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Middle School

Middle school students at LCDS receive an exceptional education. They start out as girls and boys and graduate as confident, well-educated, poised, and happy young women and men. Nearly all who apply to private high schools are accepted to their first-choice school, and we have a reputation as a school whose graduates arrive in ninth grade very well prepared for the academic challenges of high school.

The middle-school program embodies the LCDS Mission by delivering a challenging core curriculum, educating the whole child, fostering exemplary character and values, while maintaining a nurturing, family atmosphere. With half as many students in our classrooms as many public schools, our students get more individualized attention, have more leadership opportunities, experience fewer distractions, do more writing, participate in more class discussions, undertake more inquiry and project-based lessons and activities, and have more opportunities for public speaking. Among the many highlights of the academic program are the special projects and events, field trips, interscholastic academic competitions, the interdisciplinary English program, the three-tiered math program, the high school level foreign language program and a one-of-a-kind STEM program. Our music, art, and athletic programs extend and deepen the experience that started in the lower school. The bring-your-own-device program brings a wealth of learning resources right to each student's desk. The NetClassroom student information system provides students and parents with online access to grades, assignment calendars, announcements, and report cards.

Through our community service activities, Student Council and other leadership opportunities, Blue/Green spirit teams and games, Eagle Time character programs and speaker series, team-building activities, Life Skills programs, and an atmosphere that promotes teamwork, camaraderie, empathy, kindness, and good decision-making, we immerse the students in an atmosphere that helps them become young women and men whose decisions and values will make them proud. Schedule a tour to see for yourself what our Middle School experience has to offer.

Math

Students differ in the pace at which they learn mathematical concepts. Therefore, students are grouped by ability in math in the Middle School. The goal of each sequence of courses is to challenge students and to ensure a strong foundation and successful experience in math for all students.

There are three sequences of study:

Sequence 1 prepares students to take Algebra 1 in ninth grade. Students are on grade level throughout middle school. Students take Math 6 in sixth grade, Math 7 in seventh grade, and pre-algebra in eighth grade. Students who complete this sequence will be on course to study geometry, trigonometry, and pre-calculus in high school.

Sequence 2 prepares students to take geometry or Algebra II in ninth grade. This sequence is a one-year advanced course of study. Students take Math 6 in sixth grade, pre-algebra in seventh grade, and Algebra I in eighth grade. Students who complete this sequence will be expected to take advanced placement calculus in high school.

Sequence 3 prepares students to take Algebra II in ninth grade. This sequence is a two-year advanced course of study. Students take pre-algebra in sixth grade, Algebra I in seventh grade, and geometry in eighth grade. Students who complete this sequence will be expected to begin AP calculus in their junior year of high school.


Science


Middle School Science at Loudoun Country Day School is exciting and engaging. Students are regularly involved in hands-on learning activities and experimentation. Small class sizes provide opportunity for students to work cooperatively in small lab groups and allow each student to gain ample experience in all aspects of an investigation. Students use high-quality scientific tools, such as monocular and binocular microscopes and digital probes for data collection. Coordination with the Technology department allows for many STEM activities throughout the year.



6th Grade Earth Science
Sixth grade Earth Science teaches students about the Earth's structure, geologic processes including mineral, rock and fossil formation, plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanoes, oceans, ocean currents and tides.

Program Highlights:
  • Mineral, rock and fossil Identification
  • Earthquake proof structure design, construction and testing
  • Volcano construction and eruption
  • Construction and testing of SeaPerch ROVs
  • Field trips include Museum of Natural History and Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division
7th Grade Life Science
7th Grade Life Science introduces students to the organization, mechanisms and interdependence of living things. Through a variety of hands-on activities and formal lab investigations, students explore topics that include cells, photosynthesis, heredity, classification, and ecology.

Program Highlights:
  • Extensive use of microscopes
  • Student microscope licenses
  • Hydroponics Experiments
  • DNA Extraction Lab
  • Key Largo Marine Biology field trip
8th Grade Physical Science
In 8th grade science at LCDS, students explore Physical Science concepts through experimentation and hands-on activities. Students begin the year by learning to use the metric system measure accurately. This skill is used throughout the year as students conduct labs to learn about matter, motion, forces and chemistry.

