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Academics

DCD Middle School students will tell you in the same breath that school is challenging and fun

This a testament to our dynamic Middle School curriculum. Through a well-rounded academic program that encourages original thought and exploration, we achieve a balance between freedom and structure, initiative and support, individualism and cooperation, and innovation and tradition.
 
Our curriculum is complemented by expanded course offerings and activities to fit students’ needs and interests. Academics, athletics, the arts and service—all are intricately connected to produce independent scholars who have learned to communicate clearly, assume personal responsibility, celebrate the strengths of themselves and others, embrace challenge, and understand the significance of being a citizen of the world.

Did you know that in DCD’s Middle School…

  • Responsibility and leadership opportunities are provided to Middle School students through our Kindergarten–Grade 8 Buddy Program, the Grade 8 Admission Ambassador program, athletic team captainship, the Student Council, Weekly Assemblies, the Student Outreach Committee and voluntary participation in several community service afternoons throughout the year.
  • Middle School students participate in a 1:1 laptop program, receive a laptop and are educated in digital literacy and citizenship.
  • Challenging, interdisciplinary academics emphasize writing, critical thinking, and problem-solving.
  • Mini-term, which takes place between Thanksgiving and Winter break, offers a special curriculum in Science and Humanities for focus and in-depth study.
  • Day trips and overnight retreats offer the opportunity for off-campus exploration, learning, and team building. During their time in the Middle School, students will go on overnight trips to the Chickatawbut Hill Educational Center, the Farm School, A Mountain Classroom at Pinkham Notch, and Washington, D.C. Day trips include visits to Hale Reservation for team-building, the Challenger Center, the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for The US Senate, the Institute of Contemporary Art and various Boston theatrical performances.
  • Students participate in the annual Science Exposition which encourages in-depth exploration, problem solving, and collaboration on a particular topic or area of interest they choose.
  • Middle School Math Club meets weekly and competes in the New England Mathletes Competition.
  • Modern language study is in Spanish or Latin.
  • Middle School clubs and activities offer a variety of opportunities to pursue interests in Debate, 3D Printing, Robotics, and Pottery to name a few. 

What is DCD's Mini-term?

Between Thanksgiving and winter break, students in the middle school embark on DCD's Mini-term curriculum, which is designed to allow students to dive into specific subjects in science and humanities in a deep and focused way. For this three-week period, the daily schedule changes to allow for longer class periods where more focused discussions, research, and project work can take place.
 
In Science, Grade 6 students pose a question or hypothesis about a science related topic of their choosing and then devise their own experiments for testing, analyzing and presenting. Grade 7 students are working on a robotics unit designing, building and programming with Lego Mindstorm. Utilizing their study of simple machines from their curriculum in the fall, Grade 8 students parlay their knowledge into designing, constructing, and testing their own complex machines. These machine creations are required to complete a task independent of human intervention!
 
In Humanities, DCD’s History and English faculty collaborate to team teach a combined and impactful curriculum for each middle school grade. "I am Malala" by Malala Yousafzae serves as the centerpiece for the 6th grade humanities theme of activism. Grade 7 students are introduced to the Civil Rights Movement through a survey of events and discussions. And leveraging what they learned from the previous year, Grade 8 students narrow their focus on the Civil Rights Movement with a study of the Little Rock Nine and the desegregation of Central High School.
 
Just before winter break dismissal, mini-term culminates with a Science Expo where middle school students have an opportunity to showcase and share their project work with their parents and lower school students. Math and foreign language classes continue as normal.

Idea Log: DCD Middle School Faculty Blog

Middle School Team

List of 10 members.

  • Photo of Nathaniel Buffum

    Nathaniel Buffum 

    Head of Middle School, Grade 8 History Teacher
  • Photo of Daniel Balk

    Daniel Balk 

    Assistant Athletic Director, Physical Education Teacher, Grade 6 History Teacher
  • Photo of Richard Edie

    Richard Edie 

    Grade 6 & 7 English Teacher, Secondary School Counseling
  • Photo of Robert Harrington

    Robert Harrington 

    Grade 7 Latin and Math Teacher, Middle School Athletics
  • Photo of Brenda Leith

    Brenda Leith 

    Grades 6-8 Math Teacher
  • Photo of James Pinola

    James Pinola 

    Grades 6-8 Math Teacher
  • Photo of Wendy Soutsos

    Wendy Soutsos 

    Grade 6 English, History and Math Teacher, Middle School Athletics
  • Photo of Robertson Thacher

    Robertson Thacher 

    Grade 7 History Teacher, Grade 8 English Teacher
  • Photo of Sarah Walsh

    Sarah Walsh 

    Lower and Middle School Science Teacher
  • Photo of Autumn Andrade-de León

    Autumn Andrade-de León 

    Grades 4-8 Spanish Teacher
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