Middle School

Distinctive Talents, Boundless Possibilities

"Harold is a typical eighth grader who just happens to love history. This love is so self-evident, it makes his peers want to emulate him and find out what the hype is all about. Harold is the kind of great student leader who others want to join." -Mr. Ryan Hopkins about this year's MS History Student Awardee

From the head of the Middle School


As head of the middle school, I feel my highest duty is to create an environment where all our students can truly experience the joy of learning. So what does that look like at Boys' Latin?

Well, it's a class on ancient history where the teacher's podium is a student-made replica of a Roman chariot (without the horses, of course). It's bringing to life the Lord of the Flies and making a William Golding masterpiece eminently "cool" by reading it aloud with jungle sounds in the background while seated on a transplanted beach. Or a "Math in My Culture" project where students see how pre-algebra figures into the very things they love, like music, soccer and Minecraft.

What makes all of this possible is our faculty and their genuine joy of teaching, sourced in a commitment to each and every one of our students. Our teachers never fail to impress me with their constant drive to do more and better - all to ensure our boys can see where their academic curiosity takes them, flex their creative muscles, and discover talents they didn't even know they had. Now, that's true excellence in middle school education.

Brandon Mollett '94, Head of the Middle School

Pedagogy and Curriculum


Between childhood and adolescence, reliance and independence, the middle school years are crucial developmental years. At Boys' Latin, our students make the most of them.

Through a hands-on approach to learning that emphasizes self-discovery, our middle school faculty guides students through a challenging, but carefully calibrated curriculum. In doing so, our boys have myriad opportunities to strengthen their confidence in pursuing true excellence on their own terms.

In serving boys with diverse talents, multiple interests and a variety of learning styles, Boys' Latin has always been committed to the academic success of a full range of boys. Boys excel at different things, learn in different ways, and advance at different rates. We recognize that the same student who is a whiz at mathematics may need more individual attention in finding his writing voice.

That's why we created a rotating schedule that's coordinated with our upper school for students ready to accelerate their progress with cross-over classes between the two divisions. That's why we round out our traditional education, which includes Latin for most of our students, with a wealth of courses in the arts, music, multimedia and physical/health education.

In guiding the transition from their elementary school experience to an environment of increasing freedom and personal responsibility expected of them in a dynamic college-preparatory program, we provide myriad opportunities for our middle schoolers to engage with the world in which they live.

Peer-to-peer activities, advisory gatherings, community initiatives, guest speakers, and field trips all serve to involve our students with the society around them, enriching their academic experience and demonstrating the virtues of good citizenship. All of this is complemented by classes focused on decision making, responsibility and leadership, as we believe that character building is as important as academic achievement.

Our middle school teachers get to know every boy - who they are, what they love and how their learning can be energized. Our teachers balance the care they commit to each student with building a sense of collective responsibility for one another and our larger school community.

Our Programs


Mathematics: The middle school mathematics program strives to provide each student with the opportunity to reach his own level of excellence while ensuring all our students secure a mathematical literacy and solid foundation - from basic problem solving and a variety computational skills to abstract reasoning - necessary to undertake a college-preparatory math curriculum. In aligning our program and expectations with that of the upper school courses, middle school students who excel in math can join their upper school peer while those who need more attention and time are given individualized support. Throughout, students are encouraged to apply mathematical concepts in other academic areas and appreciate the purpose and power of the world's most precise natural science.

Mathematics Courses: Math 6; Math 7; Pre-Algebra; Algebra I; Geometry; Honors Geometry with Trigonometry; Algebra II/Trigonometry; Honors Algebra II/Trigonometry.

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Science: The underlying goal of the middle school science program is to foster the natural curiosity that young men have for the world around them. The boys are innately interested in the how, why, and what of the world around. We look to capitalize on this by creating a hands-on, real-world based science program. Through a lab-based curriculum, students learn the skills necessary to be successful in the college preparatory science program in the upper school.

Science Courses: Life Sciences 6; Earth Sciences 7; Introduction to Astronomy, Physics, and Chemistry 8.

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The STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) Innovation Program: For middle schoolers who want to intensify their education in science and mathematics, we offer the new STEAM Innovation Program, which capitalizes on our boys' natural inclination for tinkering, designing, and building. With course offerings based in STEAM principles, the program focuses on essential 21st century skills including creative thinking, intellectual risk-taking, complex communications, digital literacy, adaptability, and collaboration.

STEAM Courses: All STEAM course are organized into trimesters so that each student can participate in at least three different courses in a variety of courses throughout the year.

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English: Our goal is to foster literacy in its fullest sense so our middle school students develop reading, writing, speaking, listening, and critical thinking skills resulting in a confident command of college-level competencies. The students read literature ranging from the traditional canon to modern texts that have cultural relevance. In our student-centered classes, we place a high value on making all texts accessible to and meaningful for our students so that our middle schoolers are confident in their capacity to analyze, interpret, and discuss literature. The middle school writing program sets benchmarks that prepare students for the expectations of the college-preparatory curriculum in the high school with demonstrated mastery in: developing a thesis statement, constructing an outline, and defending their interpretations with textual support as well as proper annotation. The direct instruction of grammar and vocabulary is an integral component in the development of our students as writers. Language Lab for sixth, seventh, and eighth graders allow students to further advance their reading fluency, literary analysis, and applied writing strategies.

