Walker's Middle School

Walker’s Middle School is a private day school for students in grades six through eight. As the only all-girls middle school in central Connecticut, we attract families from as far away as the New Haven area, Litchfield County, and the Glastonbury/Hebron area.

A Sense of Wonder

“Wonder” - the ability to be fascinated - allows intellectual development to reach new levels. The Middle School curriculum preserves the “Wow” factor that keeps minds open and engaged.

Possibilities

“What if…” is one of the most valuable questions we teach girls to ask. It means they are rethinking what is possible. By teaching traditional content areas in non-traditional ways, we dare students to imagine.

Preparedness

Walker’s Middle School sets the tone and the trajectory for an amazing experience in Upper School, where girls take their education higher, farther, and deeper.

Warm Community

The sense of solidarity and sisterhood is ultimately what makes the Middle School so effective as a place of learning. In an environment free from the pressures and preoccupations that often exist in co-ed schools, girls can be themselves.

Walker's Middle School

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An Environment That’s Right for Girls

Middle School

Girls in their adolescent years build confidence and capabilities when they feel connected to larger ideas. It catalyzes their thinking and their strengths, individually and collectively. The principles we seek to establish in the Middle School are based on four main ideas including a sense of wonder, possibility, and preparedness within a warm, supportive community.

Why Walker's?

Reaching Beyond Academics

Middle School Science

Math, science, history, English, creative arts, and world languages (Latin, Spanish, Mandarin or French) are the core of the Middle School curriculum. Hands-on learning is used extensively to build engagement and enhance skills. But alongside academics, we teach wellness, study skills, and community service to instill a sense of confidence and personal balance.


 

 

Middle School Courses

English

English

English 6

Required course for Grade 6

At the sixth-grade level, students learn to read deeply, to love reading, and to begin learning how to analyze a literary work. The study of literature at our school draws upon many genres to focus largely on works about growing up and emerging into society. Texts may include: Anne of Green Gables, The Birchbark House, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Esperanza Rising, Kira-Kira, Number the Stars, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Habibi. Other texts, including poems, fables, fairy tales and essays are carefully selected to be appropriate to the age and developmental level of sixth grade girls. Teachers will challenge students to think in increasingly complex ways. Students will learn oral presentation and discussion skills in class. Each girl will begin to develop her authentic voice through a wide variety of writing assignments, including analysis, persuasive essay, fiction, poetry and and personal writing. A study of grammar complements the course, with a focus on punctuation, clarity and word use. Art, music and creative work of all kinds will be at the heart of the course.

English 7

Required course for Grade 7

At the seventh-grade level, students maintain their momentum by continuing to explore the various genres of literature. We read a challenging collection of texts that has previously included To Kill A Mockingbird, Romeo and Juliet, and The Outsiders. Other texts, including poems and essays, are carefully selected to be appropriate to the age and developmental level of seventh grade girls. Teachers strive to help girls truly love to read. Students will learn to present their work to an audience-- aloud and in writing. Students continue to enhance their composition skills through a study of analytical writing, with an emphasis on the process of writing, not just the final product. In grammar, the girls explore sentence structure and mechanics to improve clarity in their own writing. Students will read beyond the curriculum in this course. They will also have many opportunities for creative writing in a wide variety of genres.

English 8

Required course for Grade 8

In English at the eighth grade level, independent thinking and writing play major roles, as every student is encouraged to further develop her creative and critical skills in response to literature and in preparation for secondary school. Through discussion and writing, which include analytical and personal essays designed to promote mastery of essay writing, each student is supported as she learns to express herself clearly, accurately, and fluently. In this way, student voice is at the heart of English 8. We read short fiction, novels, narrative nonfiction, poetry, and drama. Texts may include Macbeth, The House on Mango Street, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, among others.

History and Social Science

History and Social Science

History 6: Ancient Cultures

Required Course for Grade 6

Ancient Cultures emphasizes how anthropologists and historians study the past. Through discussions about prehistory, written documents, and material remains, students identify the sources that inform the study of history. This yearlong course focuses on the study of ancient civilizations including Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and China. In each unit, students gain an appreciation for the geography, government, art and architecture, religion, daily life, and major achievements of each civilization. With a combination of individual and group work, students learn analytical and critical thinking skills while also developing collaborative skills.

