Upper School (Grades 6-8)
Where Intelligence, Confidence, and Creativity Come Together
Westminster’s upper school provides an extraordinary academic and personal development program. A well-rounded, challenging academic curriculum, with daily guidance toward personal responsibility and independent study skills, is combined with close attention to each child’s individual development. Within a warm, nurturing environment, children are encouraged and taught how to exercise respect, kindness, responsibility, integrity, and resilience, as well as the knowledge, skills and attitudes fundamental to their delight in learning—today and always. Firmly grounded in the school’s overall mission and philosophy, the upper-school program provides a carefully planned, consistent approach to all aspects of your child’s intellectual, emotional, and social development.
As in the earlier grades at Westminster, a subject-area specialist is employed to teach each academic subject. Many of our teachers hold an undergraduate and/or graduate degree in the subject he or she teaches and a master’s degree in education, or have a comparable background. Seventh and 8th-grade students have a separate teacher and classroom for English/language arts, math, history/geography, science, French, Latin, art, music, and PE. This approach provides an “immersion” environment in each class, where the teacher’s background, passion, effort, and creativity are all directed toward the subject under study. Each day, the students enter classrooms in which all of the lessons, displays, and special activities are designed to engage their interest and further their knowledge of each subject.
A Team Approach
The upper-school teachers work closely to coordinate the daily schedule of classes, quizzes, tests, projects, field trips, and other activities to ensure a steady workload and balance of activities for the students. Since all of the grade-level teachers know and teach all of the children, they are especially able to keep a close eye on each individual’s progress, whether academic, social, or emotional. Small classes provide the opportunity for individual attention, and daily advisories make sure that teachers check on student responsibilities and deliver important reminders. Teachers and parents are in close communication, through personal conferences, telephone calls, teacher postings on Blackbaud, and emails. The teachers provide a warm welcome and a helping hand for each student, taking a personal interest in supporting the child’s progress, not only as a scholar, but as an individual developing his/her own personality and navigating the world of friends, peer relations, and general life skills.
In addition to their core academics, arts, and P.E., students enjoy a variety of enrichment classes: STEAM & technology (grades 6-8), Shakespeare studies (grade 7), ballroom dancing (grades 7-8), and Enrichment Class, focusing on leadership, personal presentation, and goals for the future (grade 8).
High-quality, in-depth curricula are in place for all subjects, including English/language arts, math, science, history/geography, classical studies, French, and Latin. With Westminster’s learning-friendly environment and teacher specialists, our students are exposed to a greater breadth and depth of knowledge, and progress at a faster pace than their peers in public and other private schools. Expectations are high for student effort and accountability, with homework assignments in all subjects each night and a regular schedule of quizzes, tests, and projects.
Westminster believes that participation in the arts is essential to the development of a well-rounded, fully realized individual. All students are given a strong foundation in the visual and performing arts through regular classes, arts-related field trips, an art-rich physical environment, and frequent opportunities to attend and perform in school music programs and dramatic productions. Dance is included in the curriculum at all grade levels.