Middle School Course Offerings

Sixth Grade

Core subjects include ELA, Reading, Math, Science, Social Students, and Theology.  NYS Core Curriculum is the starting point for all courses, and then our academic challenge of our students exceeds these guidelines.  Music, Art, Physical Education, and Technology also are part of the sixth grade curriculum.

Seventh & Eighth Grade


The curriculum for life science is designed to provide a foundation for high school biology. Basic biological principles aimed at understanding the life processes common to all living things are covered. Students will begin by learning about life on the cellular level and proceed through the structure and function of organisms including human systems. Fields of study include cell biology, cell chemistry, genetics, evolution, taxonomy, botany, and human anatomy. This course includes laboratory investigations of life science concepts which utilize abstract and critical thinking, inquiry skills, and scientific reasoning.

College Preparatory Science or CPS is a physical science course offered to eighth graders. The goal of this course is to give the students a solid foundation for the physical science courses that they will be encountering in the high school, especially chemistry and physics. Topics include: graphing, scientific notation, Newtonian physics, energy, the atom, the periodic table, chemical bonding, chemical reactions and atomic energy. Classroom work is enhanced by a strong hands-on laboratory component. Students are encouraged to use the scientific method in a cooperative-learning, team environment. Computer technology is incorporated into the course when appropriate.

Environmental Earth Science is a modern take on the Earth Science curriculum, in which classic Earth Science topics such as Geology (the solid Earth) and Meteorology (the atmosphere) are blended with the basics of Environmental Science in an effort to understand the interaction of Earth’s four spheres (the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, the geosphere, and the biosphere). Students of Environmental Earth Science will learn fundamental scientific principles, see the logic of the scientific method, develop the framework necessary to succeed in future science classes, become aware of important physical earth processes at work on our planet, begin to understand the complex interactions between humans and their impact on the world around them, and ultimately gain a deeper realization of themselves as part of the ‘big picture.’ (1 credit)

Intended for: 9 or Accelerated 8
Prerequisite: 7th Grade Life Science and CPS (accelerated 8th exempt from taking CPS)


This course is designed to provide a solid computational foundation for future mathematics courses. The topics include operations with decimals, fractions, percents and integers; geometry; as well as an introduction to algebra and graphing linear functions. There is a focus throughout on problem-solving skills.

• Students will apply mathematical concepts to real-world situations.

• Students develop organizational skills and effective study habits.

• Students begin to understand that the “why” and “how” of procedures are more important than just an answer.

This course covers the Pre-Algebra curriculum and prepares students to enter Accelerated Algebra 8. Students may also be identified and selected to prepare for Geometry through differentiated instruction and independent study.

Pre-Algebra is the 8th grade mathematics course before students begin their three required secondary-level courses. It is designed to build a solid foundation for students to succeed in these upper-level courses. The topics include solving algebraic problems; simplifying expressions with variables and integers, decimals, and rational numbers; graphing linear equations; polynomials; trigonometry; and surface area. Problem-solving is a focus throughout the course.

Enriched Algebra begins a three- to four-year sequential study of college preparatory mathematics. Students will develop the ability to solve a variety of problems logically and critically. Some of the topics that will be addressed include but are not limited to: introduction to algebra; working with real numbers and polynomials including factoring; solving equations and word problems; applications of fractions; introduction to functions; systems of linear equations; inequalities; rational and irrational numbers; quadratic functions; and graphing. (1 High School credit)

Social Studies

Social Studies in the middle school is a chronologically organized course that covers the history of North America and the United States. Seventh grade covers European Exploration to the Civil War, and eighth grade covers the Civil War to the present. The course focuses on the political, economic, diplomatic and social development of the United States with an emphasis on the experience of the common person. One of the main objectives of the course is to enable the students to attain an understanding of where the country has been as a nation in order to create a vision of where it is headed in the future. “You can’t be sure of where you are going if you don’t know where you have been.”

The other major objectives of the course are to improve and to build the critical thinking and writing skills of the students. Many of the homework assignments and test questions will require the students to utilize their critical-thinking skills, in combination with their writing skills, in order to form sound arguments that are backed up with facts and information. Many of the in-class activities and assignments are designed to promote critical-thinking skills as well as to accommodate the different learning styles of the students.


