The dual-curricular middle school program exposes students to more independent, self-reliant and social experiences, offering numerous opportunities to reflect, discuss, create, and explore in areas of literature and Talmud, Jewish history and social studies, science, writing and Hebrew, math and Chumash. Students develop their academic and critical thinking skills daily, as well as hone their talents and skills in technology, fine arts, music and physical education. Through guided weekly mentoring groups, the students also know that their teachers are there to support them emotionally in a safe, nurturing environment.
As students begin their own personal Bar or Bat Mitzvah preparation at home, they simultaneously strengthen their Jewish identity, their relationship to the land and people of Israel, and their connection to the Jewish culture and the Hebrew language in school. Culminating their years at OHDS, the eighth grade travels to Israel for ten days, where they visit historically relevant sites and have opportunities to act in a spirit of courage and selflessness for social justice and betterment of Israel. Read more about our Israel trip here.
Middle School English Language Arts Program
Middle school English students delve into the world of literature as both readers and writers. Rich literature selections from novels and short stories to poetry and personal essays, provide opportunities for close reading, textual analysis and inquiry-based discussion. Literature also becomes the launch pad for student writing as students support their textual interpretations through thesis driven essays or write their own creative writing as inspired by the techniques of authors they have studied.
Middle School Math Program
In grades 6-8, math students are placed in the math class that best meets their learning needs. Math classes are taught at the same time and course options include 6th grade Singapore Math, Pre-Algebra, Algebra or Geometry. Math instruction focuses on both mastery of essential skills, as well as opportunities to apply mathematical thinking to real world problems. Teachers use a blend of learning modalities including small group instruction, blended learning using online resources, discussion-based learning and project-based learning.
Middle School Science Program
Building on the foundation of the Next Generation Science Standards, the middle school science program builds scientific learning skills through reading, writing, discussion and by engaging students in hands-on demonstrations and labs that help make conceptual understanding more concrete. The emphasis in science instruction is to leverage students’ curiosity through the inquiry process, generating excitement and questions and helping students develop a solid understanding and ability to articulate and apply what they know.
Middle School Social Studies
Middle school social studies students learn to think like historians, working with primary and secondary sources to understand multiple interpretations of historical events and time periods. Students build skills in reading, writing, critical thinking and evidence-based argumentation, exploring overarching questions about resources, geography, culture and power to understand how changing circumstances have impacted human history.
Middle School Judaic Studies
The Workshop-Based Beit Midrash (WBBM) is an educational approach and a learning environment where students take ownership of their Jewish learning through self-directed study and individualized learning portfolios. In the WBBM, our middle school students learn collaboratively, across grades, in small groups, and in chevruta in one open room, from 8:15 a.m. – 11:50 a.m. every day. Students, with the guidance of Mechanchim (advisers), construct daily, weekly and long-term learning goals that build Hebrew and text skills and address student-driven inquiry. This approach requires integration of an array of communication and presentation modalities, with strong emphasis on collaboration and self-reflection.