Program Highlights:
  • Use of SparkVue laboratory probes and iPad app for data collection
  • Student created Newton’s Laws of Motion videos
  • Design, build and race Mousetrap Cars
  • Formal lab reports with data analysis

Foreign Language

The Middle School Foreign Language curriculum covers high school Spanish or French 1 and 2. We explore cultural aspects of French- and Spanish-speaking regions in addition to instructing vocabulary and language structure. Class periods are vibrant sessions split among reading, oral dialogs, writing, and oral comprehension. These skills are used in games, journals, video creation, oral and written drills, film clips and mini skits. Some basics of geography, history, art and literature are covered. Special occasions present opportunities to cook and taste regional foods, listen to or sing music, and share language skills and stories with Lower School buddies or pen pals overseas. Class room instruction is in the target language as permitted by student level. More English is incorporated for 6th grade, and 8th grade instruction is almost exclusively in Spanish or French. Thematic units include travel, asking directions, restaurant conversations, professions, sports, clothing, food, leisure activities, past events and future plans. Enrichment and blended learning is incorporated in various ways through software programs.


Program Highlights
  • International Festival- We hold an annual festival for the entire school highlighting a different country or part of the world. Festivals feature professional performances of music, dance, or plays. There are food tastings, student work or performances, decorations, and sometimes parades and costumes!
  • Language Career Day- Visiting professionals from many fields provide inspiration for language learning by sharing stories about how language skill helped in their careers.
  • Field Trips- Students enjoy plays, concerts, or museum exhibits often accompanied by a restaurant luncheon. Sometimes an embassy tour or Kennedy Center visit ties in with our topics.
  • Pen Pals- Students interact with European peers through letters and video conferencing with schools in Granollers, Spain and Artix, France.

Key Points
  • LCDS Middle School offers French and Spanish
  • High school level classes and credit in 7th & 8th
  • Pen pals, Head Start class, Reading Buddies, Skype
  • Core course meets 4 times a week
  • Field trips
  • Skits, songs, dialogs, games, videos, oral presentations
  • Cultural exploration
  • Annual all-school International Festival


English

The LCDS Middle School English program is designed to support the content taught in other courses by teaching and implementing communication skills. Reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills are engaged and developed throughout the years in a variety of assignments, projects, and other activities. There is strong emphasis on collaborative learning and differentiated learning activities. Students engage in learning through the use of technology as an authentic writing medium while applying vocabulary and grammar studies learned in the classroom. The English program also acts as an extension of the LCDS mission statement to develop character through the exploration of literary themes.

Sixth grade English is taught as a cross-curricular subject with 6th grade Social Studies and establishes foundational concepts in the writing process. Students are introduced to new vocabulary, grammatical and writing skills. They hone their research skills while reading materials that support their understanding of the ancient civilizations being studied. Students engage in writing for real world purposes and polish fundamentals with the goal of reaching competency in writing.

Seventh grade English is taught thematically in conjunction with 7th grade Life Science with a specific focus on science fiction and ethics. The reading materials and activities in English class relate to many ideas, themes, and concepts taught in science. Students examine the different elements of plot, grammar, Greek and Latin word parts, and practice the various purposes of informational and persuasive writing using textual evidence.

Eighth grade English is taught as a cross-curricular subject with U.S. Civics. Primary documents and interpretations of modern literature are used to develop students’ language skills by expanding their understanding, expression, and appreciation of government and its processes. Students deepen their analysis skills through authentic learning assignments including our annual poetry coffee house in which students write and perform original poetry.


Social Studies

Sixth Grade Social Studies
In sixth grade social studies, the students learn about the geography, history, and culture of various ancient civilizations of the world. The units of study are: Ancient Egypt, Ancient Mesopotamia, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome and Medieval Europe. Students enjoy a variety of special programs to enhance their learning.

Program Highlights:
  • Egypt research project, classroom museum and brunch
  • Middle Ages, London Brass Rubbing Company workshop
  • Middle Ages Play
  • Field Trips to the Museum of Natural History and an overnight field trip to Walters Art Museum, the Baltimore Inner Harbor and Medieval Times

Seventh Grade Social Studies

The seventh grade enjoys a one year enriching World History course. The objectives of this course are to help students understand the major events in Modern World History. The time period studied spans from The Renaissance through September 11, 2001. The objective is to develop the ability to learn from the past, create analogies between past and present, understand the major issues and controversies in the World’s past and how they were resolved and could have been resolved differently, and use historical knowledge and critical thinking abilities to participate more fully and confidently in the democratic process. The class is instructed through primary resource readings and project collaboration. The students use their computers on a daily basis.

