The Middle School Curriculum at Sterling Montessori is based on the teachings of Maria Montessori, the mission statement of Sterling Montessori, and the seventh and eighth grade curriculum for the state of North Carolina. The overarching mandate for the curriculum is to develop the whole student while imparting the academic tools necessary for success in high school, college, and the working environment. Students are evaluated in a number of ways, including but not limited to, traditional grades, portfolios, and ratio scores. Promotion requirements are: complete all Block work according to the requirements of each class, score 3 or 4 on EOCs, and demonstrate grade level competency in writing.
The Middle School at Sterling is designed for 100% involvement by students. The academic aspects are college-prep quality, but the community-building component is equally important. Field trips (including two overnight camping trips), group work, guest speakers, and other special events, are designed to enhance the curriculum (part of which is to educate “emotional intelligence,” or the ability to get along with others, and work in a group). There are four core subjects in the Middle School, plus computer skills, art, physical education, and a foreign language.
The History and Language Arts Curriculum operates on a two-year cycle. History Cycle One includes seven blocks (six weeks each) devoted to one culture (Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, etc.) in ancient history per block. Cycle Two begins in 1603 and ends with modern times. This cycle is more focused on American and North Carolina history. The history curriculum focuses on critical thinking, note-taking, organization, study skills, and research.
The English Curriculum is reading and writing intensive with a strong focus on developing critical thinking skills. Students read one challenging novel, play, or several poems per block. By looking at the many elements that go into a piece of literature, students gain the skills necessary to explore the work to find the larger meaning and think critically about what they have read. Students will also increase their writing skills, focusing largely on organization of an academic essay.
The Science Curriculum, like the History and Language Arts Curriculum, operates on a two-year cycle. Cycle One includes an overview of different branches of science, including Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Earth Science. Cycle Two focuses more intensively on Biology and Earth Science. During both years, there is an examination of the practice of science, both through hands-on inquiry based work, and also through studies of the history and ethics of scientific inquiry. Students are also encouraged to develop their skills by evaluating their own work through the development of portfolios in which they collect evidence of their work in Science. The goal is to produce students who are not only aware of the facts of science, but who also understand the process and context that produces those facts, and who can examine the impact of science on their lives in an informed and intelligent way.
The Math Curriculum is divided into two basic levels: Middle School Math and Advanced Math. Within each class, students will review and enhance math requirements for the seventh and eighth grade EOCs and learn pre-algebra and algebra skills. Some students in Advanced Math may be eligible to take the Algebra EOC as given by the State of North Carolina. All students will be prepared to be successful in a high school mathematics class.