Academic Departments



Connected to the concept of global citizenship, our Middle School English courses incorporate a range of themes that bring exciting conversations and critical thinking into each class. Through reading diverse genres (short stories, novels, poetry, and plays) students examine varied influences that impact the literature and provide a platform for students to consider why and how people make the choices they do. Students develop foundational skills throughout the year, including grammar, vocabulary, paragraph development, and both analytical and creative writing. Unique projects often integrate different disciplines and include a range of creative presentation approaches, including the use of technology.

Social Studies

Sixth graders study Geography and World Cultures, focusing on the unique geography, culture, and history of various parts of the world. By examining cultural attributes of different countries and how geography and regional historical events impact and shape them, students learn about the complex world we live in. In seventh grade, students study U.S. History with respect to certain time periods, examining events and the multiple perspectives that have shaped our country through forces such as ideas, disease, geographical challenges, and war. In eighth grade students explore Hawaiian Studies which includes the study of geography, migration, and culture and how each of these components help shape leadership and decisions not only historically but in present day Hawai‘i. Within all of these classes students complete research, present information to their peers, lead and participate in discussions, use technology to help frame their thinking and present ideas to others, and learn to read and interpret informational text.


As an avenue for abstract and exploratory thinking, the Middle School math department places an emphasis on problem solving and critical analysis. The mathematics sequence develops from the basic foundations of traditional mathematical skills and algorithms taught in grade 6, to the introduction of basic algebraic concepts in grade seven to finally culminating in the learning of families of functions in the eighth grade algebra course. Throughout the middle school math experience students use real life applications, projects, games, reflections and daily interactive SMART board lessons with the goal of allowing the student to best understand how they process and examine mathematical situations.


Science study at the Middle School includes components from a variety of different disciplines: life, earth, and physical science. The curriculum is designed to include a unique blend of classroom investigations focused on an essential question. Through research, laboratory investigations, demonstrations, and discussions, students learn the scientific process and have opportunities to focus on independent research projects in areas of high interest to them.In addition, these classes maximize the unique opportunities found on Hawai‘i Island, visiting and studying Kilauea, an active volcano, snorkeling to analyze reef ecology and take samples to monitor reef growth, assist with the schoolʻs collaborative Sea Turtle Research Program with NOAA, and studying whales in their natural habitat. In addition, the school takes advantage of community resources to study astronomy atop Mauna Kea with mentors from world-renowned observatories.

Modern Language

Students may chose between Mandarin and Spanish. Our Modern Language program begins with an introductory semester of each language in sixth grade. All seventh and eighth grade students enroll in either Spanish I or Mandarin I. Students who earn a final grade of C or better, in conjunction with meeting additional language competencies and a favorable teacher recommendation (based on national modern language curriculum standards), will be eligible to take the Level II (same) language in either eighth or ninth grade.The overarching goals for students are to understand oral and written language and to acquire a sense of the culture whose language is being studied. Our OneWorld Travel program provides a valuable opportunity for students to receive an authentic immersion in both the language and culture being studied.

Fine Arts

Sixth graders attend music class three times a week for a semester. Through singing, research, and actively listening to a wide variety of music, students increase their level of knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of music as an art form. The music program is designed to be an overview of musical styles throughout history to learn about the role music has played in cultures throughout the centuries.

In seventh and eighth grade students select from a variety of music electives, including a handbell choir, ‘ukulele, recorder, guitar and piano, or musical theater. Performances are held in the Gates Performing Arts Center, a state-of-the-art theater that provides students with experience in sound and lighting and in designing stage sets and costumes.

Performing Arts: Students in seventh and eighth grades have opportunities to develop performance skills and an appreciation of music, drama, speech, and movement as they sing, dance, perform, play recorders, and listen to music in performing arts. Formal oral presentations, mime, poetry, interpretive readings, puppet shows, monologues, and a presentation production often are part of the course. Students are focused, positive, willing to try new activities and to work cooperatively with their peers as they explore new skills.

Visual Arts: In middle school, sixth graders begin with a Foundations of Visual Art Class, which introduces lead 2-D & 3D sixth, seventh, and eighth grade instructor Jane Taylor. Skills, techniques, and vocabulary in painting, drawing, and ceramics are explored. In grades 7 and 8 a student can move up to specialized classes focusing on a chosen discipline such as water media, acrylic, ceramics, digital art, or silk painting for a semester.

Each elective is designed to familiarize students with the language of visual expression and to help them discover, develop, and refine their artistic skills. The elements of art (line, shape, form, color, value, texture, and space) and the principles of design (balance, movement, rhythm, contrast, emphasis, pattern, and unity) become vehicles for the creation of art in a variety of styles and media. Students gain visual literacy and produce extraordinary artwork at each level.

Physical and Health Education

Instructional units challenge students to improve their skill level, physical fitness, team play, and sportsmanship. Data are recorded from individual efforts and progress is monitored. Units covered vary and might include units such as volleyball, soccer, swimming, tennis, and track. Students also are exposed to lifetime fitness activities and learn the importance of an active lifestyle.

Health education is included as part of the physical education curriculum. The majority of instruction is delivered by the physical education teacher, while some content is delivered through the advisory program and subject classes where appropriate.

In sixth and seventh grade students have a full year of physical education, meeting three times a week. In eighth grade, students can opt for a semester of physical education as part of their elective wheel, to be balanced with either a semester of performing or visual arts.

Computer Technology

Many of the skills in computer technology are integrated with other disciplines through a variety of projects and multimedia presentations. Students use word processing, spreadsheets, graphics, multimedia, and online research to present project work. Visual Arts electives also include options for technology-focused topics such as Adobe Photoshop, iPhoto, iMovie, Garage Band, and iLife.

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