Sixth - Eighth Grade

Upper School (Grades 6-8)

Our Upper School offers a safe and supportive environment that embraces and celebrates the intellectual and emotional needs of students as they move toward the adolescent years. The challenging curriculum focuses on quality over quantity and is guided by caring, accomplished teachers who motivate their students in the classroom and ardently support them in smaller settings such as advisory group, and individual study help.

The desire for independence and self-expression for students in grades 6-8 is nurtured by creating a safe environment where they can pursue leadership roles, ask questions, and experience setbacks. Increased emphasis is placed on students taking responsibility for their learning and preparation.

Extra-curricular activities such as team athletics, student government, and outdoor education provide developmentally appropriate opportunities for Upper School students to explore new experiences outside of academics. Students attend block classes, which provide a substantial amount of time for in-depth exploration and discussion of concepts and skills. This type of schedule also allows teachers valuable time to attend to student needs and provide support for student growth. A twice-weekly Arts block allows for in-depth study of the visual and performing arts. By 8th grade, students have the opportunity to write, cast, and direct the class play.

Spanish is the foreign language choice for Upper School students.  Its position within the core schedule signifies the importance we place on students having the time to develop an authentic level of proficiency of speaking, reading and writing in the target language.

Daily student speeches continue in chapel, allowing Upper School students to develop and demonstrate valuable public speaking skills and bring a more mature perspective to topics such as trustworthiness, honesty, kindness, and humility.

Sixth Grade

The 6th grade is a time of transition from grades 4-5. Much growth takes place in this year as teachers raise expectations for greater skills of organization and time management and continue to nurture intellectual and emotional development within a challenging curriculum.

• The language arts consist of the study of literature, writing, and grammar. Emphasis is placed on building skills of written expression, longer composition pieces, and intensive application of grammar and punctuation. Students explore the power of story through a selection of novels such as The Little Prince, Monkey: A Folk Novel of China, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

• Sixth grade history is integrated with literature by asking who controls the narrative of a people and its culture. Students explore civilization from the fall of the Roman Empire to the European feudal system to the roots of Islam to cultures of Africa and Asia.

• Mathematics instruction focuses on pre-algebra and the continued development of problem solving skills.

• Students enjoy science instruction in a well-appointed lab classroom. Topics range from weather and climate to the fundamentals of earth science.

Field trips and an annual outdoor education trip to the Pali Institute provide sixth grade students with opportunities to extend learning beyond the classroom.

Seventh Grade

Students in 7th grade are immersed in an academic and social emotional curriculum that is focused on their increasing independence as adolescent learners.

• The language arts curriculum is a two-year span that emphasizes the development of writing and thinking skills. Students develop fundamental writing strategies through persuasive, expository or compare and contrast essays. Students cultivate their critical thinking and active reading skills through a wide-range of works, such as The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Romeo and Juliet. As a result of the interactive classroom discussions and reinforcement of standard English practices, students are prepared to meet the demands of eighth grade language arts.

• The history curriculum focuses first on the Mayas, Aztecs, and Incas then moves to the Middle Ages and Enlightenment, and finishes the year with early America and the events leading up to the American Revolution. Themes such as land use, economic power, and the plight of indigenous peoples are examined in each area of study.

• Mathematics offers two options for students: traditional and accelerated. The traditional mathematics offering is Algebra 1 which is completed over the 7th and 8th grade years. The accelerated course has students completing Algebra 1 in 7th grade and Geometry in 8th grade.

• 7th grade science is laboratory-based and focuses on life science. Emphasis is on experimental design and the active development of research skills within a laboratory setting. Students will come away with a thorough understanding of how to apply the principles of science to understand the world around them.

Literature and science-related field trips, including an outdoor education trip to Catalina Island Marine Institute, enhance and deepen the classroom learning experience.

Eighth Grade

Students in 8th grade have reached their final year at Foothill and proudly represent a nine-year journey (K-8) that stresses academic excellence with a greater concern for whom the child is becoming.
• The language arts curriculum continues to stress proper grammar and punctuation while anticipating the rigor and expectations of high school English and literature. Students continue to cultivate their critical thinking and active reading skills through a wide-range of works, such as The Importance of Being Earnest and 1984.  A primary focus on writing in various formats continues along with discussions and reinforcement of standard English practices.

• In history, the students examine the arc of development of the United States as it grows from a mix of young and aspiring states into a complex economic and world power.  Students explore the historical notions of American identity and current thoughts on what it means to be an American.  Students examine the economic, political, social, geographical, and cultural threads of each time period from the framing of the Constitution to the Cold War era.

• In mathematics, 8th grade students either fulfill the requirements of the traditional course by completing Algebra 1 or those of the accelerated course by completing Geometry.  

• 8th grade science is laboratory-based and focuses on physical science.  Emphasis is placed on experimental design and the active development of research skills within a laboratory setting.  Students will come away with a thorough understanding of how to apply the principles of science to understand the world around them.
Students open the year with camping at El Capitan State Beach and enjoy a culminating trip in the spring that celebrates their journey at Foothill.

1035 W. Harrison Avenue
Claremont, California 91711
Phone: 909-626-5681
Fax: 909-625-4251

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