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Middle School

Sixth - Eighth Grade

10:1 Student Teacher Ratio

200 Students in Grades 6-8

6,500 Annual K-12 Student Service Hours

95% of Sixth Grade Students Volunteer for Our Student Ambassador Program

2,000 square foot 3D Lab and Digital Media Studio

1 Acre Garden and Fully Equipped Outdoor Classroom and Kitchen

Physical Education Includes Weekly Dance and Tennis Classes

Middle School at San Domenico is a dynamic place, day-in, and day-out.

Each member of the middle school faculty loves to teach middle school-aged children. Our teachers embrace each child's individual talents and help them envision all they can achieve and change in the world. Teachers encourage a willingness to try new things and provide them ample opportunities to do so.

At San Domenico, students are challenged, celebrated, and nurtured, every day, in different ways. It is exciting to see students develop leadership skills in Student Council, or to see our Eco-Club members learning and sharing ways we can all help care for our environment. Our core academic curriculum, along with our co-curricular activities, helps our students develop critical thinking skills, and expand their learning.

By Eighth Grade, our students have gained an exceptional academic foundation and a strong sense of self and purpose. We graduate confident, aware, and ethical young people. Through our creatively taught classes and teachers' guidance in helping students find their own voices and sharpen their critical thinking, we prepare them to shine as bold, conscientious global thinkers, and genuine, bright, articulate citizens.

Spotlight on Learning

Sixth Grade Egyptian Tomb Construction

As sixth graders study ancient civilizations, one area of focus is early Egyptian culture. Students examine government, religion, mathematics, and architecture, while learning about the Gods and pharaohs that ruled the Nile River Valley. Students explore the essential questions “What is the legacy of Egypt?” “How did geography promote Egypt’s early history?” “What are the characteristics of civilization in ancient Egypt?” and “How do they compare to the other ancient civilizations?” At the end of the unit, students design and construct an Egyptian royal tomb that includes a sarcophagus, funeral mask, tomb structure, wall paintings, and sacred objects. Students have the option to paint, sculpt, draw, paper-mache, or construct their tomb with a 3D printer. Students include a written description of their work, and present their final project to the class.

 

Seventh Grade Sand Mandala Creation

A ceremonial artform, the sand mandala is made with colorful grains of sand carefully placed to create a sacred design, encouraging meditation, mindfulness, and impermanence. In their Philosophy, Ethics, and World Religion classes, seventh grade students study Tibetian Buddhism and work together to complete a sand mandala for the whole school to reflect upon. After completing the mandala, students sweep the grains of sand into the creek in order to experience the meaning of impermanence.

Eighth Grade Hidden Hand Project

Well known for a series of paintings that earned him the moniker “The  Invisible Man,” Liu Bolin, used art as a “silent protest” against policies set forth by the Chinese government. After viewing Bolin’s “Camouflage” series, 8th graders reflect on times in their lives when they have felt invisible or unheard. They then create a painting that replicates their feelings using symbolic colors and patterns found in nature, where they camouflage an image of their own hands. This deeply personal and reflective visual arts project illustrates how art can be used to make powerful political statements at the same time that it can be a vehicle for expressing emotional experiences in a visual framework.

 

Middle School Unity Week Celebration

Each October, in honor of National Bullying Prevention Month, San Domenico celebrates Unity Week. This special tradition culminates on Unity Day, a day when students, teachers, and staff at San Domenico, as well as across the country, come together to send a collective message of support, hope, and unity. Throughout the week, Middle School students participate in activities designed to help them understand their role in creating a kind and inclusive environment where all students feel accepted and safe. Together, they create a beautiful Unity Banner that includes an anti-bully pledge signed by every student.

 

8th Grade Capstone Project

Be Revolutionary! Small Acts, Big Impact.

The Capstone Project is a yearlong service-learning experience modeled after our High School’s acclaimed R.O.S.E. project (Real Opportunities in Service and Education). It fosters a sense of agency and independence as students implement their own plan to serve our economically and culturally diverse communities. Related coursework includes reflections, artwork, poetry, and a community presentation. Essential questions asked by students include: “ What are the needs in my community?” “What passions and talents can I offer?” “What small actions can I take to make an impact in my own community?” This service-learning project is “uniquely San Domenico,” and is yet another way in which students live our core values of study, reflection, community, and service.

Student projects have ranged from volunteering in the Marin County Youth Leadership Institute and Youth Court to one eighth grader working in their former elementary school to educate students about Black History through artwork, poetry, and dance. As the only African American student in their former school, their goal was to raise awareness about the social impact of race in education, and help empower students to use effective methods for social change. Another student used their talents as a violinist to bring joy to elders in long-term care facilities. Playing violin for the residents helped this student understand the powerful and positive impact music can have on alleviating loneliness.

8th Grade English: A Unit on The Secret Life of Bees

Throughout The Secret Life of Bees unit, students understand and articulate how historical events are relevant to our modern world. Students engage in conversations around prejudice and hidden biases influence a person's worldview. Students examine how society and family play a role in our thoughts and actions, and what qualities we possess that enable us to challenge societal expectations. This rich unit engages students with documentary film clips from the 1960s, as well as a robust research project.

7th Grade Dream House Spanish Project

As students read Joe Arenas’ Spanish novel, La Casa, they are tasked with a collaborative project to build, decorate, and sell a dream house. Using "Design Thinking," teams of students create their “casa” floor plan along with all interior designs. They determine the home value, and report on surrounding amenities, local schools, and other location details. Students adopt a professional lens in evaluating their work and compete for a final house purchase, selected by their teacher who assumes the role of the home buyer. At the end of the unit, their designs are labeled and presented entirely in Spanish. Team members are assigned the role of either architect, realtor, or interior designer. We discuss the roles in detail and let them interview their teacher, the buyer.

 

Middle School Curriculum

Grow Forth!

"I definitely felt way ahead of the curve, both academically and in terms of study skills, for my high school years. San Domenico middle school in Marin County prepared me for everything I encountered in those subsequent years."
—Alumnus

Admissions

We look forward to meeting your family and introducing you to our community! For more information inquire here.

LeaAnne Parlette, Director of Lower School and Middle School
LeaAnne Parlette
Director of Lower and Middle School
lparlette@sandomenico.org

Claire Bukata, Associate Director of Middle School
Cliare Bukata
Associate Director of Middle School
cbukata@sandomenico.org

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