History 7: Modern Cultures

Required Course for Grade 7

This course focuses on the same regions of the world during modern time periods, enabling students to see that landforms and resources that affected life thousands of years ago still affect people today. Students who learn about Ancient Egypt in Ancient Cultures will learn about Northern Africa in Modern Cultures. Other regions covered will include the Middle East, East Asia, Europe and North America. Before studying specific regions, students will undertake a unit on reading and understanding maps, as well as a unit on important geography terms, including the study of geography itself, climate, and vegetation. They will then move into more abstract topics such as the concept of place, how trade affects an area, and the movement of ideas.

History 8: American Identity

Required Course for Grade 8

The goal of this course is to identify and examine some of the people, ideas, and events that helped shape the American identity from its earliest peoples and colonial development through the Civil War. Students will explore the changing definitions of democracy, rights, justice, and the "American Dream" in their examination of individuals and groups in early America. Using a combination of primary and secondary sources, students will strengthen their reading, note-taking, research, and writing skills. Students will be assessed on a combination of homework completion, writing assignments, unit tests and projects.

World Languages

Latin

Latin 1A

Required for All 6th Grade Students

This course serves as an introduction to the Latin language. By the end, students will have a good grounding in many of the inflections of Latin verbs, nouns, pronouns and adjectives, and the ability to translate some basic prose passages. The linguistic elements are the most important part of the course, but students also learn about a variety of distinctive institutions and customs of the Romans such as roads/transportation, houses, meals, family, clothing, education, and Roman names. Students will study the geography of the ancient Romans, the foundation of Rome, and the stories of the 12 Olympians. Students will learn about the connections between Latin and English through the study of the etymology of English words and common Latin phrases and abbreviations still used in English.

Latin 1B

Required for All 7th Grade Students
Available to 8th graders having completed Latin 1A in the 2018-2019 school years.
Prerequisite: Successful completion of Latin 1A this academic year.

This is a continuation of Latin 1A, and the two courses combined allow students to begin Latin 2 at the high school level.

Latin 1

Open to Grades 8-12
Credit: 1

This course serves as an introduction to the Latin language. By the end of the course, students will have a grounding in many of the inflections of Latin verbs, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and complex sentences, a vocabulary of some four hundred words and the ability to translate basic prose passages. The linguistic elements are the most important part of the course, but students also learn about a variety of distinctive institutions and customs of the Romans such as religion and funeral customs, roads/transportation, houses, meals, family, clothing, education, names, and the city of Rome. Students will also study the geography of ancient Rome, the foundation myth of Rome, Roman monarchy, the early heroes of Rome, and Greek and Roman mythology. Students will also learn about the connections between Latin and English through the study of the etymology of English words and common Latin phrases and abbreviations still used in English.

Spanish

Spanish 1

Open to Grades 8-12
Credit: 1

This course introduces and develops the four basic skills of reading, listening, writing, and speaking. Cultural topics from around the world are explored, and discussed in relation to students’ cultures. Vocabulary required for mastery includes salutations, family members, the school day, occupations, indicating location, telling the day/date/year/time, the alphabet, numbers, weather, foods, animals, parts of the body, clothing, descriptions of physical characteristics/basic personality traits, sports/pastimes, directions, places around town, the house and question words. Verb conjugation is explored in detail to include all regular and irregular verbs in the present indicative, immediate future, formal commands, stem-changing and reflexive verbs. Other grammatical concepts studied in Spanish 1 include: definite and indefinite articles, gender and number agreement; subject pronouns; direct object pronouns, and indirect object pronouns, affirmative and negative expressions; the differences between ser and estar, idiomatic expressions with tener, hacer, and gustar; the verb ir, demonstrative/possessive adjectives, diminutives, the superlative, and comparisons; the personal “a”; and expressing likes and dislikes.

Mandarin

Mandarin 1

Open to Grades: 8-12
Credit: 1

This is an introductory course in Mandarin Chinese. Students learn the principles and practices of Pinyin pronunciation system to correctly pronounce the Chinese characters from the very start. Emphasis is placed on conversational skills and correct character writing habits. Reading and listening skills are also introduced so that students can begin to feel comfortable expressing themselves verbally and in writing. By the end of the first year, students will have mastered a working written vocabulary of roughly 200 characters and will have been introduced to roughly 270 characters. Students are expected to be able to introduce themselves, their friends, and family members; discuss their hobbies and school; and to hold simple dialogues, paying particular attention to the tones and proficiency in handling everyday situations in the Chinese language.

