As students move into the Middle School
, character development curriculum is integrated into student advisory periods. In addition to covering life skills, each grade has an emphasis that incorporates the characteristics of the International Baccalaureate (IB
) learner and BCD's school motto: Respect Yourself, Respect Others, and Take Responsibility for Your Actions.
The sixth grade curriculum is focused on "self." The students are guided through exercises and discussions that require them to contemplate where they come from, what they believe in, what their goals are, and what to look for in friends and environments that will support them in building a strong sense of self-respect and self-esteem. They also participate in a project that explores the different roles they play in their lives, illustrating how social norms and expectations vary between them. The theme of the sixth grade year is to increase our students' self-awareness and get them thinking about their goals for the future.
As students move into seventh grade, the focus of advisory shifts more in the direction of how we function in relationships with others. Some of these activities and discussions look at understanding perceptual differences and how they affect our responses. Others covered topics include: what factors influence our perceptions, empathy, non-verbal communication and cues, how to respond to frustration, and formulating problem solving strategies. The goal of our seventh grade curriculum is to provide each student a solid foundation of their self-identity and enable him/her to effectively and respectfully work with others.
Our eighth grade curriculum builds on the two previous years of self-exploration and working with others and brings these concepts to a deeper and more global level. Some examples of the topics covered are: stereotypes, cultural differences and how these impact perception, and differences in cultural norms and how they can be misinterpreted. Students also explore their own global position through activities and discussions covering various topics, and examine the impact that they as individuals have (and hope to have) on the world. Additionally, students participate in discussions and activities that stimulate critical thinking. We incorporate fun activities that guide students through the process of investigating media and research so that students learn how to discover their own truths as independent thinkers.
In the spring, the eighth grade students turn their focus to the transition to high school as we help to prepare them for both the logistical and social changes that they will encounter in the next stage of their educational career.