, health, current events, fine arts, sports and popular culture. The quiz bowl season runs from the winter to late spring. There are teams available for a variety of grades and skill levels, so any middle schooler is welcome to participate.

    The Middle School Scholastic Bowl is an academic competition with a quiz-bowl format designed to encourage and promote academic excellence. Teams consists of five players who are asked questions that demand quick recall of facts from all academic areas, as well as general knowledge, current events, sports and the arts. Based on student interest, up to four scholastic bowl teams will participate in any given season with the top team competing at the end of the season in both regional and statewide tournaments.

  • Student Interest Clubs

    We offer an abundance of enrichment programs and opportunities including more than 35 leadership, academic and special interest organizations. Click on the topics below to learn more.

    Ambassadors Club
    The Ambassadors Club promotes friendship, service, and school spirit as the “face of Keith” in the school community. Members volunteer at various admission functions throughout the school year, conduct shadow visits, and act as hosts at school events. The Ambassadors Club is open to Middle and Upper School students.

    Camp Timber-lee
    Each fall Keith fifth and eighth graders head off with their faculty advisors for team building, leadership training and outdoor education at Camp Timber-lee. This experience offers a wide variety of activities for students to be exposed to hands-on learning in the outdoors. Zip lines, camping, climbing towers, archery, boating and much more are all part of the experience.

    Ceramics Club
    Ceramics Club gives current or aspiring potters an opportunity to practice their art under the guidance of renown Raku artist, Robert Sunday. In addition to pottery, the club also works on sculptures and other ways to work with clay as an art form.

    Chess Club
    The Chess Club meets weekly to learn the game of chess and challenge each other to improve skills and strategy. You will often times find a student playing against a teacher during Chess Club meetings. While the competition can become fierce, the Chess Club appreciates new members who who want to play a game that is easy to learn, but difficult to master.

    French Club
    French Club is open to any Keith Middle or Upper School student who is currently enrolled in a French class, or would like to learn more about France and other Francophone countries. Meetings are held on Fridays after school, and students share French food and watch French-speaking videos and films.

    Game Club
    Keith School’s board game club brings students together to play modern board/card games. The games played emphasize strategy, cooperation, and many other skills that are notably absent from most traditional board games.

    Interact Club
    Interact Clubs are sponsored by Rotary Clubs as a program of Rotary International. The name was created by combining the words “international” and “action.” It fosters leadership and responsible citizenship and promotes international understanding and peace. Rotary Clubs provide guidance and inspiration, but the Interact Clubs are self-governing and self-supporting.

    Middle School Student Government
    This elected group of class representatives meets weekly to organize middle school social opportunities such as dances, rec nights, fundraisers, open gym nights, off campus social events and team building projects. There are two “Middle School Class Representative” positions open for each of the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. The offices of Treasurer and Secretary are open to 7th and 8th graders and the offices of President and Vice President are open to 8th graders. Middle School Student Government is a fun leadership and character-building organization.

    Ping Pong Club
    The Ping Pong Club is a fun Friday activity for students to hang out after school and play ping pong on the third floor of the Middle and Upper school building. This activity is open to all students.

    Robotics Club
    The Keith Middle School Robotics Club is open to 5th through 8th grade students and is focused around competing in the Illinois and National FIRST LEGO LEAGUE competitions. FIRST LEGO LEAGUE’S motto is ‘Tomorrow’s innovators practice imaginative thinking and teamwork’. Guided by adult Coaches, FIRST LEGO League teams research a real-world problem such as food safety, recycling, energy, long term space exploration, etc., and are challenged to develop a solution. They also must design, build, program a robot using LEGO MINDSTORMS® technology, then compete on a table-top playing field.

    It all adds up to tons of fun while they learn to apply science, technology, engineering, and math concepts (STEM), plus a big dose of imagination, to solve a problem. Along their discovery journey, they develop critical thinking and team-building skills, basic STEM applications, and even presentation skills, as they must present their solutions with a dash of creativity to judges.

    Tri-M Music Society
    Tri-M is an Upper and Middle school music honor society. It is designed to recognize students for their academic and musical achievements, reward them for their accomplishments and service activities and to inspire other students to excel at music and leadership. The Keith chapter, run by the students but supervised by an advisor, is one of 4,500 participating in several countries.

    Washington D.C. Trip
    This trip is offered every other year to 7th and 8th grade students. Students spend four days in the Washington D.C. area seeing exciting places like the Smithsonian, the White House, Gettysburg, Arlington National Cemetery, Fort McHenry, the Spy Museum, National Monuments, the National Archives, and dozens more sites during this action-packed trip.

    Mock Elections
    The Middle School organizes and runs school-wide “mock” elections during election years. All middle schoolers are welcome to participate and help organize the election, create the voter awareness assembly, “register” student voters, work the election booths, and give speeches for political candidates.

  • Community Service

    Middle School students are encouraged to log 10 hours of community service to prepare them for the 90-hour graduation requirement. Once a year, Middle School advisory groups take a trip to perform community service projects, providing the students with a variety of experiences to appreciate the diverse needs of the community and promote philanthropy. Additional goals for the program are to:

    • Develop character by providing services to those in need.
    • Appreciate the diversity of the global community and to accept responsibility for the development of that community.
    • Foster the spirit of volunteerism as an integral part of the American way of life.
    • Share the resources and talents of the Keith student body while acquiring new skill as volunteers.

  • College and Career Preparation

    The College Counseling Office helps students understand their personal and intellectual strengths, passions and aspirations, and unique identity. College preparation is the primary emphasis, which begins in the Middle School and continues through the Upper School years.

    Middle School students are exposed to a variety of careers through career exploration activities. Personal values, interests, and goals are surveyed, and Middle School students begin to understand unique abilities and how they can contribute to the world. At the end of Middle School, a high school course plan is developed which will challenge each student to reach his/her college and career goals.

  • Learning Resources

    Keith Country Day School strives to have all students gain independence in their work habits, confidence in their ability to learn and development of the ability to retain academic material. Our learning resources department provides students with the extra help they need to be successful by developing skills and helping with time management. Other forms of assistance can involve reading, writing and study skills development, math tutoring, test-taking strategies and working in small groups.