The Scott Alexander Middle School offers a unique educational experience characterized by the balance and breath of its curriculum and extracurricular learning environment. The curriculum balances exposure with in-depth pursuit of a student's interests and challenges students within a nurturing environment to develop independence of thought, habit, and mind.
The Boulder Country Day Middle School is an authorized International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program. The IB Middle Years Program (MYP) emphasizes intellectual challenge and encourages students to make connections between their studies in traditional subjects and to the real world. It fosters the development of skills for communication, intercultural understanding, and global engagement, qualities that are essential for life in the 21st century.
Delivered by our experienced teachers, our middle school program not only meets the needs of our students but also provides excellent preparation for Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate high school programs. Advisors, the grade-level dean and team of teachers, and the Middle School Director monitor the progress of each student. Watched carefully and guided by skilled teachers, our graduates are well prepared for success in any quality high school.
Knowing that the world needs well rounded learners, the Middle School also invites students to explore competitive athletics, student government, clubs, and after-school programs to round out their development as citizens of our community and the world.
The aim of all IB programs is to develop internationally minded people who, recognizing their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world.
The Middle Years Program (MYP) is an internationally acclaimed educational program that supports BCD’s Mission and underscores the four tenets of BCD’s Philosophy: Rigor. Relationships. Relevance. Responsibility. The MYP exhibits the characteristics of interdisciplinary teaching and learning, favors a focus on concepts rather than merely on content, and provides a rich, inquiry-based model of introducing and exploring concepts within and across the disciplines. The MYP’s focus extends beyond the notion of knowledge as an accumulation of content to include connectedness in learning and the big ideas that bind people and civilizations together. The learners that emerge from our program are well-prepared for today’s world, which is information-filled, fast-paced, and demanding of 21st century skillsets such as communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity.
are History and Math and Mr. Evjen and Mr. Hawkins. I loved history as I learned a lot and I learned how to think with an open mind and voice my own opinions. Mr. Evjen was very fun to have as a teacher as he made everything very interesting and enjoyable. Math was also very fun as I learned a lot of things and Mr. Hawkins is very good teacher and it very fun to be in class with. I will miss all my friends from the basketball team as made many good friendships with some of my teammates and shared a lot of fun memories with them.
many things about myself. I learned that I flourish in small groups and classes and I also work very well alone. I learned that the individualized approach to learning that BCD provides made learning much easier and more fun for me.
different things. One of the most important things that I have learned is the ability to be confident in my abilities and to not be afraid to talk to my teachers. I know that Boulder Country Day has given me the tools that I need to succeed in high school and beyond. I am incredibly grateful to all of the amazing people that I have met at Boulder Country Day for helping me to become the person that I am today.
Students encounter a spiraling model that increases in sophistication and depth each year, with concepts of Earth Science (geology), Life Science (biology), and Physical Science (physics and chemistry) forming the core of our lab-based classes.
The student’s best or native language, which is also the primary language of instruction at the school. In Language and Literature students engage in building a solid foundation in reading, writing, vocabulary study, and analyzing texts in English.
Classes in these disciplines take place in our Exploratory classes, with two distinct areas of focus in the morning and afternoon. In the morning, students select from a variety of classes to explore units in the areas of Art, Music, PE and Design. In the spring, also in the morning, students select an area of study to focus on more deeply for a full trimester. In the afternoon, students have foundational classes that focus on critical skillsets associated with each of these disciplines, with each year building on the foundations erected the previous year.
Students encounter classes along the mathematics continuum based on their developmental and mathematical readiness. Most students begin middle school with Pre-Algebra and complete Algebra 1 in 7th and 8th grade as a two year sequence. Those ready for additional challenge may complete Geometry and (in rare cases) Algebra II during middle school. A committee determines math placement based on class performance, summative assessments, report card grade, teacher recommendations, and ERB scores.
Morning classes have included units in basketball, volleyball, judo, ultimate Frisbee, team sports, floor hockey, and international sports. Afternoon foundations classes include fitness and wellness activities as well as a health curriculum that coordinates with our Science and Counseling departments to focus on human reproduction, sexuality, and good decision making. A special 8th grade class led by the school counselor focuses on navigating the decisions related to the transition from middle to high school.
In morning Exploratory classes students engage in classes such as weaving, textual/typography, songwriting, theater critics, guitar/ukulele, jazz choir, painting miniatures, and others. In the afternoon, students experience a trimester long class that focuses on the foundations and fundamentals of Art, as well as a trimester long course in either Choir or Band.
Morning classes have included Foundations in Digital Media, Internet Safety, Digital Citizenship, Green Screen, Stop Motion and Your TED Talk, and others, and afternoon classes include a trimester long Computer Coding class. In addition to the core IB academic curriculum, the BCD program includes S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) class, which focuses on instilling the 21st century skills of collaboration, critical thinking, creativity and communication. With an interdisciplinary focus, the class leads students to explore their world and their own place in it, now and in the future, to connect learning among all core subjects.
As part of completing our IB curriculum, our middle school students must complete 20 hours of community service each year. Of this service, 10 hours each year must be outside of the BCD school community.
Before they complete Year 3 of the MYP and graduate from BCD, Eighth grade students must complete the Capstone Community Project, a year-long research project aimed at helping students explore an area of interest, contemplate the relationship of the project to the community, and present their findings and experience before their peers, parents, and other guests. During the process, students work with a supervisory adult at the school as well as a community mentor from outside the school.
Every year BCD's 8th grade class takes a week long trip to Washtington, DC and the surrounding area.
