JDS Middle School strives to guide students through the often turbulent years of early adolescence with the goal of graduating independent learners who understand their past, identify passionately with the issues of the present and can confidently envision the impact of their own future trajectory within the larger world.
Small classes and a cross curricular emphasis on project based learning offers students a unique opportunity for differentiated, creative collaboration balanced by foundational skill development. Students are given the time and space to exercise developing leadership through projects such as Student Council, Manhigoot (see below), grade level outdoor education experiences , yearbook publishing, after school sports and the culminating 8th grade trip to Israel. In addition, outreach programs and tzedakah (righteous giving) projects are sprinkled throughout the year to help students become active participants in our community and contributors to a better world.
Students enter their Middle School and are immediately asked to analyze, challenge, question and mine the complexity of earlier gained knowledge and previously held assumptions. From Theology to Thoreau, from the Holocaust to the double helix, JDS students tackle life’s perplexing questions and learn to appreciate and respond to life’s most beautiful and courageous answers. Through their immersive study of Hebrew, Jewish History and Jewish Text, students connect to the energy and the positive precedents of their tradition. Through the study of Humanities, Science and Mathematics, students bring their unique perspectives and sensibilities to the more general world of ideas.
These are busy and meaningful years for Middle School students. It is our task to help these burgeoning inquirers learn for today and prepare for tomorrow.
Technology - Students receive a school owned laptop at the beginning of their 6th grade year. Computer use is part and parcel of nearly every class, with skill acquisition seamlessly integrated into the varied curricula. With the help of our cutting edge technology, a Middle School graduate leaves 8th grade as a word processor, power point creator, podcast producer and movie editor.
Journey and Growth Electives - In addition to Middle School’s extensive physical education program and competitive athletics, the JDS Middle School expands student exposure to arts and music by allowing students to select one of 5 different electives for a ten session trimester. Electives include classes such as Marimba drumming, architecture/design, drama, golf, mosaics and sewing. Following the last session of each trimester, parents are invited to a student exhibition/coffee house to view student work and listen to student presentations.
Manhigoot (Leadership) - During one period each week, Middle School students give back to their community through the following leadership activities:
- Student Council
- Middle School Green Team
- Mitzvah Crew
- Classroom/Faculty Helper
Class Meetings - Weekly Class Meetings allow the Middle School to use Positive Discipline principles to monitor their own actions as well as the actions of their classmates. Class meeting agendas are set by students and, over the course of the Middle School years, students are empowered to become class meeting facilitators as well. Class meetings teach students to be the owners and actors of their own fate - and help students in the esential skills of self-reflection and collaboration.
LRC (Learning Resource Center) - Valuing diversity and individual learning styles/profiles, JDS is fortunate to have a Learning Resource Center with several learning specialists who consult with teaching teams and parents, and offer support / instruction to students as they strive to reach their academic potential.
What do JDS Middle School parents think about our program? Click here to find out!