Last Thursday, the Prep School English department held its annual Summer Reading Symposium for 11th and 12th grade students.
As new members of the Middle School, fifth graders can rely on the support provided by the CORE program. This program is a central place for students new to the Middle School building to share academic and social-emotional opportunities. The 5th grade academic program fosters burgeoning independence, critical thinking skills both abstract and conceptual, and analysis of connections to the curriculum through individual experiences. In social studies, students explore why communities seek to establish new civilizations, how to create a balance of power through government structures and how the foundations of our forefathers influence the policies of today. In language arts, inferential, analytical and comprehension skills are cultivated through expository writing, vocabulary development and written expression. All of these interconnected disciplines allow students to develop relationships with their peers while balancing shared experiences with the collective 5th grade community.
In sixth grade, students take on new levels of responsibility and independence. They explore more sophisticated concepts and participate in intellectually challenging conversations. Teachers harness students’ unique energy and enthusiasm with a curriculum that spans a wide range of subjects, and collaborate with their peers and engage in projects that inspire creativity, curiosity and playfulness. In addition to the core academic and creative subjects, sixth graders are introduced to our world languages program by rotating through five different language courses, and they learn to write an in-depth research paper in our Current Issues Research Seminar (CIRS) program.
Seventh graders are the leaders of the Middle School, modeling empathy, maturity and responsibility to the younger students. They complete capstone projects in their classes that demonstrate their mastery of increasingly challenging material as well as their readiness for the Prep School. They problem-solve, analyze and advocate for themselves across the curriculum. Having sampled five different languages in sixth grade, seventh graders choose one language to focus on for the year.
Enrichment Modules are offered to Middle School students for two periods during the 6 day cycle. Modules are offered for students who do not participate in Band, Chorus or Orchestra. Different Module topics are offered for each grade and offerings change each year. Meca Mini helps students explore their identity through conversations surrounding race, ethnicity, and gender. Another choice is Letter Writing, where students learn the basics in how to format a personal or business letter, addressing an envelope and what to say in a thank-you note. In the Creative Writing Module, students write with total freedom apart from grades and requirements. Generative prompts inspire their imaginations as they experiment with fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Students learn the basics about dig sites and techniques that archeologists use to study the past in the Archeology Module. Technology-based Modules include 3D Modeling and Printing, and Building Computers. There are also Modules on Mindfulness, Critical Listening and Catching Your Breath, a quiet period where students can receive help with any subject and assignment and are encouraged to bring writing work.
The School Psychologist and/or Social Worker serves as a resource to students, families and faculty members. This professional works to optimize the learning and emotional well-being of all students, through a range of both direct and indirect services. The psychologist or social worker reports directly to the Director of the Middle School and works collaboratively with other administrators, learning specialists and classroom teachers.
Middle School POWER (Practice, Organize, Work, Enrich, Review) Hour is a program that offers after-school support and/or enrichment for 5th and 6th grade students at no additional charge. The program runs from 3pm - 4pm on Monday and Wednesday afternoons. Students have the option to work with their classroom teacher(s). Students in the 5th and 6th grades may sign up until noon the day of Power Hour. Parents and students may also sign up in advance.
Middle School students regularly participate in meaningful service-learning activities. The goal is to develop social awareness through direct and indirect service learning. Middle School students deliver meals to the elderly with CityMeals and visit Goddard Riverside to speak to Goddard’s Director about what services the Center provides and who it serves, and then spend time at the Center’s elderly home and day care center. Students run bake sales and donate the money raised to carefully selected organizations. The Middle School also invites guest speakers from charitable organizations, including: the Fresh Air Fund, Ready, Willing and Able (The Doe Fund), Make A Wish, The Foundling Hospital, International Rescue Committee, Pencils of Promise, CITTA, Safe Horizons, Special Olympics, ABC (Association to Benefit Children) and the New York Center for Law and Justice.
Every year, Middle School students across the nation compete at the local, state and national levels in the National Geography Bee. For the last four years, CGPS has participated in the Bee. All CGPS Middle School students take a short geography quiz in their classes and approximately 20 of the highest scorers are asked to compete in the final round the next day. The winner of the final round is crowned our School champion and then takes an online test, sponsored by the National Geographic, to qualify for the State Championship Competition in Albany. Each state winner gets to compete at the National Championship Competition in Washington, DC.
