Transitioning to Middle School
A Focus on Academics and Team Building
Students of this age have unique academic, social and emotional needs. Our curriculum reflects the school’s goals to develop critical-thinking skills, nurture personal responsibility and academic integrity, as well as the Goal of Schools of the Holy Child Jesus:
An intellectually challenging and creative program of study that fosters academic excellence.
We Can Make a Difference
Expanding upon the intermediate-level academic program, sixth graders participate in a multi-disciplinary, integrated, and thematic unit of study, based upon the tenets of project-based learning. Creative block scheduling allows students to meet in flexible groups on two mornings in the six-day cycle to explore and develop the theme of “Making a Difference.” Within the context of the study of the Renaissance, sixth graders study historical figures, such as Galileo and DaVinci, who have made a difference in the world. Engaging in hands-on activities and thoughtful critical-thinking discussions enhances the learning process. Each student then embarks on a major research project, by identifying a contemporary individual who has made a difference in the world. Children receive copious mentorship from their teachers on the fundamentals of reviewing literature, accessing information, note-taking using NoodleTools software, organizing information, writing and editing, and providing a bibliography of resources — all activities that culminate in a three-page research paper. The final component of the year’s theme requires students to identify a way that they, as individuals, can make a difference in the world.
The importance of working cooperatively with each other is developed through an overnight team-building experience at Fairview Lakes in western New Jersey. To help students cope with the variety of issues related to adolescence, all fifth and sixth graders meet frequently in small group advisories with teacher mentors. Sixth graders are encouraged to act as leaders of the school.
Secondary School Placement
Our Lower School assistant division head works with parents and students of boys in fifth and sixth grade as they begin their application process to secondary schools. This includes meeting with parents in the spring and fall before they begin the application process, walking each family through the process with their son’s best interest in mind, working with the boys to help them prepare for interviews and school visits, and being available to answer questions each step along the way.
Where Our Boys Attend Middle School
After attending Oak Knoll, our elementary school male graduates go on to attend some of the best secondary schools in the area including:
- Delbarton School
- Oratory Prep School
- Newark Academy
- Pingry School
- Morristown-Beard School
- Summit Public Schools
After that, alumni who built the foundation of their education at Oak Knoll go on to some of the most prestigious colleges and universities in the nation, as seen in the recent picture of our alumni boys above.