English at McQuaid Jesuit is skills-based: reading, writing, speaking and critical thinking. Literature is the basis for building these skills.

Introducing students to literary analysis, sharpening critical-thinking skills, and practicing speaking and writing skills are our primary goals. We explore writing techniques and introduce and practice virtually all types of writing. Our work will take three general forms: literature, vocabulary and grammar. The McQuaid tradition of extensive novel reading and intensive study of literary genres is initiated at this level. Our literary studies focus particularly on the short story, poetry, the novel, mythology and medieval literature.

The McQuaid 7th and 8th grades are a preparation for the high school. While the pace and quantity of work will be appropriate for this level, the focus is to prepare the student for the expectations and rigors of the high school.


Faith & Covenant: Themes in the Hebrew Bible and the Gospel of Luke

This course is devoted to the study of the rich store of writings contained in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). Our chief aim is to develop an appreciation of the Hebrew Bible as a sacred text both for Jews and Christians. In doing so, we will explore historical, geographical, literary, and theological aspects of the Bible. Students will come to appreciate the faith experiences of the biblical people. They will also learn of ways in which the message of the Bible can be relevant to their own life situation and use that knowledge to enhance their own personal faith. The focus of the first half of the course is on the sequence from Genesis and Exodus through Joshua and Judges. Experiencing the profound and engaging narratives contained in that literature, students will learn about the foundation of God’s people from their conquest of Canaan to their eventual defeat and exile in Babylon. Particular emphasis will be given to biblical law and the implications it has for young men who wish to deepen their Christian faith. During the second half of the course students will have an opportunity to engage with the poetic and wisdom books. Topics such as the suffering of innocents as well as some of the ethical questions which faith can help us to confront successfully will be covered at an age-appropriate level. From the perspective of a general survey, then, this course seeks to introduce all students to the major spiritual truths found in the Old Testament and to the variety of ways in which the truths of scripture are relevant to the lives and experiences of young men in the twenty-first century.

Intended for: 7th graders
Prerequisite: none

Theology 8: Jesus Christ & the Church

The goal of this course is for students to come to better know and learn from Jesus Christ. Through a yearlong study deepening their understanding of Jesus and his teachings students will progress on their journey to become more intellectually competent, open to growth, religious, loving, and committed to justice. Students will study and reflect on the New Testament and the gospels in particular. Theological reflection, prayer, and social analysis, and Church teaching will also be a central part of this course. (1 credit)

Intended for: 8th graders
Prerequisite: Theology 7


All seventh-graders are required to take Introduction to Language 7, a special course designed to prepare them for further language study. Seventh graders use the study of Latin to learn grammar that is essential to the study of language, including parts of speech, parts and types of sentences, and other concepts common to language instruction. Students are introduced to the processes of learning a language: mastering vocabulary, drilling, incorporating new concepts into old ones, translating single sentences, and sustaining a translation through increasingly lengthy passages. Also included in the course is an overview of the foreign language options offered to students beginning in 8th grade.

Eighth-graders begin the actual first year of the three-year sequence, selecting French I, German I, Italian I, Latin I, Mandarin Chinese or Spanish I. (1 High School Credit)


Students will be introduced to basic musical knowledge and skills. Aspects of the class will include history of music, multicultural music, and hands-on experiences in studying, listening, discussing, composing, and performing music. This course is also an introduction to music courses offered at the high school level. (1/2 credit)

Prerequisite: None
Intended for: students in grades 6 and 7

The middle school chorus is open to all students in grades 7 and 8 who sing in an ensemble. Students will sing a variety of choral repertoire appropriate to the level of the group. Students wishing to play piano during rehearsals or the concert are encouraged to see the chorus director prior to signing up since space is limited for this. Vocal lessons taken either privately or at McQuaid Jesuit are required for completion of this course. Students will perform frequently throughout the year in school and community settings. (1/2 credit)

