The Nido Middle School offers a comprehensive program that consists of core classes (Language Arts, Math, Social Studies, Science, and Spanish), as well as courses in Physical Education and the Fine and Performing Arts. Our technology curriculum is integrated into our students’ coursework, and all Grade 6 students begin MS with an IT course to prepare them for more advanced computing skills. English as a Second Language instruction and the MS Learning Resource Center both provide academic support for students in need.
Our Advisory Program promotes a sense of community and addresses age-appropriate topics related to character, team-building, and academic support. A critical component of Advisory is the House Program, wherein students gather in cross-grade groupings to promote school spirit, tackle problem-solving initiatives, and organize and participate in community service efforts.
We also offer a rich menu of after-school sports and clubs. These activities typically are sponsored by members of the Nido staff, and they provide opportunities for students to pursue their interests and to feel a deeper sense of connection.
- Language Arts
- Social Studies
- Spanish as a Second Language (SSL)
- Physical Education
- Advisory and House Programs
Language Arts strives to enhance the four areas of literacy (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) through a reading and writing workshop model. In the area of reading, through independent choice, book clubs, and whole-group text assignments, students become confident, critical, and strong lifelong readers of increasingly complex fiction and nonfiction works. Throughout the year, independent and personalized reading is highly encouraged and emphasized to help build reading stamina, vocabulary, and a love of literature. In reading novels, short stories, and poems, students learn to delve into literature and to connect what they read to their own life experiences.
The MS curriculum prioritizes the teaching and learning of clear, concise, enjoyable writing. Students work on a variety of writing projects such as personal narratives, personal argumentative essays, literary argumentative essays, research-based informative writing pieces, realistic fiction narratives, informative writing pieces, research-based argumentative essays, poetry, and investigative journalism pieces. Conventions and grammar are taught within the writing process, and much emphasis is placed on the process of collecting ideas and the skills, perseverance, and confidence needed to follow through with drafting, revising, editing, and conferring within the writing workshop approach.
Social Studies instruction at Nido inspires students to think critically, connects the past to the present, emphasizes the underlying causes of human behavior and events, and addresses broad universal concepts that extend across time periods, cultures, and geographic regions. The thematic curriculum guides students to understand how developments in one field have influenced and been influenced by human activities in other areas. To this end, history and geography are learned in the context of broader themes and concepts, and the units of study incorporate relationships to other disciplines, including the arts and sciences, and their past, current, and future implications. Instead of memorization and reiteration, students practice essential habits of mind that will best prepare them for new and future contexts. These include summarizing, comparing and contrasting, analyzing, and evaluating. Additionally, the essential skills of reading, writing, presentation, and research are integrated into each unit of study.
Students investigate concepts in a variety of mathematical areas at each grade level through integrated courses. Advanced Math classes are offered in Grades 7 and 8. Students develop an understanding of the properties of the real number system through emphases on computation, estimation, order, location, and equivalence. Proportional thinking is developed, and the language and tools of algebra are explored so that students can model, describe, and manipulate patterns and relationships between independent and dependent variables. In geometry, students learn to analyze, describe and measure the characteristics and properties of two- and three-dimensional shapes, as well as use the Cartesian plane to explore the concepts of symmetry and congruence through transformations. In statistics and probability students collect, organize, analyze, interpret and display data in tables and graphs as well as determine the probabilities of outcomes in simple experiments. Throughout investigations in each of these areas, students develop a variety of strategies for making sense of and solving problems, and they develop their abilities to clearly communicate and represent their mathematical thinking.
The MS science curriculum is designed to develop problem-solving, research, and collaboration skills using inquiry-based methods. Students are expected to create and conduct experiments that are communicated through formal lab reports, presentations, projects, and engineering design challenges. Reading and writing activities, with a focus on scientific literacy, are differentiated to meet individual student needs. Each year, through a variety of topics, students address the the following themes: Patterns & Relationships; Social & Ethical Implications of Science; Scale; Proportion & Quantity; Theories; Models & Explanations; Energy; Matter & Conservation; Structure; Function & Systems; and Change & Equilibrium.
