The middle school years are a time of great transition for students and their families. The journey from child to young adult involves both great challenges and great opportunities. Recognizing this, the Academy’s Middle Division provides a program that is both academically rigorous and developmentally sensitive. In order to meet the specific educational and social needs of adolescents at varying levels of development, the Academy’s Middle Division includes one subdivision for 5th and 6th Graders and another for 7th and 8th Graders, each with its own dedicated spaces, faculty, and curriculum.
Each student must complete coursework in language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, foreign language and physical education. While the Academy requires students to develop academic discipline and responsibility in these core courses, it also provides students with the opportunity to explore courses in areas of personal interest.
Course of Study for 5th and 6th Grades
The 5th and 6th Grade experience at the Academy is unique, comprising a two-year integrated and thematic curriculum. During year one, “Environments and Communities,” students explore their place in the world, the interconnectedness of that world, and how they can have a positive impact on their world. During year two, “Dreamers and Doers,” students discover the big ideas that have changed the world. Each year, work in the core classes focuses on these themes in an integrated manner. Art, drama, music, field trips and research activities further support this thematic study. In addition to their core classes, 5th and 6th Grade students also participate in a fine arts wheel – including instrumental music, studio art and computer skills – and physical education. Students receive preparation in organization and study skills throughout this curriculum.
Course of Study for 7th and 8th Grades
Language Arts 7
General Math II or Pre-Algebra Advanced
Spanish B or Spanish C
Language Arts 8
Pre-Algebra Advanced or Honors Algebra I*
Spanish C or Honors Spanish I*
7th and 8th grade students have the opportunity to choose electives from a wide range of topics. Recent course offerings have included studio art, band, computer applications, Chinese, chorus, dance, drama, environmental science, forensics, Model UN, strings, and video production.
*Denotes an Upper Division course for which students earn high school credit.
The Academy’s co-curricular programs provide students with activities outside the classroom that complement and extend both the Academy’s curriculum and mission. These activities allow students to learn and grow by becoming leaders, by taking responsibility for themselves, by performing community service, and by sharing real life experiences with their peers while being guided by caring and competent members of the faculty.
Middle Division Retreat
At the beginning of each year, 5th-8th Grade students attend an overnight retreat (5th and 6th Graders at our on-campus Gymnasium, 7th and 8th Graders at a local retreat center). Students spend two days and one night in a variety of activities designed to “break the ice” and to build bonds between students, both within and across grades, and with members of the faculty.
Each year, Middle Division students travel together on multi-day, overnight trips. These trips relate to students’ course of study, expose them to the life skills involved in travel, and give them the opportunity to bond with their peers in an out-of-school setting. 7th and 8th Graders are away for three to four days in the fall. 7th Graders travel by charter bus to Sea Camp in the Florida Keys participating in marine biology study and 8th Graders fly to Wilderness Adventure at Eagle Landing in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia for an adventure program in a safe, supportive environment. In the spring, 5th and 6th Grade students alternate travel by charter bus to either St. Augustine or Tallahassee for three days and two nights of exploring our state’s early history or government.
Middle Division students go out into the larger community to perform service on a regular basis during each school year. These Service Days have been exciting opportunities for our students to learn about a wider range of life and to contribute in very tangible ways to improving the lives of members of our community. During the year, they will help elderly homeowners, the homeless and the hungry, as well as learn about and participate in efforts to take care of our environment. The organizations that students work with vary from year to year but have recently included: America’s Second Harvest, Metropolitan Ministries, S.H.A.R.E., Eldernet, and Crystal Springs Preserve. The Academy is very proud of its students and the ethic of service they develop through the middle years with us. Academy at the Lakes is one of few schools that regularly schedules community service during school hours. We feel that it is important to the growth and development of well-rounded, well-informed, and participating citizens.
National Junior Honor Society
Academy inducts students as members of the National Junior Honor Society during the third quarter of the year. In order to be eligible, students must maintain a 3.4 grade point average in their core subjects during the first semester. Eligible students are then recommended for membership by the Middle Division faculty upon meeting NJHS’ character requirements in five areas: Scholarship, Service, Leadership, Character, and Citizenship. During the course of the school year, Academy’s NJHS chapter, run by the members, devotes itself to a variety of community service activities.
Middle Division Student Council
Both the 5th/6th Grades and the 7th/8th Grades have their own Student Councils. These Student Councils, run by the students and guided by faculty advisors, plan a variety of events and community service activities to enhance the students’ school experience.