Interior Masthead

Middle School (5-8)

A Middle Schooler is not a soon-to-be-Upper-Schooler. Every student is already inherently interesting and full of life. So we’ve created a curriculum to match.

When we study water cycles, we take our sixth graders to the New Jersey shore to measure the ocean’s ebb and flow. At the Kelly Drive Sculpture Garden, our seventh graders examine the many facets of American Myth.

In every subject, we teach students to independently explore. So when they do, inevitably, move onward, they’ll be prepared to eagerly tackle whatever lies ahead.

Curricular Structure

Our Middle School curriculum is carefully designed. It’s built with a firm interdisciplinary structure to cultivate study skills and build foundational knowledge. But it is also pliable, with space to bend and meet the needs of our diverse, growing fifth through eighth grade students.

Fifth Grade

Fifth graders have two teachers where they learn core subjects and like Lower Schoolers, have a home base classroom. This transitional year guides students as they take on Middle School work and responsibilities.

Sixth Grade

Beginning in sixth grade, each subject is taught separately. Students learn to navigate between classes and take more responsibility for time management and balancing multiple projects.

Seventh Grade

This first year of final exams teaches students more than the contents of their textbooks. It guides them in becoming critical thinkers and independent researchers. Students’ study skills are put to the test.

Eighth Grade

Our distinctive Interdisciplinary Sequence continues in eighth grade. It’s a three-year course that examines the history of human culture through lenses of literature, history, philosophy, religion, and the arts. And since the curriculum progresses over three years, it smoothes the transition to Upper School.


English and Writing

In Middle School, students begin to master writing and literature comprehension skills alongside the study of world cultures. With teachers’ guidance, students analyze texts, begin learning about the literature essay and do related projects. Read more.


Fifth graders study American civics with an emphasis on understanding state and local government. Sixth graders closely examine ancient civilizations with an added emphasis on geography. Seventh graders study American History from the pre-colonial period to the end of the Civil War, complete with an in-depth study of their own family history. And eighth graders examine ancient civilizations, traveling all the way to New Mexico to conduct research. Read more.


The middle school science program combines content study with hands-on learning inside and outside of the classroom. Through the use of technology, research, and careful observation, students are encouraged to problem-solve through critical thinking. Read more.


Our fifth and sixth grade mathematics program bridges students from the University of Chicago's Every Math program into the algebraic thinking necessary for seventh and eighth grade mathematics. Seventh and Eighth grade mathematics comprise our algebra program. Read more.

World Languages

Students in fifth grade continue their study of Spanish or Mandarin that began in pre-kindergarten. In sixth grade students split their language study between either Spanish or Mandarin and Prima Lingua, where they learn about the structure and origin of languages and explore connections among various language families of the world. In seventh grade, students choose formal study of Latin, Mandarin Chinese, or Spanish as part of a sequential program that will continue into eighth grade. This selection may then culminate in advanced courses in the upper school. Read more.


The Middle School Music curriculum consists of two strands: Performance Elective and General Music. Read more.


Middle School students can choose Drama for their performance elective. These classes are intentionally small and an audition helps determine placement. Read more.

Visual Arts

Middle school art classes at Friends Select School offer students the opportunity to learn and practice skills in drawing, painting, sculpture, two and three-dimensional design, mixed-media, printmaking and illustration. Read more.


The library is designed to support and enhance the middle and upper school curriculum, and to encourage recreational reading. A variety of resources, both print and online, are available for students and faculty to use. Students visit the library to conduct research, borrow books, study quietly, or work in small groups. Teachers also bring groups to the library for instruction and research. Read more.

Physical Education

Physical Education in middle school is a planned, sequential program that allows our students to develop the skills necessary to be successful in both individual and team activities. The students are provided with experiences that foster opportunities for problem solving, self-expression, socialization, and conflict resolution. In addition, a focus on health and wellness is a part of each year in middle school. The goal is to enhance physical fitness and promote a positive relationship between physical activity and health. Read more.