As your child moves into grades 5 - 8, the challenges increase while the nurturing support continues. The combination of high academic expectations with a supportive community ethic encourages your child’s achievement while building confidence for ongoing school success.
The academic aspects of school life complement the school’s strong values and focus on character. Your child will blossom in an environment that encourages the virtues of hard work, perseverance, respect, justice, and community service. The classroom and daily schedule provide an orderly learning process with the flexibility to ensure your child refines his/her voice and utilizes his/her gifts, imagination and curiosity, in a close-knit community where learning is challenging and fun.
The Academy’s 5th - 8th grade program combines over 150 years of tradition with the latest innovations, including interactive Star Board technology in many classrooms. At the Academy, your child will blossom in a learning environment that promotes academic excellence in a kind and caring community.
Humanities studies focus on Theology, Social Studies, Language Arts, World Languages, as well as Art and Music classes. Theological studies explore Bible literacy, while emphasizing moral character and social responsibility, both within the Academy community and in the broader world. Social studies focus on the Ancient World and US Government, which ensures students understand the elements of western civilization grounded in the American polity. In Language Arts, students gain skills in approaching a wide range of literary genres, while mastering increasingly complex writing challenges. Language study provides options for French or Spanish, while art and music are emphasized both through specialized classes and in many of the humanities classrooms. Learn more about the Academy's REACH Program for accelerated learning in Language Arts and the World Language Program. See more on the Humanities Curriculum.
Emphasizes God’s goodness and God’s presence in your child’s life, in worship, and in commitment to service. Study emphasizes understanding self, positive values, and moral decision-making.
The grade 5 curriculum focuses on the exploration of the new world and the discovery of ancient civilizations. Students will also learn about the founding and expansion of the English Colonies. They will also participate in a colonial fair. In grade 6, students learn about the ancient civilizations of the east including: ancient Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt, ancient China, ancient Greece, and ancient Rome. They will also participate in a ancient civilizations fair to demonstrate their knowledge. Grades 7 and 8 focus on American history from 1750-1960. Grade 7 students focus on early American history while covering events from the foundation of the nation to the Civil War. Grade 8 students pick up right after the Civil War and continue through to the Cold War. In both grades, students learn how to write professional research papers in history through extensive essay and thesis development skills.
Reading & English Language Arts (ELA)
Focuses on mastering strong reading and writing skills. This will be achieved through independent and guided reading of quality literature, building a strong vocabulary, and modeling/practicing formal and informal writing throughout the curriculum. An exploration of literary genres emphasizes critical thinking while exploring literary elements. Writing, along with oral communication skills, are developed through an organized writing process that emphasizes strong mechanics and grammar. Writing includes narration, description, opinion pieces, research, as well as creative writing. See Academy's REACH Program for accelerated learning in Language Arts.
In Grades 5-8, students are exposed to more comprehensive foreign language development. Grade 5 students take both French and Spanish for one semester each, but by Grade 6 they have selected the language of their choice for full time (5 days a week) study. The program adopts a broad spectrum of communication skills utilizing the 5 C's of essential foreign language development: Communication, Culture, Connections, Comparisons, and Community. Diverse and engaging teaching strategies – including speaking, writing dialogues, performing skits, listening to CDs and DVDs – help students develop mastery in the alphabet, colors, numbers, days of the week, familiar objects, seasons and culture. Students perform Christmas songs in either French or Spanish for the annual Christmas concert. The program follows the inclusion method of study where at least 50% of classroom instruction occurs in the target language. By 7/8 grade, students at the Academy are often ready for Spanish II or French II at the Academy’s upper school for girls and at other outstanding local high schools around the area. Learn more about the Academy's World Language Program.
Science, Technology, Engineering Math
In STEM (Science, Techonology, Engineering and Math), the focus is on the technology side so as to introduce students to the Macintosh I5 computers which are available for their use in the computer labs. Since the computers are PC compatible, students will be learning programming and making use of applications on both Apple and PC platforms. In addition, students will create innovative projects and practice teamwork problem solving in the math and engineering areas.
Each section of classes will have a theme of study:
- Basic computer skills and knowledge in K-2
- Experiment observations vs. inferences in grades 3-4
- Building structures in grades 5-6
- Physics and rocketry in grades 7-8
Additonally, graphic design and desktop publishing skills will be learned through Microsoft Publisher and online resources. Other topics covered every year include webquests, research, and “roundtable” discussions of ethics in technology.
Promotes logical thinking through lessons that emphasize sequenced computational skills, concept development, basic algebraic expressions, problem-solving techniques, and real-life applications. Pre-qualified students are eligible to participate in the Academy's REACH Program for accelerated math instruction, where they can matriculate a grade level above their peers. All students participate in the integrated STEM Program for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math inquiry-based learning opportunities.
Science & Technology Grade 5 - 6
Provides hands-on experimentation while enriching critical thinking skills. Students have access to a science lab, computer labs, I-Pads, and Star Board technology. Topics include: Earth’s Place in the Universe, Earth’s Systems, Earth and Human Activity, from molecules to organisms, Ecosystems: Interactions and energy, matter and its interactions, motion and stability: forces and interactions, waves and their applications, and electricity. We complement our engaging, hands-on approach to science with direct observation in nature on the Academy’s 194 acres of fields, woods and ponds. Learn more about the Academy's STEM Program for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
Science & Technology Grade 7-8
Science, math and technology form a high priority at the Academy. Students solidify their basic knowledge of math operations and expand their problem-solving abilities through pre-Algebra and Algebra studies, with early geometry and advanced measurement competency. Those students who qualify for the REACH Program have the opportunity to graduate at an elevated grade level in math. Science education is unit-study centered, with hands-on opportunities to ensure students understand the scientific method and build foundational knowledge in both Life and Earth Sciences. Annual Science Fair Projects enable students to develop in-depth studies; many NDA students have earned recognition in Science Fair competitions. The math and science curriculum for grades 6-8 integrates technology education, with Star Board interactive technology available in many classrooms. Learn more about the STEM Program for integrated Science, Technology, Engineering and Math inquiry-based learning, in which all Academy students participate.
Want to Learn More?
Come see for yourself what is going on in the 5th - 8th grade classrooms. We hold two open houses a year for Lower School prospects as well opportunities for a personal tour, and Shadow Day experiences to attend a morning of classes and lunch with a host student.
The Academy's Extended Day Program assists families who require options for after school care and the Enrichment Activities program provides special opportunities for children to explore personal interests. Learn more about the Admission process here.