There stops this year included the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, the Museum of Natural History, the World War II Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Department of the Interior, the White House, the Library of Congress, had lunch at Pentagon City, visited Mt. Vernon, old town Alexandria, and taken a day trip to Charlottesville and Monticello.
Add to that UVA (where they were featured on the UVA Youth Leadership Initiative website), the Washington National Cathedral, Embassy Row, the Jefferson Memorial, the U.S. Holocaust Museum, the Arlington National Cemetery, the Washington Monument, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and a VIP tour of the Capital by Representative Jared Polis (students got watched the House in session from the gallery and witness Rep. Polis speak to support an amendment to a bill).
You approach unfamiliar situations or uncertainty with courage and forethought, and the independence of spirit to explore what is new. You are brave and articulate in defending your beliefs.
Leading up to our Outdoor Ed trip, our focus for the month in Advisory classes, by intention, was the IB Learner Profile trait which encourages students to be Risk Takers. One of the true benefits of being a BCD middle school student is having the opportunity to take a risk in a safe place, but we also can play a vital role helping students understand the dynamics of risk taking. In two Advisory classes before our trip, our groups talked about the IB definition of Risk Taking, and they talked about strategies to assess a potential risk, including how to anticipate a risk and decide whether it is safe or appropriate. Post Outdoor Ed, as Advisory groups debrief on their trip, they will be sharing and analyzing the various risks they encountered while away. Keep in mind, and we have talked about this in classes, there are risks of all shapes and sizes, and students’ comfort with risks varies greatly. For one student it’s a risk even to sleep away from home for two nights, for another it’s a risk to sleep in a bunk room with seven other classmates, for another it’s a risk to climb to the top of the climbing wall.
As adults we know quite well every day presents a wide range of risks, and with our sophisticated and mature brains and perspectives, we’d like to think we’re pretty good at assessing and choosing appropriate risks. We invest in the stock market or keep our money in the bank, drive at or above the speed limit, race down EX terrain or remain on blue groomers, and, in classic Boulder mode, eat healthily and cycle or run or ultra-run. Tweens and teens, however, are not nearly as adept. With the decision-making center of their brains not ready to perform fully for at least another ten years, they routinely act first and reflect and process later, often after taking an unwise risk. Moreover, they encounter complex social dynamics every day in a variety of circumstances, and they do their best to navigate and learn and test and revise and become more proficient. No one can deny that pre-adolescents face a risky world, and I am sure we can all remember a risk we took that was worth taking and another that ended up badly.
I took the picture below of an 8th grade girl taking an appropriate risk. She’s been to the outdoor center twice before. She’s worked on teambuilding exercises, screamed down the zip line, and hiked in Rocky Mountain National Park. Now, as an 8th grader, she has a new risk before her – the highest, most challenging part of the ropes course. She’s developed a sense of trust in herself and the adults who surround her. She’s brave and adventurous. She knows her peers well and knows they’ll support her if she’s successful or if she fails. She’s ready for the risk, she's forty feet up in the air, and she’s reaching out for that next hand hold. The sky is blue. The sun is warming her back. Like our mascot Kersey, she’s tenacious, strong, and determined. On the ground I think how lucky I am to spend my days with young people like her, to shepherd their growth and maturity, to cheer them when they succeed and support them when they fail, to witness their risks and share them with you.
In 7th grade we have introduced our novel study of The Call of the Wild by Jack London. Students are looking at narrative perspective as we read. By looking at point of view, students gain a greater understanding of plot details that are in (and out) of the story. By examining a certain scene from a different character’s perspective, students see characters in a new light, perhaps gaining empathy or a better understanding a character’s motives. Finally, by analyzing why the story is told from a dog’s point of view, students learn about the Klondike Gold Rush and human behavior from a unique perspective. How different the story would be if told from the perspective of one of the humans!
We are finalizing our unit on Biomedical Engineering with a review of why 3D printing is such an important development in the world of medicine. They are using recent events in medical technologies and our classroom experience with 3D printing to communicate where the impact of 3D printing on the accessibility of prosthetics, surgical operations, and other areas related to health. As they communicate the current state of medicine, they are also catching a glimpse of where medical technologies will be taking us in the future.
Thank you to Bob Radocy, owner of TRS Prosthetics, for coming and speaking to our students.
Middle School students participated today in the annual Model UN exercise. Having done their research and prepared resolutions they came ready to serve as delegates for their assigned countries. As emerging global citizens, students connect current events to the study of delicate international relations and how conflicts are addressed through the United Nations. Gaining an understanding of the domestic and international concerns of a nation, as well as its relationship to its allies and other nations, gives students a greater sense of the complexity of foreign relations and the challenges we all face in the 21st century.
We are applying what we have learned about simple machines and mechanical advantage to designing and building our own candy-catapulting devices. In preparation for building our own catapults, we have also spent a day celebrating fall by starting a tradition of Pumpkin Chuckin’ at BCD. Seeing how a larger catapult works will help us understand the need to transfer as much potential energy from the machine into kinetic energy in the projectile.
We are working on an exploration of different technologies that enable modern navigation. So far, we have reviewed the fundamentals of mapping techniques and will soon move on to explore both the history and current uses of GPS technology in helping us get from A to B. Through our hands-on practices with mapping, topography, and triangulation, we will gain a greater appreciation of everything that has goes on behind the scenes when we tell Siri, “Take me home.”
Boulder Country Day School 4820 Nautilus Court North • Boulder, Colorado 80301 • Phone - 303.527.4931 • firstname.lastname@example.org