The Middle School program emphasizes a multidisciplinary, theme-based approach to offer increased challenge and dimension to exploratory learning fostered in earlier grades. Applying knowledge outside the classroom is at the program's core.
Through the use of source material, in-depth study, and off-campus experiences, students engage with information and develop a strong sense of their academic goals. An emphasis on social and emotional learning helps meet growing adolescents' developmental needs, which is a key factor in gifted students' academic success.
Through physical education, students understand that physical activity provides opportunities for enjoyment, challenge, and self-expression. Teachers encourage students to demonstrate responsible personal and social behavior during activities and emphasize the importance of respecting others.
The humanities program utilizes interdisciplinary curricula in which students apply theories and concepts to material. Teachers incorporate history, geography, and language arts to explore a central theme, topic, or experience. Through studying archaeology, sociology, economics, and political science, students hone critical-thinking and communication skills.
Mathematics emphasizes conceptual understanding, reasoning, communication, and problem solving. At each grade level, four major strands are integrated into learning: Data, Numbers, Geometry, and Algebra. This broad perspective on math helps children deeply connect to math concepts and other disciplines.
Teachers use a variety of tools, from manipulatives such as multibase blocks and algebra tiles to graphing calculators and computers. Collaborative work in small groups emphasizes open dialogue and debate about multiple solution strategies. By eighth-grade graduation, most students complete at least the equivalent of traditional ninth-grade Algebra I.
Science fosters inquiry and discovery through an integrated program of physical, earth, and life sciences. Our faculty enhances curricula with hands-on experiments, technology, and mathematical analysis. Innovative classroom investigations encourage logical thinking and creative expression.
The program incorporates interdisciplinary methods that open doors to greater complexity and real-world application. Curricula includes art projects to explore the principles of physics, literature to raise questions about scientific ethics, and field trips for observing living systems and environmental research. Each experience using the scientific method emphasizes understanding nature while children develop a sense of responsibility for environmental preservation.
Beginning in sixth grade, students choose to study Japanese, Mandarin, or Spanish. All three languages are highly integrated into the Middle School humanities curriculum, including the study of history, art, architecture, and culture. In seventh grade, language study intensifies to include verbs, a larger vocabulary, and conversational language. During eighth grade, the language program extends across curricula, integrating history, literature, and art.
Our young language scholars also have the opportunity to practice the language they study by speaking with native speakers, either by interacting with exchange students visiting Nueva or by traveling to one or more countries in which the language is spoken.
Faculty-led advisory groups meet regularly to review organizational strategies and set personal goals with Middle School students. The mixed-age groups give children the opportunity to share experiences and to mentor younger students. Advisory groups discuss issues pertinent to their growth as students and individuals.