Grades 5-9
The Experience
Middle School: Grades 5-6

Academics: Grades 5-6

What sets Fessenden’s Middle School apart? We don’t just teach content; we teach boys how to learn. We equip boys with the tools they need to effectively explore, ask questions, find answers, and pursue their intellectual passions throughout their lives.

We help boys build a strong foundation in English, math, science, social studies, and foreign language. Faculty nurture the head and the heart, giving boys the freedom to build projects around their own academic passions.

We recognize that boys learn best when they are active participants in interdisciplinary learning. So we don’t just study habitats in science class, we build bird feeders in the iLab using our 3D printers. In math class, we chart the birds’ nesting habits. And in English class, we write persuasive essays on the issues involved in ecosystem preservation.

Upon graduating from Middle School, boys are able to think critically and problem-solve; communicate effectively in writing and speech; gain and apply knowledge; effectively manage time and projects; self-advocate; and stand on a strong foundation for future learning.

Middle School Curriculum at a Glance

List of 11 items.

  • English

    Middle School English classes use a collaborative teaching style to help students become strong communicators. The boys are given the tools and structures to further develop their critical reading, expressive writing, and public speaking skills.
  • Mathematics

    Math in Focus is an authentic Singapore Math® curriculum—with problem solving as the center of math learning and concepts taught with a concrete–pictorial–abstract learning progression through real-world, hands-on experiences. Teachers make math fun by challenging boys to figure out if a billion, one dollar bills, could fit in the classroom, or asking them to calculate how much rain fell on our 41-acre campus if we got two inches of rain.
  • Science

    As budding scientists, Middle School students begin to understand their world and their place in the world. Through fieldwork in local environments, they investigate ecological systems (water, land, wildlife). They explore the systems of the human body. They engage with technologies, such as programming and robotics, that aid them in solving real-world problems.
  • Foreign Language

    Students study Spanish or Latin, and use the target language for written and/or verbal expression, interweaving culture and history with language, and building vocabulary.
  • Reading and Social Studies (RSS) - Grade 5

    Students study five ancient cultures, including Early Man, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome, while learning reading and study skills that will benefit them throughout their years of schooling.
  • Cultural Geography - Grade 6

    Students are exposed to a wide variety of both physical and cultural geographical information. Coursework attempts to answer the question, “How does geography play a role in cultural development?” We explore the Middle East, Africa, and East Asia. In their sixth grade experience, students learn that geography is the foundation of history.
  • Visual Arts

    All students have the ability to create art. Through hands-on assignments that explore art fundamentals, boys gain confidence and technical skill while tapping into their imagination and creativity. They also study digital photography and woodworking, and can spend time in the iLab creating projects and learning programming.
  • Performing Arts

    Students can fine-tune their musical skills by studying voice, individual instruments, band, orchestra, and musical theatre.
  • Technology

    While technology is appropriately woven into the fabric of our entire Middle School curriculum, we also offer the following courses: ​Music and Media, Middle Makers, and QED (Question - Explore - Discover) Projects.
  • Drop Everything and Read (D.E.A.R)

    The entire school participates in monthly D.E.A.R. sessions during which everyone pauses for 45 minutes to “Drop Everything and Read.” The only guidelines: pause from regular activity and read a book, newspaper, magazine, or Kindle.
  • Academic Support

    The Lappin Skills Center
    Skills Center tutoring provides individualized, remedial instruction in reading, writing, phonics, spelling, study skills and mathematics. Each student’s program is designed to meet his individual objectives based on classroom performance assessments and standardized test scores. On-site assistance allows frequent communication between a student’s tutor and teachers. 

    Skills Center tutors have advanced degrees or equivalent experience in reading or special education and are qualified to administer educational evaluations to assess a student’s academic strengths and weaknesses. Structured, multisensory programs that require specialized training, like Orton-Gillingham, Wisnia-Kapp, Project Read and Reading Recovery are routinely used.

    Academic Tutoring
    Academic tutoring provides instruction for support in specific academic subjects. The student receives focused instruction to improve identified area(s) of weakness. The tutor pre-teaches, reviews and reinforces concepts as well as strategies. The tutor also works closely with the student’s classroom teachers to coordinate support. Periodic written updates on the student’s progress are submitted.

    Study Support Tutoring
    Study support tutoring provides individualized strategies for developing effective study skills which include the organization of work and materials, planning and time management. It provides support for the completion of homework, long term projects and written reports. The tutor also works closely with the student’s classroom teachers to coordinate support. Periodic written updates on the student’s progress are submitted.

    Student Advisors
    Advisors and homeroom teachers play an important role in guiding the academic performance of their students. They provide help with course selection when students have choices to make, assist students when interpreting grades and comments from teachers, and may even provide a level of organizational support. In addition to academic advising, a student’s advisor/homeroom teacher oversees his social and athletic development and helps him make good choices in all areas of his life. The quality and depth of this relationship between adults and students are what makes Fessenden a unique school community.

    Help and Work
    Help and Work is available to all students in Grades 5-9. Help and Work provides a daily opportunity for boys to acquire help with lessons or make up work. Students may schedule time with faculty using a daily sign-up or teachers may schedule time with individual students if they think students need extra help. Help and Work is held during the last period of the day for all students. Boys who are not involved in Help and Work attend study hall or early sports during this time.

View Our Full Curriculum

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The Fessenden School
250 Waltham Street
West Newton, MA 02465
(617) 964-5350

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