French

French 1

Open to Grades 8-12
Credit: 1

This course serves as an introduction to the French language through reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Students will be able to present information about themselves and others, ask and answer familiar questions, express likes and dislikes, give advice, communicate about everyday life including family, hobbies and pastimes, school, community, and health. Vocabulary includes salutations, common interrogatives, telling the date/time, numbers, the alphabet, colors, family members, professions, weather, foods, parts of the body, clothing, physical characteristics and personality traits, sports and hobbies, geography, and classroom objects. Grammar includes the conjugation of regular verbs in -er, -ir, and -re; common irregular verbs; the present, near future, and recent past; definite and indefinite articles; the partitive; gender and number agreement; adjectives and their placement; adverbs and their placement; negation; forming questions with est-ce que; and expressions of necessity. Students will explore relevant topics in French and Francophone culture (e.g. body language, eating habits) and discuss these in relation to their own culture.

Science

Science

Ecology

Required for Grade 6

How can we determine which clear liquid is water if we are not allowed to taste it? How can we design a healthy, satisfying meal plan for astronauts in space with limited room and an even more limited budget? How do we build the tallest, most stable structure with a limited amount of straws, tape and paperclips?

This project-based course encourages students to think creatively as they are presented with a variety of scientific problems to solve, none of which has just one solution. Students work collaboratively as they design and test their ideas, and then learn how to rethink their projects if and when they don’t succeed the first time. Along the way, we hope to ignite a love of science and a natural curiosity about the world around us.

Human Biology

Required for Grade 7

This course covers how the human body works from the cellular level to the body systems. It includes the scientific method, cell theory, cell reproduction, genetics and the human body systems. Our emphasis will be on how to be healthy and how the body keeps itself healthy. Lab work, dissections, study skills, and current events will be integral parts of the course.

Earth Science

Required for Grade 8

This course introduces many of the basic themes of the Earth Sciences, including both Geology and Astronomy. Students are given the chance to pursue their individual interests, as well, by means of independent projects assigned on various topics throughout the year.

Mathematics

Mathematics

Foundations of Mathematics

Open to 6th grade

Students will explore practical as well as theoretical mathematics. Basic math and computational skills, problem solving, patterns, estimating and mental math are emphasized. Topics include decimals, integers, fractions, exponents, ratios, rates, proportions, percents, measurement, graphing in the coordinate plane and an introduction to variables, equations, inequalities and geometry.

Pre-Algebra

Open to grades 6-7

This course is for students who have completed Foundations of Mathematics or an equivalent course. Topics include further exploration of decimals, factors, fractions, integers, exponents, ratios, proportions, and percents, as well as algebraic expressions and integers, linear equations, and solving equations and inequalities.

Algebra 1

Open to Grades 8-9

Students entering this class are expected to have studied positive and negative numbers, the basic properties of numbers, and simple equations. The course covers all topics of elementary algebra, including verbal problems, factoring, graphing of linear equations, radicals, solving linear and quadratic equations, and linear systems.

Honors Algebra 1

Credit: 1 (if taken in 9th grade)
Open to Grades 7-9

This course is for students who have a strong background in arithmetic facts and skills and in elementary algebra, including positive and negative numbers, the basic properties of numbers, and simple equations. They must have demonstrated a good aptitude for mathematical reasoning. The course covers all topics of elementary algebra, including verbal problems, factoring, algebraic fractions, graphing of linear functions, radicals, solving linear and quadratic equations, systems of equations, variations, and the quadratic formula.

Arts

Dance

Middle School Dance

Required for Grades 6, 7 and 8

The Middle School Dance program concentrates on the development of technical skills, and the appreciation of the art form. An annual dance performance is included in the yearly activities.

Theater

Performance Fundamentals

Required for Grades: 6, 7, and 8

The Middle School theatre classes will focus on the fundamentals of dramatic performance. The classes will build the necessary skills for character development, scene work, and theatre history.

Middle School Theater Production

Offered: Winter, Grades 6-8
Prerequisite: Audition
Credit: Winter season athletics

During the winter months, cast members rehearse a theatrical production to be presented to the community in early March. Past productions have included The Secret Garden, The Jungle Book, The Lady Pirates of Captain Bree, The Hobbit, Wonderland and Robin Hood.