Program Highlights:
  • Virtual field trips
  • National History Day Websites
  • Guest speakers
  • Field Trips to the United States Holocaust Museum, The National Archives and The International Spy Museum


Eighth Grade Civics

Students study Civics in eighth grade. Units of study include Economics, Government, the U.S. Constitution, and the U.S., Virginia, and Loudoun County governments.

Program Highlights:

  • Washington, DC field trip to a Supreme Court oral argument, a committee meeting, visit a Member of Congress, and tour the Capitol and Crime Museum
  • Williamsburg field trip
  • National History Day documentary. The students produce a documentary on a Civics topic that can be entered in the competition.
  • Socratic approach in the classroom. We don’t just memorize facts, we debate proportional representation, the the electoral college, etc., as well as current events.
  • Debate Unit. Each student participates on two teams, researching issues, writing speeches, and learning public speaking tips. During an evening in May, they participate in a formal debate.


Resource

The purpose of the LCDS Middle School Resource Program is to assist students with academic, organizational, or attention areas that need strengthening to achieve success in our rigorous core academic subjects. The Resource class meets four times per week at the same time foreign language classes are meeting. Therefore, students in the Resource Program do not take a foreign language.

Students who need support to keep up in core academic classes, diagnosed with mild learning disabilities, or suspected of learning disabilities based on observations of faculty and the resource teacher, may be enrolled in the Resource Program after consultation with parents.

Approximately two to six students per grade level (out of approximately 32 students) are typically enrolled in Resource class. The Resource class is taught by a teacher specifically trained to meet the needs of students in resource classes. The program is designed to provide individual and group instruction and support in reading, reading comprehension, writing, and math, in addition to course specific content. Time management, study, and organizational skills are stressed, as well as quiz and test preparation. Students use resource time to work on assignments, study guides, and long term projects for the courses they are taking.

PE & Athletics

The LCDS Middle School Athletic and Physical Education Program emphasizes fitness, character development, and building friendships through participation on interscholastic teams. Individual students are encouraged to try new sports, to step into leadership roles on their teams, to push themselves to improve, and to embrace the highest levels of sportsmanship. Our talented and enthusiastic coaches are drawn from the faculty as well as the community at large, and all are well versed in working with and motivating the middle school aged child.

LCDS belongs to the Piedmont Athletic Conference which offers levels of competition appropriate for the middle school student. Developmental and competitive teams are offered in each sport so every child has an appropriate level of play to enjoy and learn. Each year, three different sports seasons take place which all culminate with a single day of round robin play for the most competitive teams, and for the developmental teams as well. Our competitive teams, the green teams, have the opportunity to compete for the league championship each season by winning the single day tournament.

The following middle school sports are currently offered:
Fall - Field Hockey, Coed Tennis, Boys’ Soccer, Cross Country
Winter - Basketball and Intramural Sports
Spring - Girls’ and Boys’ Lacrosse, Coed Tennis, Track and Field
All Year - Extracurricular Swim Team

The physical education program also offers special events for every student to participate, in addition to their individual teams. Many of these events have long traditions at our school and alumni often return to cheer on their former classmates. These include:
  • One Mile Cross Country Run
  • Blue vs Green Spirit Games
  • Annual Basketball Talon Tournament and Pep Rally
  • Blue vs Green Track Meet

STEM

LCDS's Middle School STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) program is a unique hands-on lab experience designed to help students become responsible digital citizens, provide a strong foundation of STEM skills, foster creative problem solving and provide an environment where students see themselves as innovators rather than consumers of technology. Students attend STEM twice a week.

The STEM curriculum is comprised of five tracks:

  • Operations and Concepts
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Research and Information fluency
  • Creation/Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
Within these tracks middle school students will explore digital citizenship, programming, robotics engineering, the design process, presentation/video production, basic electronics and more in projects and lessons which often complement studies in core curriculum classes.

When a student completes middle school, they will have had completed more STEM education than the majority of students graduating from public or private high schools in Loudoun County.

