Middle School students deepen and strengthen their academic skills while tackling larger questions about themselves and the world. A school-wide focus on the UN Sustainable Development Goals gives students opportunities to connect their understandings of global issues with academic learning. Middle Schoolers take risks and try new things, learning through their successes and challenges. Ample opportunities are given to students to find their passions in doing service, discovering the arts, and using technology. When students graduate from our eighth grade, they take with them the tools they need to communicate, analyze, question, critique, and interpret information and ideas. They are truly engaged community members and active citizens who are knowledgeable about the world.
Over the course of the year, each Middle School classroom and specials teacher gets to know every student on an individual level. Teachers are deeply aware of the challenges middle school students can face, and they cherish the opportunity to help each child to honor and respect the adult they will become.
The FFS Middle School math program provides students with the skills and understandings necessary to problem solve effectively, reason mathematically, calculate fluently and accurately, communicate their math thinking, and apply what they know to complex, real-life situations. Students use the following texts to support their learning: 6th grade — McDougal Littell Middle School Math Course 2; 7th grade — McDougal Littell Pre-Algebra; 8th grade — McDougal Littell Algebra: Structure and Method.
Sixth graders take separate classes in literacy and ancient history. History begins with the study of social sciences, and continues with in-depth studies of prehistory, Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, and China. Students also focus on global climates, and study the effects that it has had on the ancient and modern world. A final project is a student-curated museum of ancient history, where students create artifacts, write text, and prepare audio podcasts and presentations and design and operate a conservators’ lab.
Students develop active and analytical reading skills and work to become more sophisticated and independent writers through exploring individual roles in the communities to which they belong.
Seventh and eighth grade humanities is an interdisciplinary course in which students study literature, history, and social studies through a global lens. 7th graders engage in a Global Studies course, beginning the school year studying geography, human rights, and the ways environment can shape our lives. Guided by the Brown University Choices Program, students engage in a series of deliberations throughout the school year where they work together to find practical solutions to historical dilemmas or policy problems, including international cooperation for climate change, U.S. policy on human rights, directions for Cuba's future, and apartheid in South Africa. The Global Studies class culminates with a Model UN simulation where students research and represent a country in a delegation on an international crisis.
Eighth grade humanities is focused on American Studies. Students ask questions about the definition of justice and the relationship between justice and citizenship while studying the Constitution and the American court system. Students consider the role of the media in a democracy while writing investigative journalism and continue with units on Immigration in U.S. history, industrialization, and globalization in Philadelphia. In the final unit, the course examines the Civil Rights Movement, comparing it to other American social movements. Students consider what it means to "move" as part of a movement and how movements measure success.
Establishing an environment in which students feel safe and comfortable conversing and writing about their own experiences in Spanish is vital to our program. FFS Spanish instructors firmly believe that students acquire a new language when they understand what they hear, when they understand what they read, and when they are fully engaged in the message. All middle school students read a variety of books at their individual level, which are connected to cultural events in Spanish speaking countries or the United States. They converse in Spanish daily; the majority of class is conducted in Spanish.
Students explore how the world works and its interconnectedness by engaging in activities to help them explore topics in life, physical, environmental, and earth sciences. Experiments, inquiries, demonstrations, discussions, and group and independent projects help students construct their understanding. Through study of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, students apply what they are learning to the real-life issues that affect people and our planet, such as climate change, environmental degradation, food security, and bioethics. Students learn how to think like scientists — asking questions, developing theories and hypothesis and testing them.
All students take weekly technology classes, to learn to use technology to explore better ways to innovate, communicate, and collaborate. Students also take an additional trimester of Interactive Tech (circuitry and coding), where they work with programmable hardware to develop design and problem solving skills by exploring systems design with interactive technology.
To ensure equal access to resources, all middle school students receive a Chromebook for their use at home and school.
All Middle School students take classes in art, physical education, health, and Quakerism. They may also choose from the following electives — art portfolio, music (choir, handbells, orchestra, and jazz band), theater, and fitness.