During the 2019-2020 school year CGPS will be offering the following club sports for 5th & 6th graders:
Fall: Soccer, Cross Country
Spring: Soccer, Volleyball, Baseball, Track & Field
Our club sports are primarily instructional with our main focus on improving individual skills and teamwork. There are scheduled practice times after school (3:00 - 4:30pm) with intra-squad scrimmages, however, we do not compete against other schools.
The Middle School offers an extended day program, affectionately known as “The Lion’s Den”. It is separate from POWER Hour, and provides a safe structured environment where students may do their homework, read, study, relax or socialize with their peers. The Lion’s Den runs from 3:00-6:00 pm Monday through Friday. The program is housed in multiple locations, depending on what activity is taking place. These locations include the first floor cafeteria, computer room, Grammar School gymnasium and the Middle School rooftop play yard. The Lion’s Den is organized and broken down into various segments, which include:
- Mindfulness Mindfulness is a practice used to detach oneself from anxiety and stress. As an important component of The Lion’s Den, this ten to fifteen minute transitional period is strongly recommended but not mandatory.
- Homework Helper Homework Helper encourages students to do as much of their homework as possible during a 60 minute period. Homework assistance is available for students who may have clarifying questions. For those students who do not have any homework on a particular afternoon, worksheets or packets that reinforce current material will be made available for students who would like to practice their skills. Current books being used in each class will be made available.
- Table Tennis/Board Games Table Tennis involves pairs of students who are taught how to run forehand and backhand drills. Occasionally, round-robin matches are conducted, and students have the opportunity to engage in friendly, healthy competition, while having lots of fun at the same time. This experience fosters the strengthening of their gross and fine motor skills. Tables in the cafeteria will be utilized for TT, but twice a month students play on regulation-sized boards in the Underground Theater. Students not interested in table tennis will have access to various board games and bean bag toss.
- Physical Activity During Physical Activity time, a form of vigorous supervised activity will be facilitated. This activity may include basketball, football, wall-ball and dodge ball to name a few.
- Structured Downtime In the last half hour of the day, students may read or have quiet conversations. They may play appropriate computer games, board games or cards. Students may decide what they want to do as the day comes to a close and they wait to get picked up by their parents/guardians. This time may be best described as “supervised free time.”
The purpose of the Student Government is to provide citizenship experience for CGPS Middle school students, thereby encouraging student participation, a sense of pride of place and school spirit; and to sponsor activities which further these goals. Responsibilities of the Student Government include sponsoring social and extracurricular activities, representing the student body when necessary, and raising money for varied organizations.
Lion Link is a Middle School leadership program in which students apply and must be accepted in order to participate in this highly selective program, which pairs a new incoming Middle School student with a current CGPS Middle Schooler. The expectation is that the Lion Link members will act as a mentor to their new student buddy. Lion Link members may be asked to help at various Admissions events throughout the school year.
Lion Link teacher advisors are responsible for differentiating new students and connecting them with teachers and peers. The program recognizes the importance of social connection and, as such, it guarantees that new students belong to a peer group. The program educates new students on strategies for how to succeed academically and socially. It also promotes and facilitates communication and coordination between home and School.
Advisors are responsible for checking in with their advisees in-person or by email twice per week at the beginning of the school year and once per week after the students have acclimated. They inform new students of such beloved School traditions including: Columbia Cares Day, Halloween Party, Columbia On Ice, Pajama Day, Holiday Assembly & Food Drive, Middle School Book Swap, Spirit Days, Field Day and Moving Up Day. Advisors meet with their advisory group on a monthly basis to foster a connection between the Advisor and the advisees as well as between the students themselves. This relationship building may be breakfast together or participation in a group activity. Advisors also introduce new students to the myriad of opportunities in the Middle School which include: the fifth grade play, the sixth and seventh grade musical, Select Chorus, Jazz Band, student government and athletics.
CGPS's Learning Resource Center (LRC) understands that each learner is unique. The LRC offers individualized instruction to students so that each can understand their particular strengths and weaknesses, develop and be able to utilize the strategies they need to be successful learners, and ultimately master the self-advocacy skills needed to arrange for their own support systems and any appropriate accommodations.