RCLS's middle school is distinctive in Rochester. Serving more than 100 6th-8th graders, RCLS's middle-school teachers are extraordinarily equipped to serve this population of students, and they know their students well enough to be able to minister to each individually. At a stage of learning that demands more critical thinking and independent work, middle-school students also find themselves coping with the social and emotional pressures of the early-teen years. RCLS anticipates these pressures and provides a structured, safe environment where grace, acceptance, and affirmation shape a context in which students are secure enough to direct energy to classroom learning and character formation. Academically, RCLS offers a rigorous curriculum with high expectations at the same time that it offers the academic and personal support students need to meet those expectations.
Scripture memorization is a key component of Biblical study in middle school.
In 6th grade, students study the New Testament Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. Additionally, holidays and key figures and celebrations in the history of the church are studied and celebrated: the Reformation, Advent and Christmas, Easter, and the Pentacost.
In 7th grade, students walk through the entire Bible, from Creation to Revelation. The course is set up in a Bible study format that allows students to engage with Scripture in a way that will challenge them academically and spiritually. During the course of the year students are offered the opportunity to:
- understand the primary themes found in Scripture.
- identify key biblical events and figures.
- apply Godly principles to thought, speech, and action.
- respond personally to the gospel of grace in Jesus Christ.
In 8th grade, students explore how God’s word is a guide for their lives, and they:
- explore the faith relationship they do or can have with God.
- understand how having Jesus in our hearts affects our interactions in our families, friendships, and school and church communities.
- realize service opportunities and participate in our communities.
- discuss current events and topics relevant to middle school students, and they learn to view these through the lens of God’s word.
Literature: Literary studies in grades 6, 7, and 8 involve the study of short stories, drama, novels, and nonfiction. Analyses of each of these genres is taught and practiced, and literary devices and their applications in particular works are identified and discussed. Importantly, independent reading is encouraged with the Accelerated Reader program, while novels from both juvenile and classic selections are assigned texts for reading and discussing alongside corresponding areas of study in History.
These titles, among others, are read in middle-school Literature classes:
- The Whipping Boy, Sid Fleischman
- The Sign of the Beaver, Elizabeth George Speare
- Number the Stars, Lois Lowry
- Where the Red Fern Grows, Wilson Rawls
- The Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
- Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry, Mildred Taylor
- Call of the Wild, Jack London
- The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank
- Midsummer Night's Dream, William Shakespeare
- Teachers use Loyola Press's Voyages materials to employ a traditional approach to grammar and composition.
- In 6th grade, writing consists primarily of grammar practice and of creative writing projects that include personal narratives, fiction, and speeches.
- In 7th and 8th grades, students continue to practice writing creatively, but the emphasis of more extensive writing projects is on argument. Students learn to develop thesis statements and to construct supporting arguments, all the while continuing grammatical study through sentence diagramming and focused study on finer points of English syntax.
In 6th and 8th grades, students construct a research paper that corresponds with their science fair projects, while in 7th grade students research, write, and present a persuasive argument on an historical figure. Middle school teachers collaborate to ensure that significant writing assignments are woven into the activities of most areas of study. For example, in tech class, students may compose narrative or argument to accompany video projects or presentations produced through technological means.
Beginning in 6th grade, students may elect to follow a grade-level math track or to enroll in an accelerated track. On both tracks, teachers seek to develop depth of knowledge and a solid understanding of mathematical concepts so that students are poised to excel in honors- and advanced-level high school math courses.
Grade-level track: On this track, 6th and 7th-grade students survey algebra and geometry concepts. In 8th grade, students do pre-algebra. Students on this track will be on-track to enroll in honors algebra in high school, something most RCLS graduates do.
Accelerated track: On this track, 6th and especially 7th graders become skilled with pre-algebra concepts. In 8th grade, students study algebra and, ultimately, graduate from RCLS with an honors-level Algebra I credit for high school. In the final semester of 8th grade, students begin geometry so that they are well-prepared to excel in Geometry as freshmen in high school. Some students may be prepared to test for high school Geometry credit.
The science curriculum at RCLS provides a framework through which to study God’s created world and the natural laws God created for the working of that world. Understanding the systematic nature of the world assists students in discovering new ways to use technology and nature to improve and protect the world today and in the years ahead.
Scientific literacy enables people to use scientific principles and processes to make decisions and to participate in discussions of scientific issues that affect all of society.
The science curriculum includes:
- Problem solving and self-discipline
- Use of technology
- Collaborative work
- Making connections across the curriculum
- Active participation in science experiences and hands-on laboratory activities
- Use of scientific principal and engineering design
The science studies in 6th grade include life science, earth science, and physical science units. The 7th grade and 8th grade curricula concentrate on life science and physical science, respectively. Middle school classes meet in the school’s well-equipped science lab. An annual middle school science fair for 6th and 8th graders is held to provide for the development and expression of the scientific process.
- 6th graders study Minnesota history, beginning with Native American history and continuing through some current events.
- 7th graders study American history, from the Revolutionary War through World War I.
- 8th graders study World history, with an emphasis on the ancient world and societies in China, India, and especially Greece and Rome. 8th graders end the year with an extensive study of World War II. Additionally, using news broadcasts produced for adolescents, 8th graders discuss current world events.
Middle-school students are also required to take:
and Physical Education.
Additionally, middle-school students may choose from the following elective classes:
Read more about these classes at Whole-child Education.