Curriculum

Clinton’s middle grades academic program, regarded for its rigor, has two distinguishing features. One, we offer more arts than is typically found in a school, with students moving between visual arts, music, and performing arts. Two, we use a programming mechanism called Triple E, which stands for Enrichment, Extended Learning Time, and Electives. During this period, students might take creative writing, algebra, or mock trial. For more information about Triple E,  please contact the administration.

Below, we outline academic subjects and then review our arts offerings.

Social Studies

The end goal of our Social Studies curriculum, from 6-12, is to develop critical readers, writers, and thinkers who can see complex issue from multiple perspectives.

Social Studies at the middle grades level begins by connecting students’ own cultures and communities with those around the world.  In 6th grade, students examine the development of societies through a global lens.  In 7th and 8th grades, students explore what it means to be an American and how that identity has changed over time.  The curricula is thematic, bringing students from the pre-Columbian time period through to the present.  There is a focus on analyzing primary and secondary source documents in order to articulate and support an argument in a variety of formats, such as debates, Socratic seminars, argumentative essays, and performances.

In the upper grades, students continue their study of U.S. history and government.  Course work over the following three years includes the study of economics and world history.  By the end of 12th grade, students are able to make sense of political, social, and economic developments in the world by searching for answers to their own questions and appreciating that there may not be one correct point of view in any given situation.

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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 has a lab once a week in order to provide more time for students to work on inquiry-based and hands-on laboratory experiments.

Middle grade students are introduced to several different disciplines of science over the years. Every middle grades course begins science 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 Simple and Complex Machines, Weather and Water, Biodiversity, and Interdependence.  Seventh graders continue on to study Geology, Matter and Energy, The Human Body, and Dynamic Equilibrium in Plants and Animals. Eighth graders continue on to study Genetics, Forces and Motion, Planetary Science, and Human Impact on the Environment.  

The science course sequence for the upper grades is living environment, chemistry, and a two-year computer science course.  (You did read that correctly; there is no physics course.) Our program is designed to develop scientific thinkers who approach problems, learning, and design with strong, critical minds.  We feel it is our responsibility to provide students with a foundation of scientific knowledge and skills that will give them multiple options when considering the career path they will pursue.

Mathematics

The focus of the Clinton Math Department revolves around developing a deep understanding of algebraic knowledge. New York State has committed to shifting fully into the Common Core math standards, which emphasize depth over breadth. As a result of this shift, our classes frequently involve difficult real-world problems that challenge students to apply their mathematical knowledge in new ways. Our central concern is that students show perseverance when attempting these problems. Our curriculum encourages students to discover and experience many topics. This can be a difficult shift, but the emphasis on problem solving and perseverance are the essential skills that students should strengthen for future success.

For students who have taken Algebra 1 prior to 9th grade, we offer a one year computer science course instead.  Students may or may not sit for the AP exam; it’s a decision we leave up to them.  It does provide students a window into the two-year course they will take in 11th and 12 grades, which may help them to determine if they will study computer science or film with greater intensity.

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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 
What are we going to learn in 7th grade ELA?
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.

What types of writing will we do?
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.

9th – 12th Grades 
Students are studying U.S. history in 9th grade, and so their first ELA high school level course weaves American literature with a strong focus on the craft of writing.  This gives them a deeper context for understanding the development of the American identity.  In preparation for their two-year world history course in 11th and 12th grades, students in our 10th grade course explore the literature of peace and conflict. They apply their craft to make sense of writings from a range of time periods and places, and they continue to develop their own voice and interests as a writer.  At the end of 10th grade, our students will sit for the NYS ELA Regents.        

Foreign Language 

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

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Middle Grade Athletics:

Soccer (Fall)
Cross-Country (Fall)
Girls Volleyball (Fall)
Boys and Girls Basketball (Winter)
Track & Field (Spring)
Ultimate Frisbee (Spring)
Girls Softball (Spring)
8th Grade Ballroom Dance Team (Spring)

 

Special Middle-Grade Programs:

City Center Dance Program: 6th Grade
Dancing Classrooms (Ballroom): 8th Grade
Clinton Ski Trip (1/10/15)
Run 4 Reason (10/17/14)
Clinton Hoops Day (3/12/15)
Cooperative Handball Tournament: 7th & 8th Grade
Kan Jam Tournament: 8th Grade
Pickleball Tournament: 7th & 8th Grade
Color Wars (6/5/14)
Sports Banquet