6th Grade Program Highlights:
  • Digital Citizenship and Safety
  • Effective and organized research, note taking, citation, bibliographies with NoodleTools Programming (Computer Games)
  • Media Literacy
  • NXT robotics
  • SeaPerch

7th Grade Program Highlights:

  • Digital Citizenship and Safety
  • Website Design (National History Day)
  • Engineering Design with Arduino Uno
  • HTML, JavaScript, C/C++ Programming
8th Grade Program Highlights:
  • Digital Citizenship and Safety
  • Make the World a Better Place Design/Build Project
  • Video Production (National History Day/Graduation)
  • Robotics Engineering and Programming

Music

Our music faculty is comprised of specialists in strings, band, and voice. All students sing in choir and play in the band or orchestra. Students meet twice a week for fifty minutes. Musicians may also audition to become a student accompanist or join LCDS Show Choir.

Instrument Choices include:

  • Orchestra - violin, viola, cello, bass
  • Band - flute, clarinet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, trumpet, trombone, baritone, euphonium, tuba, percussion

All students participate in the following performances:
  • Northern Virginia Private School Music Festival
  • Winter Concert
  • Spring Concert
  • Grandparents' and Special Friends' Concert
  • Graduation
Additional optional performing opportunities include Veterans Day, variety shows, and assisted living centers. Show choir performs at school functions and community events such as school concerts, minor league baseball games, a Georgetown University basketball game and Leesburg's First Friday. Students may also join music club when offered during Eagle Time.

Visual Arts

The Visual Arts program inspires students to perceive and shape the visual, spatial, and aesthetic characteristics of the world around them.

Program Highlights:

  • Winter Art Showcase
  • Spring Art Showcase
  • Visiting Artist Program
  • Field trips to area galleries/ museums/ artist studios
  • Art Competitions
Our large art studio with abundant natural light is a great place to engage in creative explorations. Whether students are working on an independent artistic endeavor or collaboratively, they have a multitude of tools, materials and media at their disposal. Our in-studio kiln is an asset which allows for ongoing clay explorations and learning about the complete process of ceramic production.

Our comprehensive program includes the traditional "fine arts" of drawing, painting, photography, printmaking and sculpture as well as the design fields of ceramics, textiles, architecture, graphic design and digital arts. A combination of instructional approaches, Discipline Based Art Education (DBAE)) and Design Thinking, provide a flexible and responsive framework for skills mastery, independent learning and synthesizing information.

Critical thinking is woven into every aspect of our visual arts program. Ongoing discussions about aesthetics, artistic processes, art history and contemporary relevance are valuable opportunities for students to practice essential public speaking skills.

The hallmark of our program is it's plasticity, assuring an individualized and enriching visual arts experience for each student. As creative endeavors challenge students in different ways our program adjusts to meet needs as they arise. Students are encouraged to take informed risks, understand the importance of mistakes, and enjoy the possibilities of creative experimentation.

The middle school visual arts experience unlocks areas of student growth in a fun, collaborative and community atmosphere.

Library

Welcome to the LCDS Library, Middle School style!

6th Grade visits the Library once a month with a year-long focus on Media Literacy. We discuss the influence of advertising techniques, bias in the media, the effects of Photoshop on self-image, and generally raise the students' level of awareness of the extent of the media's influence in their lives. Students also have access to and use of the Library's resources for projects and to the latest fiction books for their pleasure reading.

7th and 8th Grades visit the Library on an as-needed basis for project work and have access to all of the Library's resources. They also participate in regular book checkout times after the Monday morning Middle School assemblies. The highlight of the 8th Grade Library student experience is a field trip to the George Mason University Library to work on the National History Day Projects. Not only do students get access to all of the print and database resources, but they also get to experience an academic library environment.

Special Programs From year to year and in conjunction with curricular needs, the Library provides special program opportunities for middle school students.


Special Programs

The middle school program includes a variety of special programs designed to enhance the student experience while in the middle school and prepare students for selecting and entering high school. Programs include:

Student Council
LCDS has a Student Council which is responsible for sponsoring student activities, such as social events and community service, and provides a forum for students to make suggestions about school policy. Common activities include Middle School dances, the Talon Tournament concession stand, the Halloween boo-grams, game afternoons, the annual ski trip to Liberty Mountain and a soup drive to benefit Loudoun Hunger Relief.

Leadership Program
The LCDS Leadership Program seeks to emphasize a developmentally appropriate program that complements the academic curriculum. The LCDS Leadership Program provides the opportunity for students to develop skills necessary to become leaders within a community. The leadership focus features integrated learning experiences that incorporate character education, communication skills, problem solving skills and community service.