Music

Middle School Music Classes & Choristers

Required in Grades: 6-8

Middle School Music classes meet once per week within grade levels, and once per week as a full Middle School. The grade level class includes singing and choral activities, folk dancing, rhythm training, music theory, musical theatre/theatre exercises, sight singing, and audition preparation. There is continued emphasis on listening and skill development, as well as music appreciation.

The full Middle School music meeting is called Choristers. All Middle School students participate in this choral group, which performs in the Holiday and Spring Concerts, as well as all-School Chapels.

Music Lessons

Open to Grades: 6-12; Additional fee
Extra-curricular activity

Private lessons are offered for many instruments. Numerous recitals and chapels involve the Music Program, and public performance in these events is encouraged.

Financial Commitment: Private lessons are billed through the Business Office. Please refer to the booklet that contains all financial agreements, and return the completed information form. The Music Instruction Agreement must be signed by a parent/guardian and returned before lessons can be given to a student.

Gospel Choir

Open to Grades: 7-12, without audition

The Gospel Choir is a lively vocal ensemble that incorporates musical styles from the spiritual, blues and gospel genres. This ensemble demands a willingness to participate in the appropriate style that this music commands.

Group Voice

Open to Grades: 6-12, without audition

This course provides students with an opportunity to learn and improve vocal technique and to experience a repertoire of various styles. Enrollment in choir is not required. A fine vocal ensemble, Voce Felice, is formed from members of this class. Individual singers have the opportunity to perform as soloists at the close of the year.

Visual Arts

Middle School Art

Required for Grades: 6-8

This course explores the basic modes of visual expression, which may include drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography, textile arts, and ceramics. Coursework is designed to help each student develop her own identity through art, as well as self-confidence and independence. The curriculum connects with the Middle School program of study whenever possible and provides a well-rounded artistic basis for Upper School-level visual art courses.

STEAM

STEAM

STEM in Action 6

This course introduces the basic concepts of programming and robotics in an interactive environment fostering collaboration, creativity and communication.  As part of the course,the students will also engage in various hands-on projects to gain an understanding of the foundational concepts in civil engineering such as tension and compression and how those forces are at work in various structures.

STEM in Action 7

This course continues to develop skills in programming through challenges and their own projects in the Scratch programming language.  In addition to Scratch, students will be able to further their programming knowledge and skills through challenges utilizing the Sphero robot.

As part of the course,the students will also engage in various hands-on projects to gain an understanding of the foundational concepts in mechanical engineering by developing an understanding of mechanical advantage and what that means for simple machines.

Engineering Principles

This course focuses on problem solving heuristics and the engineering design process – defining a problem, identifying its constraints, brainstorming solutions, creating and evaluating a prototype, iterating to improve a prototype, and communicating their solution.

The students will practice the design process by solving various engineering challenges.  As part of the course, the students will have an opportunity to apply what they have learned by identifying their own problem, following the design process and creating their own digital or physical solution for presentation.

An Integral Part of the Walker’s Community

Middle and Upper Schooler

Walker’s Middle School is located next door to the Upper School, so girls from both schools spend time together every day. They participate in school traditions and meetings, and form friendships. These things emerge naturally from the shared sense of a single, caring community, but the Middle School is its own learning environment.

Student Life at Walker's

Outdoor Classrooms

At Walker’s, learning, exploration and collaboration continue beyond the confines of a traditional classroom. Classes often make their way outside in nice weather, where you’ll have plenty of opportunities to explore hands-on learning.


Apiary

Apiary

Walker's apiary began as a proposal in 2013 by Environmental Science students concerned about the damaging effects colony collapse disorder has on the global bee population and agriculture at large. Students in the sixth grade Ecology class were the apiary's first visitors in 2014, and the apiary is incorporated into several aspects of Walker’s curriculum. Professional beekeeper and Walker's parent Gilman Mucaj P'21 helps to maintain the beehives.

Garden

Garden

Walker’s Middle School Garden Club maintains an organic community garden. Our students’ responsibilities include harvesting and cooking produce grown in the garden, collecting compost from meals in our dining hall for the garden’s soil, and going on fieldtrips to learn more about the benefits of gardening. The garden’s produce is later cooked, sold, or donated to local food banks.

For detailed information about our programs or to plan a visit, contact our Admission Office at admission@ethelwalker.org or (860) 408-4200.