Curriculum

Our Middle Grades program uses an original curriculum and focuses on building literacy across content areas, developing critical thinking, and learning how to learn together.  Because we focus on building students’ abilities to think and communicate logically and analytically, our students excel in reading, writing, and math. 

Additionally, we use a unique programming mechanism called Triple E, which stands for Enrichment, Extended Learning Time, and Electives. During this period, students might take creative writing, pottery, algebra support or peer mediation leadership. 

Clinton’s academic program is focused on preparing all students for the IB Diploma Programme in 11th and 12th grade.  We support students in preparing for the Extended Essay starting in 6th grade with a scaled down essay of 1,000 words, and we carry this work all the way through to entry into the IB program in 11th grade. Students ultimately complete a 4,000 word research paper, largely independently, by the start of 12th grade. Our students take Regents courses in 8th, 9th, and 10th grades.

Below, we outline academic subjects.

Social Studies

As an Individuals & Societies department we aim to raise global citizens prepared for the challenges of the 21st century. To that end, we create curriculum that supports civic engagement, inquiry, and civil discourse through a process that encourages questioning, researching, and building evidence-based arguments. Ultimately, our graduates will be participants, not just observers, in their world.

Science

Our students will be stepping into adulthood in a world that changes dramatically at an ever-quickening pace.  The science courses at Clinton are designed to help students construct knowledge of the natural world, as well as learn how to engage in the process of scientific discovery.  Every science class provides time for students to work in groups on inquiry-based learning and hands-on laboratory experiments.

Middle grade students are introduced to several different disciplines of science over the years. Every middle grades course begins with a short unit about scientific inquiry so students can learn how to think critically and design experiments like scientists. Throughout the year, sixth grade students continue on to study life sciences and learn about topics such as biodiversity, the human body, genetics, ecology and evolution..  Seventh graders continue on to study the physical sciences such as matter and energy, simple and complex machines, forces and motion and chemistry. Eighth graders study Earth Science, including Planetary Science, Geology, Weather and the Human Impact on the Environment. At the end of eighth grade, students take the Earth Science Regents. 

Mathematics

Our focus revolves around developing a deep understanding of algebra and the foundational concepts that allow students to succeed in upper level mathematics. Our classes frequently involve difficult contextual problems that challenge students to apply their mathematical knowledge in new ways. It is our strong belief that the deepest learning happens through supported struggle.  Our central hope is that students show perseverance when attempting problems. We design and implement curriculum which allows and encourages students to discover and experience concepts. Our classes center around collaboration and group discussion as we believe that students learn best from each other.

All students in the eighth grade are given the opportunity to take the Algebra 1 Regents exam.  Our eighth grade curriculum is centered around the expectation that all students can be successful on this exam.

English Language Arts

Our ELA courses spiral across the grade levels, meaning that all courses are designed using the Common Core as a foundation.  At each grade level, students read, write, and discuss a wide variety of genres and all grade levels study a piece by Shakespeare.

6th Grade 
The 6th grade ELA course fosters independence and responsibility – as readers, writers, and learners – as students transition from elementary to middle school.  Students create good habits of learning (“Hawk Habits”) that will carry students through the middle-school years and beyond.  This course cultivates life-long readers and writers, teaches students how to speak with accountability and respect, and challenges students with academically rigorous material and high expectations.

7th Grade 
Our theme for the year is “What is Truth?” We will explore this idea in a variety of contexts. We have begun the year by looking at how our experiences create personal truths and we’ll end the year by looking at how adaptations maintain the truth or the integrity of a story.  We are currently working on memoir as we explore our personal truths. We will also tackle historical fiction short stories, feature articles, monologues, book talks, persuasive essays, timed writing prompts, poetry, and graphic short story adaptations.

8th Grade 
In this course, students will engage in rigorous literacy practices that will enable them to access meaning in texts with varying degrees of complexity, to write with clarity and effectiveness, and to collaborate with others through discussion. Each student will come to know that he or she is the key influence in his or her learning and will assume higher levels of responsibility for success.

Arts

Clinton students engage in a semester of musical education and a semester of visual arts education each year.

In visual arts students are introduced to the basic elements of art; line, shape, form, color, texture, space and value/tone. Students begin thinking about and discussing what art is and how they use it. By the second year, students explore the arts through the theme of identity. Students are exposed to a variety of different media including painting, printmaking and of course drawing. We begin by completing a more complex unit on the elements of art and a review of drawing techniques. By our third year, students explore with more mixed media projects.  One of our student’s projects was highlighted in a New York Times article from 2020.

The music program at Clinton supports students with a range of previous musical knowledge and experiences.  The goal is to provide students with a strong experience in the musical arts, both in composing and performing.  There is a large emphasis throughout all three years on ear training, Kodaly hand signs and solfa, individual and group performance, and learning through listening, creating, and discussion.  Each semester of music culminates in a concert where students perform original songs and play several instruments.

Spanish

In this class, students will develop basic listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills that will enable them to communicate about themselves, their friends, and their family in a foreign language. Students will also investigate aspects of culture and acquire study skills important for language learning.

Physical Education

Our PE courses spiral across the grade levels with diverse experiences. The curriculum builds lifelong passion for wellness, individual/team sports, and problem-solving activities. Students will establish an athletic, educational and safe environment where all students can be successful.