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Gross Schechter Day School’s Middle School program stresses critical thinking and creativity, curiosity and perseverance and global awareness and personal responsibility. Students are given greater independence than in earlier grades and encouraged to set and reach individual goals. Teachers work closely with our students to ensure that each student reaches personal success. Technology is woven into every subject from Bible to Science, with students using MacBook Pros and Smart Boards on a daily basis. Our high standards and rigorous dual curriculum – general and Judaic studies – cultivate problem solving strategies and out-of-the-box thinking.
Some of the many middle school experience highlights are:
- A daily advisory period in which students meet with their grade level advisor. The advisor-student relationship is invaluable, as the advisor serves as the student’s mentor and is an integral part of the student’s academic and social development.
- Student government, with representatives meeting weekly, focuses on social and mitzvah activities for the middle school.
- Middle school kicks off with a 6th grade retreat to build relationships for life.
- A buddy program with the preschool allows our students to become role models and friends, thus building bonds that extend beyond the school walls.
- Our 7th grade students soar each year at the Northeast Ohio Science and Engineering Fair making Gross Schechter proud.
- Our Tikkun Olam Program in the middle school teaches students to be ambassadors in the community as they work at Menorah Park, local food banks, and participate in programs for less fortunate children.
- As a culmination of their years at Gross Schechter, our 8th grade students spend three weeks in Israel giving them an experience for life.
- After-school programming such as basketball, ultimate frisbee and yearbook help our students become well-rounded for life.
Middle School Curriculum
The curriculum for Gross Schechter Day School is challenging yet accessible to each of our students. Our teachers are trained in their specialty areas and differentiate their learning to tap into each student’s strengths and support them where needed. The language arts classes read texts that both expose them to the canons and introduce contemporary literature. The students participate in formal and creative writing projects to enhance their skills and thought processes. The social studies curriculum is very hands-on. On any given day, the room can be transformed into a courtroom, the Constitutional Convention, or the ocean and ports of the Triangle Trade. Students are charged with keeping up with current events for conversations and assignments. The 7th graders take an annual trip to Washington, D.C. to bring their learning to life. Math classes are also formatted toward students’ strengths; we offer an accelerated class, an honors class and a grade level class. The curriculum promotes logical thought and real life skills. The science curriculum includes teaching both abstract concepts and daily relevance of science. This is readily apparent in the topics our 7th grade students choose for their Northeast Ohio Science and Engineering Fair projects, such as writing a computer program which randomly generates numbers for security encryption, testing caffeine’s impact on heart rate, and performing investigative consumer research to find which tooth whitening products work best. They do their research in our state-of-the-art lab. Every day, students engage in learning geared towards them, while remaining challenging and pushing them to strive for success. The Judaic studies curriculum inspires each of our students to become proud of their identity, knowledgeable of our laws and customs, and proficient in both spoken and written Hebrew. Students become learned in Biblical text and commentary, and each student can confidently lead tefillah (prayers) and read trope from the Torah. Staff and students find ways to bring Jewish values alive through their daily tefillah (prayers) and mitzvah programs. Each day the students have Hebrew class taught by native Israelis. They learn dikduk (grammar), strengthen their vocabulary, and read and write short stories. We provide differentiated Hebrew learning based on each student’s level. In Bible, the students are taught to read the stories of our people with a critical eye. They discuss commentaries and draw connections between texts and their life which help add meaning and applicability to their lives. Judaic and general studies teachers work closely to integrate their lessons when possible. By learning related themes in Jewish texts and modern literature, the concepts come to life. Additionally, students complete an intensive study of the Shoah (the Holocaust), learn extensively about Jewish holidays, and study about Israel at length, cultivating strong ties with Medinat Yisrael (State of Israel) and Am Yisrael (the Jewish people).