Academics
Middle School | Gr. 5–8

Curriculum

The Gill Middle School curriculum builds on the fundamentals learned in Lower School and prepares and equips students for the rigors of Upper School academics. Built around the unique strengths of pre-teens and adolescents, the Middle School program at Gill is collaborative and hands-on with an emphasis on learning as a process. In addition to offering an engaging and challenging academic program, our faculty place special focus on good decision-making, empathy and community. Gill students have room to grow, to explore a range of interests and to take on leadership roles through in-school clubs and afterschool activities. Middle School at Gill is a positive and productive place where young adolescents thrive academically, emotionally and socially.

The fifth and sixth grade academic program is foundational in nature. In addition to their core courses, students select from one of three world languages: French, Latin or Spanish. In addition, all students in fifth and sixth grade take studio art, choral music and woodworking.

Beginning in seventh and eighth grade, students may complement their core subjects with a broad array of offerings, including studio art, ceramics/sculpture, computer aided design (CAD) music, theater and woodworking.
You may also view a standard PDF of GSB's Curriculum Guide.

The Unit

For more than 40 years, the unit has enabled Gill Middle and Upper School students to expand their knowledge and skills by applying them in new ways and through new experiences. An essential part of GSB’s curriculum, the unit challenges students to think critically, to offer the best of themselves and to cooperate with others in learning and taking on new challenges.
 
Project-based, cross-disciplinary and cooperative, the Middle School unit combines the best of creativity, collaboration and exploration. Units are designed for each grade level and include activities from constructing wooden pinball machines to Photo to exploring the inner workings of a courtroom or learning to sail. The Middle School unit runs for four days each May.

Faculty

Our faculty bring a variety of strengths and talents to school each day. Collectively, they seek to inspire our students through their passion for teaching. Although each is unique, our faculty members share a commitment to a student-centered learning and a desire to work collaboratively with parents, students and other teachers.

The Middle School faculty at Gill St. Bernard’s find joy in their work with students. They are attuned to the interests and expansive potential of students in grades five through eight.

Students in grades five through eight are beginning to define themselves as individuals and to explore ways in which they can contribute to the larger community. Our Middle School program is designed around the strengths and talents unique to this age-group, and our faculty understand the emotional, physical and social needs of pre-teens and adolescents.

Curricular Highlights

  • Language Arts/English classes meet six or seven times each week, allowing our teachers to focus in depth on reading, grammar and creative, analytic and research writing.
  • Students in grades five and six begin pre-algebra as they complete the Singapore Math program, a culmination of the school’s comprehensive Primary through grade six math sequence. Beginning in seventh grade, students are placed in a math section depending on readiness. Most students take two years of algebra, while others complete algebra in one year and take geometry in eighth grade.
  • Health & Wellness classes for all Middle School students take place once a week. The curriculum addresses the specific emotional, physical and social needs of middle-school-aged students. Topics vary by grade level and are designed to help students make healthy choices.
  • In addition to our rich studio art curriculum, students have exceptional opportunities in the performing arts. Students in grades five and six may participate in two productions, one in the fall and one in the spring. Students in grades seven and eight stage a musical in the spring and have the opportunity to take elective courses in theater.
    • Off-campus trips complement areas of study and allow students to explore learning in the larger world. Overnight grade-level trips, which take place each fall, are designed around the developmental needs of pre-teens and adolescents and help to set a positive tone for the academic year.
    • Students in grades five and six travel to Stokes State Forest, New Jersey. The focus of the trip is environmental education, and activities include exploration, fishing, hiking, problem solving and team building.
    •  For three days, students in grade seven visit Colonial Williamsburg and Historic Jamestowne in Virginia. Connected to the Social Studies curriculum, students learn about life during colonial times, including the growing challenge of living under British rule in a time of emerging independence.Our eighth-graders travel to Washington D.C. for three days. Aligned with their study of contemporary US history, students visit monuments and museums, spend time at the Capitol building and experience all the sights and sounds of our nation's capital.
Gill St. Bernard’s is a private, coeducational day school for students age three through grade 12, located in suburban New Jersey. Each of the three school divisions provides a vigorous, meaningful and age-appropriate curriculum, and all students benefit from the environmental learning opportunities that exist on our 208-acre campus.