The 6th - 8th grade years support an emphasis on high school preparedness. As students continue to grow academically, they enhance their skills through critical thinking, creativity, communication skills and collaboration with others.
Creativity through preparation and inquiry. Critical thinking through integration, problem solving and logical thinking. Communication for data and information collections, argumentation and presentation and collaboration for teamwork and investigative skills.
Middle school teachers focus on student differentiation emphasizing individual learning style and learning strengths. Project and assignments are driven by student choice and interest.
Parent partnership is very important at this age.
A growth mindset is cultivated based on student engagement Middle School students take ownership of their learning through student engagement and supported by tools including a strong aligned curriculum, dedicated teachers, and supportive environment necessary to succeed and soar.
In middle school, student literacy skills are honed and refined to prepare them for the rigors of high school. Our students use the Sadlier Vocabulary Workshop series and online program, specifically designed to support grade level literature and Daily Grammar Practice to improve students' performance on standardized vocabulary tests. Students deepen their understanding and widen their knowledge in regard to essay writing and research strategies.
Middle school literature classes read a variety of genres, particularly short stories, poetry, and novels. Each grade level focuses on certain in-class novels during the year in order to give students a thorough understanding of this genre. St. Thomas Aquinas offers an accelerated language arts program supporting 7th and 8th grade students ready to study more advanced concepts in grammar and writing.
A strong aligned math curriculum supports student success. Middle school math teachers collaborate across grade-levels to discover new ways to enhance the learning experience for each individual student.
Students use the Prentice Hall Mathematics textbook series. Instruction is supported and enhanced through online activities such as teacher created videos and programs such as IXL. Through practice and problem solving, students develop new mathematical knowledge and gain an understanding of how mathematical ideas interconnect. Students are encouraged to apply a variety of appropriate strategies to solve problems and to communicate their mathematical thinking to peers and teachers through collaborative learning opportunities. The Middle School math program challenges students as they evaluate, analyze, recognize and apply mathematics in the real world.
Students in our Middle School math program start with an on-level math class, an algebra class, and students in 8th grade accelerated math complete an Algebra I class.
Spiritual formation is formally addressed through daily religion classes. Middle school students learn about the Churches teachings, scripture, tradition, and moral life.
Students deepen their own faith through a program focused on the guiding principals of our Catholic faith, history of the Catholic church and the importance of service to others. In 7th and 8th grade students prepare to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation in the fall of their 8th grade year.
Middle School Science teachers work in partnership with each other and with the Science Department Chair to ensure vertical alignment of the science curriculum across the grades. Students use iPads, Moodle and a variety of other resources to develop critical thinking, creativity, communication skills and collaboration with others (the 4C’s of STEM). In their science classes, students conduct lab experiments, engage in scientific investigations, make observations, and solve problems. 7th and 8th grade students have access to Discovery Education’s Science Techbook. This digital textbook provides a blend of resources such as STEM project starters, interactive tools, streaming video, and hands-on labs. All students participate in the annual STEM Fair by engineering solutions to real world challenges. Additionally, interested students may apply for extracurricular activities such as Visioneering at SMU or the FLL Robotics Competition Team. The goal for our program is to create relevant, challenging, integrated STEM activities that will emphasize 21st Century skills for our students.
Our Middle School Social Studies program develops civic minded students with their study of political systems, the election process, foreign policy and interactions of people and society. In 6th grade, students focus on different periods in World History that include ancient civilizations such as Mesopotamia, China, Greece, Rome and more. Students in 7th study Texas History through annexation and statehood, and United States History, from colonization to the American Revolution. In 8th students continue where they ended their 7th grade studies and learn about American civics, history, and geography. Each year in Middle School, there is one field trip that directly correlates to what they are learning in Social Studies to provide students with a deeper understanding of what we are learning in the classroom. The 7th grade day trip to Austin is always an exciting day, leaving before the sun comes up and arriving home in the late evening.
The Spanish curriculum at the Middle School level seeks to fulfill the objectives outlined in the Catholic Diocese of Dallas’ World Language Curriculum Standards. These encompass the five goal areas for foreign language education, as established by the American council on the Teaching of foreign Languages (ACTFL): communication, cultures, comparisons, connections, and communities. Spanish is delivered in the form of student- centered instruction, hands-on activities, music, group work, projects and role- play to all students at STA. Students will receive instruction in the four modes of communication – writing, reading, speaking, and listening. Conversational Spanish is the main focus in the developing process of Spanish acquisition. Lessons incorporate a variety of activities that encourage student participation, with an emphasis on evidence- based methods and resources. Growing a foundational love for a second language is the intended outcome.