English Courses: English 6; English 7; English 8; Language Lab 7-8

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History: As the study of the past helps shape an understanding of society's present-day challenges, our curriculum focuses on developing in each out students an understanding and appreciation for history as well as a tolerance and acceptance of divergent beliefs, ideals, and opinions. The middle school history curriculum focuses on building base knowledge and skills, which will allow students to delve into the complexities of a rigorous upper-school curriculum. These skills include note-taking, research, expository writing, global awareness, cultural understanding, and critical thinking.

History Courses: Global Studies 6; Ancient Mediterranean History and Culture 7; Modern American History and Civics 8.

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World Language: The world language program provides an opportunity for middle school students to develop essential grammar and language skills while gaining a broader perspective on various cultures around the world. For those students who qualify for a language exemption in the middle school, we offer an English-based language lab program in which students have the opportunity to develop stronger grammar and language skills in preparation for the world language requirements in high school.

World Language Courses: Spanish (Grade 6); Spanish and Latin (Grade 7); Spanish I, Latin I or French I (Grade 8); Language Lab (Grades 6-8)

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Library: Independent reading courses offered by the library department offer students an opportunity to develop good reading habits that encourage them to become lifelong readers. Students are exposed to a wide variety of genres. Most classes are structured with set-aside time for independent reading, class discussions and book talks

Library Courses: Independent Reading 7-8.

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Fine and Performing Arts: The middle school places a high value on the arts. All middle school students take music and visual arts courses throughout the year. Our arts programs are skill-development based. The visual arts curriculum focuses on teaching students the concepts of perspective, form, shape, texture, and value. Through middle school music courses, students learn the fundamentals of reading and writing music, including note values, measures, and scales. The students also perform music together with sixth graders in a choir, seventh graders playing guitar and piano, and eighth graders playing handchimes.

Fine and Performing Arts Courses: Art 6-8; Music 6-8; Chorus 6-8; Middle School Jazz Band 6-8.

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Physical Education and Athletics: We believe that students benefit from structured daily exercise as part of their development as healthy, well-rounded young men. In the middle school, students are required to participate in athletics each day. Through physical education classes, students are encouraged to set personalized goals for improvement, whether that involves basic and complex motor skills, teamwork, sportsmanship, or leadership development.

In addition to this physical education program, Boys' Latin offers a wide range of interscholastic and intramural sports to our middle school students: cross country, football or soccer in the fall; basketball, ice hockey, or junior league wrestling in the winter; and baseball, lacrosse, or tennis in the spring. Each student participates in the sport of his choosing for one hour each day; if a student opts out of playing on an interscholastic team, he participates in physical education.

Co-Curricular Activities


In middle school, students enter an exciting new world of clubs through specially-designed co-curricular activities. While students in the lower school focus on acquiring the basics, middle schoolers get to start exercising and showcasing their skills and growing expertise.

Math club students work on solving increasingly difficult puzzles to prepare for interscholastic math competitions, like Mathalon and MathCounts. In chess club, students compete in a tournament-style format. With the NXT programming under their belts, and now experienced with designing, constructing and operating robots, middle school students gear up for the FIRST LEGO League competition.

Middle school musicians form a jazz ensemble while others join the chorus to perform both on and off-campus. Our talented writers produce compelling content - from original thought-provoking commentary to editorial cartoons and video shorts - for The Southside Chronicle. For our literature lovers, there's Drop Everything and Read.

But at the core of all our co-curricular activities is character building and leadership training. We do this more explicitly through several programs. Middle schoolers in the spirit and service club serve as volunteers, from managing Laker recycling to helping out with neighborhood clean-up efforts. The cultural awareness club celebrates and recognizes the diversity within our community while building global awareness.

Our signature middle school co-curricular activities have always been Laker Buddies and the middle school speech program. Every student in our division is matched with kindergarten and pre-first children in our lower school to serve as a Laker Buddy for the year. Before graduating to the high school, every eighth-grade student stands before his classmates, teachers, staff, and headmaster to deliver a speech. To prepare, they work with their English teacher and a BL coach to identify a topic, write and perform their speeches.

The middle school co-curricular activities and programs are:

Chess Club

Chorus

Cultural Awareness Club

Drop Everything and Read

Eighth Grade Speech

Jazz Ensemble

Jr. ROTC and Leadership

Laker Buddies

Math Club

Middle School Band

Middle School Speech Program

Publications

Robotics

Scale Modeling

Southside Chronicle Student Newspaper

Spirit and Service Club

Student Council


Middle School Faculty


Educational Support Services


We are committed to providing a challenging academic program for our students that includes the appropriate supports for each boy to be successful. Our middle school educational support services are a clear example of this commitment.

Our ESS consultants and learning specialists - all experts in current pedagogy and boy-learning strategies - work side-by-side with classroom teachers in developing and implementing curriculum and strategies that allow for multiple learning levels and learning styles. They also conduct classroom observations to provide another perspective on students' needs as well as their progress, all focused on teaching to each student's strengths.

For more information, contact Kay Schuyler, the middle school learning specialist: kschuyler@boyslatinmd.com; 410-377-5192 ext. 1179.

The Boys' Latin School of Maryland is the state's oldest independent, non-sectarian all-boys school. For students in kindergarten through 12th grade, we provide a rigorous, college-preparatory curriculum that focuses on building 21st century skills and empowers each boy to achieve his true excellence.