Seminars

In addition to the core academic and arts classes, Middle School students take the following one-, two-, and three-term seminar courses. These highly focused courses are designed to deepen the knowledge, skills, and creativity that students are gaining in their core classes. All seminars listed below are required.

Seminar Class List

List of 14 items.

  • Academic Technology (6–8)

    Students develop proficiency with the hardware and software platforms that the school provides. Typing, photo editing, and digital video production skills are also covered. Digital citizenship is a focus each year, and students learn about the lasting impact of their digital footprints.
  • Arab and Muslim Cultural Studies (7)

    In this seminar, students engage in a multi-disciplinary discourse that crosses cultural, racial, ethnic, political, religious, and geographical lines. While they scrutinize the differences between the terms, “Arab,” “Muslim,” and “Middle Easterner,” they also learn about the geography, topography, and history that are associated with the Middle East.
  • Costa Rican Culture and Society (8)

    Through this course students gain introductory knowledge of the sociology and historical dynamics that shape contemporary Costa Rican society, as well as current social issues that define Costa Rican life. In the final trimester of the school year, students learn anthropological and sociological research methods. They develop their own research questions that they then explore during their stay in Costa Rica. They conclude the trimester by creating a report of their findings, which will be archived and used by subsequent student
    cohorts studying Costa Rica.
  • Creative Writing (6)

    Creative writing is a year-long seminar designed to strengthen the imagination and writing ability of each 6th grader. Throughout the year students write fiction, plays, and scripts and learn to critique both their own work and the work of their peers in constructive and creative ways. They will read popular works, continue learning how to play with words, and develop their voices as writers.
  • The Road to Justice (7)

    In this two-trimester discussion-based class, students look at the historical and legal underpinnings of the United States. By examining our founding documents, the 13th Amendment, and the ongoing legacy of enslavement, including Jim Crow, lynchings, and mass incarceration, students will gain an understanding of the impact of the past on our present and future, the necessity of gaining multiple perspectives, and the importance of knowing who is telling the story so that they can better parse it.
  • Sexuality Education and More (6–8)

    Sexuality is the study of an individual’s biological, psychological, and social development throughout a person’s lifespan. The class is taught by the Middle School counselor,
    who provides developmentally appropriate guidance and insight on how to navigate this development through adolescence.
    • 6th Grade: Friendships, upstanding, identity, independence, confidence
    • 7th Grade: Mental health, anxiety, reproduction and puberty, human sexuality
    • 8th Grade: Relationships, consent, STIs, drugs and alcohol, decision-making/ethics
  • STEAM (6–7)

    Teachers in science, technology, engineering design, art, and mathematics (STEAM) come together to guide students in project-based learning. Past projects have included building rollercoasters, hydroponic gardening, coding, a play based on systems of the human body, and currency design.
  • Theater Arts (6–8)

    Teachers in music, art, drama, and dance collaborate to engage students in project-based learning. Each year, the class tackles a different theatrical form: dramatic play, musical, or
    film.
  • Cultural Affairs and Current Events (6)

    This class uses a variety of discussion formats—including the Socratic method, think-pair-share, and fishbowl—to engage students in an exploration of social identifiers and current events. Students develop communication and metacognition skills as they study and discuss multiple perspectives on complex news topics. The class is led by the director of diversity, inclusion,
    and equity initiatives.
  • Service Learning (6)

    A pre-requisite of ATSL, this course explores the different forms of service and community outreach. Students develop an understanding of direct service, indirect service, advocacy, and research. After assessing their interests, students choose a topic, issue, or cause to research and make a presentation to classmates.
  • Activism Through Service-Learning (8)

    Students review the difference between direct and indirect service and collaborate on projects in support of a social or cultural issue. Students also learn strategies for moving beyond individual action and working for systemic change.
  • Constitutional Law (8)

    Students analyze and dissect several Supreme Court cases to explore the lasting impacts of the decisions. Students are challenged to push aside their biases and blind spots to discuss the meaning of social justice, equity, and equality in the context of the law. Guest speakers share their experiences and practices.
  • Project of Discovery (8)

    In this two-term independent study course, students learn how to design, plan, and complete a long-term project of their choosing. This is a capstone class and is required for all 8th graders.
  • Yoga, Meditation, and Wellness (8)

    This seminar course gives students tools to relieve stress. Students learn special breaths, yoga poses, and meditation techniques.