Middle School

In Middle School, we believe three core competencies are necessary for students to be well-prepared to thrive in high school.

First, we strive to help our scholars live examined existences and grapple with understanding their own strengths and weaknesses.

Our goal is to ensure that all of our graduates boast a robust bag of tricks when it comes to working through their areas of weakness and maximizing their areas of strength.

Second, our graduates are prodigious communicators.

Each student is challenged to develop vigorous communication skills throughout their day-to-day studies. This includes effectively communicating with peers, adults, and younger classmates. Most importantly, students develop a high level of comfort initiating conversations with adults and advocating for themselves when stumbling blocks are encountered. Our graduates consistently cite their confidence communicating with teachers as one of the most concrete and consequential skills they learned at ECDS.

Third, we instill in our students personal ownership of their work.

Students come to a self-realization that their work belongs to them and is a compelling reflection of who they are.

Additionally, we believe middle school needs to be fun to engage the young adolescent mind. We play often, laugh frequently, and embrace wholeheartedly our commitment to care for our younger classmates in the elementary school and Nest. For example, it is common to see mixed-age groups of K-8th students playing together during our shared morning recess. Authentic interactions with our younger Eagles provide our middle school students with opportunities to lead by example and serve as role models.

To learn more about our days, please see the sample schedule to the right and our class descriptions below.

Explore our classes

AdvisoryEnglishGlobal StudiesMathematicsScienceSpanishThe ArtsTechnologyAthletics

middle school advisory Social-emotional intelligence animates our community and curriculum from Early Childhood through 8th Grade through our staff. Each week of the year, the whole school has a guiding character trait, or “Eagle Feather.” In Middle School, we focus on Eagle Feathers during our Advisory time, 20 minutes every day in our grade-based homerooms. Through a combination of reflection, discussion, skits, journaling, small-group work, and 1-on-1 mentorship sessions, we practice SEL skills and executive functioning habits. Walk into an ECDS Advisory class and you might find us working on how to give a sincere apology (and how to accept one), receiving feedback gracefully, staying organized, asking for help, random acts of kindness, setting measurable, realistic goals, and even how to give a good handshake. While our Division Director is the primary point of contact for Middle School and individual teachers are always open to meet, the faculty Advisors for each grade provide another point of connection and partnership with families.
Students play an important role in the learning journey as they partner with faculty in choosing what they read, ensuring the right book is in the right student’s hands at the right time. We judge “right” by both appropriate challenge and engaging interest. Meanwhile, to learn to write well students must write often, receive feedback, edit, and repeat.

We provide students with abundant opportunities to engage in this write, review, and repeat process, ensuring prodigious writing practice and guidance each step of the way. By inspiring the love of reading and instilling the power of the pen, our students emerge embracing how stories shape us and how they can use words to shape society for the benefit of others.

We embrace the opportunity to shape the next generation of global citizens. Our Global Studies efforts aim to engage students in learning opportunities that help them understand our collective past so they in turn can impact positively our collective future. Our 6th grade Utopia Project embodies the spirit of our Global Studies program. A project inspired by John Hunter’s World Peace Games, our Utopia Project spans the entire 6th grade year and challenges students to create their own utopic communities together in small groups. Along the way student teams are presented with a variety of challenges to overcome. Through natural disasters, refugee crises, ethnic unrest, economic downturns, and more, our student-ambassadors utilize the lessons learned from our history to overcome obstacles and create from scratch their own ideal worlds.

In the spirit of our Utopia Project, we challenge students to confront essential questions about humanity, our history, and our global community’s future. How have humans defined themselves and made meaning of the world? How are we connected to and different from those who have come before us? What does humanity have in common? Who are we as a nation, and what are our values and traditions? How have we found unity in the midst of our diversity? What are our responsibilities to ourselves and to society at large? These are only a few of the big questions our young scholars wrestle with together as part of our Global Studies efforts.

We believe there is no such thing as a “math gene,” rather that every child is capable of learning math and loving math. Perhaps because of the instant gratification, social media, real-time reality that our students experience outside of school, our middle school mathematics program believes that developing patient problem solvers is essential. Cultivating a safe space to take risks and make mistakes is one of the many ways we empower our students to practice “being” mathematical rather than just “doing” mathematics. We want our students to feel excited by the discoveries they make through their authentic approaches to problem solving rather than feeling stifled by regurgitating traditionally prescribed, formulaic strategies.

Grounded in NCTM best practices, our middle school mathematicians engage in challenging tasks in which they are given opportunities to apply previously learned math concepts, to continue to develop their critical thinking and reasoning skills, to make connections between core concepts, and to learn how to effectively communicate their knowledge with classmates. Through practices of peer-to-peer teaching, error analysis, and dialogue about different approaches to solving problems, our middle school mathematicians seek mastery, not memorization. The result is patient problem solvers equipped to tackle the toughest problems high school math (and life!) throw their way.

Rooted in Next Generation Science Standards, our middle school science program embraces the importance of grasping science concepts in all areas of the scientific process. As a result, all aspects of our curriculum—earth science, physics, chemistry, biology, and engineering—embrace the development of the foundational science concepts our students will need to succeed in high school and beyond.
Based upon best practices as championed by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), our Spanish program embraces a proficiency-model of world language instruction. Gone are the days of memorizing and regurgitating verb conjugations and being chastised for words we do not know. Instead, we embrace ACTFL’s advocacy of “can do” statements. Emerging linguists are encouraged to embrace all that they do know and to communicate confidently as a result. The five proficiencies of reading, writing, listening, speaking, and culture are all emphasized within a joyful learning environment that celebrates the gift of other cultures and languages.
Middle school fine arts is delivered via a robust electives program. Some electives include: Printmaking, Stage Design, Sculpture, Art & Design, Business, Color Inquiry, Art Installation, Guitar, Must-see Musicals, Rock Band, Rock and Roll History, and Ukelele Club. To learn more about our Fine Arts Electives, please visit the Electives page.
From advanced coding to robotics, computer science explodes with opportunity at the middle school level. As we finish transitioning from a “bring your own device” (BYOD) model to a comprehensive 1:1 paradigm, students throughout our middle school engage technology that supports their learning across all academic disciplines. Students delve deeper into our computer science curriculum via elective courses such as: Lego robotics, advanced robotics, coding, design thinking, 3D printing, and graphic design.

The goal of our physical education program is to promote an active, healthy lifestyle over a lifetime. Physical education is focused on being active, learning new skills, and having fun. Throughout our PE program, students also learn the importance of good sportsmanship and what it means to be a good teammate. By participating in team-building activities and games, students are challenged, both physically and cognitively, to work together to complete a task or achieve a goal. Perhaps best of all, our physical education classes are often hosted outside on our field and basketball court, thereby enjoying Colorado’s annual 300+ days of sunshine! When precipitation drives us indoors, we enjoy our newly built Athletic and Performing Arts facility, which houses a full-size basketball/volleyball court and bleachers.

Middle school PE employs a sport educational model of physical education. Ownership is placed on the students so they can experience multiple roles on a team: coach, player, fitness trainer, statistician, and even equipment manager. Students participate as teams during a mini-season and then compete for a championship to conclude each sport-specific unit. Sports covered include: flag football, basketball, hockey, volleyball, and more! Our physical education efforts culminate with our eighth grade students participating in a teaching project where each student chooses their own athletic passion and then designs and delivers a lesson on that topic to their classmates. Student-led lessons have included swimming, rock climbing, golf, dance, and ultimate frisbee!

We are also proud to offer interscholastic middle school sports, with our soccer, volleyball, and basketball teams competing weekly against other independent and charter schools down the hill. Learn more about the Eagles here.