The Upper Elementary division fosters the increasing independence of our students while providing continuing support, engagement, and challenge within a nurturing environment. The core academic subjects of language arts, mathematics, social studies, and anti-bias are complemented by specialist classes in visual art, music/performing arts, science, and athletics. We offer a wide range of academic and artistic enrichment activities, including service learning, leadership opportunities, and outdoor education. Our students become critical thinkers, effective communicators, respectful collaborators, and resilient problem solvers in their learning and lives.
Modeled after middle school programs, the 6th Grade is departmentalized and includes homebase advisory, electives, community building, study hall, and its own traditions. Students have individual lockers, travel to their classes in different groupings, and navigate their days with multiple teachers. Curtis School graduates depart as self-assured, confident learners prepared to engage with their new secondary school communities fully.
In reading, Upper Elementary students engage in whole-class novel studies, small groups such as book clubs or literature circles, and other formats. Immersed in activities and discussions that promote higher-order linguistic and reading comprehension, students develop both narrative and expository writing skills in a wide variety of genres and for different purposes. In addition, they learn morphology and vocabulary through classical roots and are instructed in grammar and conventions through an intentional sequence. In the UE classroom, there are many opportunities for students to share their knowledge and hone their oral expression skills through public speaking and presentations.
Students in Grades 3-6 deepen their mathematical knowledge and skills in number sense and problem-solving for the purpose of applying their thinking to novel situations. In every math lesson, students are posed with an engaging multi-sensory anchor task that prompts them to think critically, collaborate with others, and wrestle with ideas before organizing them into mathematical structures. Students explore concretely and visually before extending their learning to abstract numbers and symbols. Our program emphasizes fluency, which is achieved through flexibility and efficiency. Students learn to represent concepts in a variety of ways and communicate their thinking while learning how to understand others’ reasoning.
Our integrated social studies and anti-bias curriculum encourages students to approach history through multiple perspectives and to learn from stories about individuals and groups that are not always well-represented in history books. Students have opportunities to explore and share their own identities while appreciating the diversity of thought and experiences of others. When students learn about instances of unfairness that have happened to people and groups in history, they also learn about actions and resistance movements that counter injustices. Through collaboration and in an integrated manner, upper elementary homeroom and specialist teachers offer opportunities for students to conduct inquiry research and present their findings in a variety of formats.