Prerequisite: None
Intended for: students in grades 6,  7 and 8

The Concert Band is open to all student musicians in grades 6, 7 and 8 playing woodwind, brass, or percussion instruments only. Students playing guitar or piano maybe interested in General Music or Middle School Chorus. This course will cover wide arrangements of musical styles and genres that will be challenging to the level of the students. Instrumental lessons taken either privately or at McQuaid Jesuit are required for completion of this course. Students will perform frequently throughout the year in school and community settings. (1/2 credit)

Prerequisite: None
Intended for: students in grades 6, 7 and 8

This introductory string orchestra will focus on fundamentals of string instrument playing such as tone production, instrument position, rhythm, note reading, and rehearsal procedures. Emphasis will be placed on developing strong playing and practice habits through the use if beginner to intermediate string orchestra and solo repertoire. Students will perform in school concerts and will develop the ability to articulate musical concepts in formal writing and speaking. Individual or group lessons taken either privately or at McQuaid are required for completion of this course. Middle School Orchestra will meet three days out of each six day cycle and is open to musicians playing violin, viola, ‘cello, and upright bass (not electric bass). (1/2 credit)

Prerequisite: Must play a classical string instrument (not guitar, piano, or electric bass)
Intended for: Students in grades 6, 7 or 8


Students will be actively engaged in the creative art making process using the art elements: color, shape, value, form, line, space, and texture. Students will maintain a sketchbook to practice their drawing skills both inside and outside of class. Class presentations and discussions about art create connections and appreciation. Media such as pencil, colored pencil, marker, paint, collage, printmaking, and clay will be used, preparing students for the high school curriculum. (1 credit)

Prerequisite: None
Intended for students in 6th and 7th grade.

Students will use the creative integration of the art elements by learning how they combine into the art principles of design: movement, contrast, variety, rhythm, balance, harmony, pattern, unity, emphasis, and proportion, to create original works of art. Students will learn to make connections by responding to historical and contemporary art during class critiques as well as to their own finished pieces. Sketchbooks will be used to practice drawing skills and to journal about the art making processes. A variety of media such as pencil, colored pencil, pastel, paint, collage, printmaking, and clay will be used, preparing students for the high school art curriculum. (1 credit)

Prerequisite: None.
Intended for students in 8th grade.


Drama 6/7

“A culture is not to be judged by its material accomplishments alone, but also by the aspirations and ideals that motivate conduct.” Dramatists use a variety of theatrical means to hold a mirror up to a society for the purpose of illuminating the human condition.

The theater is an imaginative process that blends together a variety of elements that enable a culture to see itself as it is or as it might like to be. In addition, by studying these various elements, successive generations are able to learn about that culture—its language, history, customs and beliefs—what issues were important and how people reacted to those issues. These elements include the play, its actions and language, and the method of staging—acting style, set, costumes, lighting, sound, and makeup.

In addition to becoming familiar with the drama of several periods including Greek, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the twentieth century, students will have an opportunity to engage in workshop-style classes involving relaxation exercises, theater games, improvisations and some scene work. Trips to local theater productions are encouraged and will provide opportunities for extra credit. The year-long course culminates with a unit on puppetry, for which students will make their own puppets and write and perform their own original scripts. (1/2 credit)

Prerequisite: None
Intended for: students in grades 6 and 7

Computer Science

This course includes general knowledge of selected computer applications in Microsoft Office and Internet research skills needed to prepare students for academic success. Additionally, basic programming concepts will be studied, which will require that students examine how they organize their thoughts to solve problems. Students will be encouraged to refine their problem-solving strategies and to examine the application of these skills in other disciplines. This course features a “hands-on” approach to learning with some unit testing. Students are well prepared for further computer study or use in the high school program at the conclusion of the course.

Intended for: Students in grades 6 or 7
Prerequisite: None

This course covers an introduction to computer applications and programming as well as intermediate topics. All middle school students should possess a good working knowledge of word processing, spreadsheets, and presentation programs. Additionally, basic/game programming concepts will be studied, which will require that students examine how they organize their thoughts to solve problems. This course instructs using the MS Office Suite with a “hands-on” approach to learning and some unit testing. Students are well prepared for further study or use in the high school program at the conclusion of the course. (1 credit)

Intended for: 8th graders
Prerequisite: None