National Spanish courses continue to develop the four language skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Students read and discuss a variety of Chilean and Latin American texts with an emphasis on literary genres, especially narrative and poetry. Students are encouraged to engage in independent reading to promote a stronger ability to understand, analyze, and enjoy longer and more complex texts. Standards for these courses are taken from the Chilean Ministry of Education.
The MS SSL program provides world-readiness by preparing students to participate in a multilingual environment that values other cultures, with the goal of developing functional proficiency in the Spanish language. It also incorporates a proficiency-based curriculum that enables students to use the Spanish language in real life situations in an immersion setting. One of the main aims of the Spanish language program in the MS is to enable students to communicate effectively within and beyond the classroom setting. MS SSL teachers incorporate technology, engaging resources, and a variety of fun activities to meet the needs of their diverse second-language learners enrolled in the SSL program. The language skills of speaking, reading, listening, and writing in Spanish are introduced, reinforced, and mastered throughout the three levels of SSL courses offered. Cultural aspects of Chile and other Spanish-speaking countries are presented to enhance students’ understanding and appreciation of Hispanic and Latin American heritage.
In the Middle School, physical and health education is an engaging, sequential, standards-based program that provides students with the opportunity to construct the knowledge and skills necessary to perform with competence and confidence in a wide variety of physical activities and to make informed decisions that promote healthy development of the whole person. The program contributes to individual students’ physical, social, intellectual, and emotional well-being through developmentally appropriate learning experiences that provide all students with opportunities to enjoy success and develop perseverance. Emphasis is placed on learning experiences that are authentic to our students’ contexts and consequential in outcome. Individual strengths and passions are nurtured through self-expression and choice. Students develop problem-solving, decision-making, and leadership skills, along with a sense of sportsmanship and fair play, while working cooperatively with others. The program empowers all students to take lifelong personal responsibility for engaging in health-related physical activity and to recognize the intrinsic rewards of being active in ways they enjoy.
The MS Encore program consists of myriad offerings in design and technology and the fine and performing arts. The Encore courses afford students a creative outlet for design and artistic expression whether it be in coding, robotics, visual arts, dramatic arts, or music. These classes run for a semester or for the year, and students have the opportunity to choose those areas that interest them the most.
Design and technology course offerings include Beginning & Advanced Robotics, Computer Coding, and Design Technology for Grade 7 and Grade 8 students. Music classes include String Ensemble, Choir, and differentiated levels of instrumental instruction (depending on a student’s proficiency). Other Encore courses include Musical Theater, Drama, Stage Production & Design, Art, and Theater Art. Many of the Encore courses culminate with a performance to offer students the opportunity to showcase their hard work to an authentic audience.
The Advisory Program in the Middle School is designed with the goal of ensuring that at least one adult at Nido has the global perspective of each student. At Nido, we make sure that our Advisory Groups stay small (around 10-14 students per Advisor), and students go to this "home base" every morning for the entire school year. It is a place where they connect, feel they matter, significantly contribute, and have guidance with their social, emotional, and academic needs and goals. Nido Advisors are at the same time facilitators of team building, role models for character education, mentors for academic plans, and caretakers for the year.
The House Program is designed to meet the following goals:
- to offer students a more intimate community in which to grow
- to involve students in real-world problem-solving activities
- to afford students an opportunity for authentic leadership
- to facilitate meaningful service to the School and wider community
Through the House Program, MS students are divided by Advisory Groups into several multi-grade level teams that meet in large or small groups to work on problems, challenges, and/or service projects. In the course of this work, students form tighter bonds with other MS classmates, develop problem-solving and teamwork skills, and become more aware of their community. Ultimately, the program aims to produce a more harmonious school culture where students are more fully connected to one another and are more fully aware of the positive contributions they can make in the world.