Secondary School Counseling Program
Selecting a high school can be stressful. We offer the following events and services to help take the angst out of the process and help parents and students find the high school that is the right match for them:

Secondary School Seminar - An evening where LCDS parents and alums discuss their experiences and the lessons they learned during the selection process.

Secondary School Fair - Representatives from more than 30 private schools exhibit in our multi-purpose room and discuss their schools with our students.

Secondary School Handbook - Experienced LCDS administrators and teachers provide advice about interviews, references and tours.

SSAT Prep Course - Most private schools require applicants to take the SSAT and, for 17 years, our Secondary School Advisor has taught SSAT test-taking tips each fall.

Eighth grade ‘Looking Ahead’ program - During the fall, the students complete recommendations about themselves, watch role-played interviews, and generally reflect on their aspirations beyond middle school; an information clearinghouse for public school orientations and details of the special application process for Thomas Jefferson School for Science and Technology and the Loudoun Academy of Science.

Eagle Time

Friday afternoons are set aside for all middle school students to participate in Eagle Time.

Eagle Time consists of:
  • Team building
  • Character development
  • Community service both
    on campus and off campus
  • Guest Speaker series
  • Clubs
  • Blue and Green Activities

Team Building
All middle school students begin the year with an off-campus team building day and 8th graders stay overnight. Students participate in a variety of activities which may include a ropes course, kayaking, rock climbing, etc. In additional to the off campus activities at the start of each school year, there is also an afternoon devoted to team building on campus.

Character development:
Character Counts (6th Grade)
7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens (7th Grade)
Preparing for High School (8th Grade)

Community Service
Each year a portion of Eagle Time is dedicated to giving back to our school and local community. Past activities have included playing music at local senior centers, helping out in area non-profit organizations and beautifying our campus and local parks.

Club Examples: Bowling, German, History Meets Hollywood, Kindergarten Helpers, PE Coaches, Knitting, Yoga, Vintage Board Games, Robotics, MakerSpace

Blue and Green Activities
Every student is assigned a team (blue or green) upon entering the middle school. The student remains on that team throughout his tenure at LCDS. Throughout the year, students earn points for various activities and at the end of the trimester the winning team earns a free dress day. The final Blue and Green competition is the all-school track meet in the spring. Students enjoy the friendly competition throughout the year and school spirit pervades the hallways.


Life Skills

LCDS offers a life skills, health, and sex education program to students in grades 6-8. The program was developed by doctors with separate programs for each grade level. Topics are age appropriate and range from the physical and emotional changes that occur during adolescence to human anatomy, and eventually sexual reproduction for the 8th grade students. Health, hygiene, and nutrition are also discussed. Students meet once per trimester for two trimesters with the doctors or health professionals. The 7th grade students have a third meeting with teachers to discuss bullying, and the 8th graders meet with a mental health professional to discuss prevention of tobacco, drug, and alcohol abuse. Sixth grade students host an orientation for the rising 6th graders during the third and final trimester.

Field Trips

Our Middle School program consistently offers a wide range of field trips during sixth through eighth grades. Below is a sampling of field trips offered during these years.

SIXTH GRADE:

  • Adventure Links Team Building
  • Museum of Natural History-twice
  • Brass rubbing workshop
  • Walters Art Museum
  • Baltimore Inner Harbor
  • Medieval Times
  • Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division
  • Play, concert, art exhibit with French restaurant
  • GALA theater with Mexican lunch
  • National Gallery of Art

SEVENTH GRADE:
  • Adventure Links Team Building
  • United States Memorial Holocaust Museum
  • The National Archives
  • The International Spy Museum
  • French embassy visit with French lunch
  • El Greco exhibit
  • Pope Leighey house
  • In-house artist visit by Caroline McCatty
  • MarineLab in Key Largo for marine biology


EIGHTH GRADE:
  • Adventure Links Overnight Team Building including canoeing, kayaking and rock climbing
  • Washington, D.C. Overnight including visits to Supreme Court and Capitol
  • Williamsburg, VA Overnight
  • George Mason University Library
  • Poetry Coffee House
  • Latin Ballet of Virginia and Cuban lunch in Richmond
  • French cooking class
  • Hershey Park Year End Trip with Dr. Hollister
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