Academics

Middle School StudentsBear Paw Newspaper

Academic and personal development soars when students are engaged in a challenging curriculum in the context of a comfortable, fun, and safe community.  Middle School teachers are subject area specialists who empower students through the close relationships they build around particular subject material and the CCJDS enrichment and social-emotional curriculum.  Project-Based learning aligned with the skill expectations students will need for success in a variety of academic settings is a hallmark of the CCJDS middle school program.

 

Science features hands-on lab work rooted in scientific inquiry.  Our state-of-the-art lab utilizes cutting-edge technologies that prepare students for rigorous secondary school programs.  The 6th grade trip delves into field science and natural history in Yosemite or Point Reyes.  Each January esteemed scientists from the University of California, Berkeley judge students' independent research projects at our Annual Science Night. Wise.berkeley.edu, Prentice Hall Focus on Earth Science, Physical Science, and Life Science.


Math students move at a pace that challenges appropriately so that they are highly engaged and motivated and develop both confidence and enjoyment in math.  Students learn conceptual foundations and procedural fluency, both key for math understanding and achievement.   Many choose to participate in extra-curricular math activities including the Math Kangaroo International CompetitionThe majority of graduates place into Geometry or Geometry Honors while some find Algebra or Algebra Two Honors or Advanced Math as a better 9th grade fit.  Prentice Hall Math Series, Singapore Math Problem Sets.

 

English classes focus on the development of expository writing skills through literary analysis, as well as close reading of non-fiction works, research, and argumentation.  Students enjoy sharing their work - and earning well-deserved recognition - by participating in our annual CCJDS poetry contest and the Lafayette Youth Arts Society's Writing and Photography Contest.  Each year they also produce their own literary magazine. On the 7th grade trip to Ashland, Oregon students experience and participate in live theater at the Shakespeare Festival. Novels, short stories, drama, essays and poetry.

 

History encourages students to see the forces of change across time: political, cultural, and social.  Simulations and connections to today's turbulent and interdependent globe seek to empower students to see themselves as change agents building our future.  History Alive Simulations, Textbooks- Civilizations, American History, The Medieval World.

In Judaics students develop their own voice and critical thinking skills through the study of sacred texts, Jewish history and traditions, and study of Israel - culminating in a milestone trip to Israel in the 8th grade. In 5-8th grade, students study the Holocaust - learning the history, remembering the victims and examining how the events of the Holocaust relate to them personally, in their lives and communities today. Throughout the Judaics program, project-based learning, group work and written and oral presentation of understanding cultivate important academic skills. The Tanakh: JPS translation


Hebrew
teaching responds to the wide ability range found in the middle school.  Heritage learners read, write, and speak Hebrew with the goal of complete fluency and strong native English speakers work on full conversational fluency, while transfer students and other developing Hebrew learners have the goal of basic conversational fluency and enjoyment of the language meant to create a positive foundation. 

Spanish is a popular elective. Taught by native speakers, these classes provide a solid foundation in conversational Spanish and produce graduates who are ready to enter Spanish II or III in high school.

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