Research shows that middle school years are when students begin to form their academic identities and goals, and our mission is to help them set that bar high. Our academic approach incorporates student-centered learning, collaboration, writing across the curriculum, time management skills, and learning by doing. The outcome is a community of able and inquisitive students who participate enthusiastically in their own education, and are ready to take on high school.
Our Seventh and Eighth Grade Curriculum
Seventh Grade Courses
The seventh-grade curriculum is made up of five year-long courses (English, a language, mathematics, science, and social studies). A sixth course is divided into trimester-long units, devoted to art, theater, and physical education). Participation in the Afternoon Program is optional for seventh graders.
Language (Chinese, French, Spanish, Latin)
Mathematics (Pre-algebra or Algebra Honors)
Trimester-long courses (Art, Theater, STEM Foundations)
Afternoon Program Options
Eighth Grade Courses
The eighth-grade curriculum is made up of five year-long courses (English, a language, mathematics, science, and social studies). A sixth course is divided into trimester-long units, devoted to art, theater, and health). Participation in the Afternoon Program is required for eighth graders.
Language (Chinese, French, Spanish, or Latin; especially proficient students may advance to Upper School language classes)
Math ( Algebra or Algebra Honors; especially proficient students may advance to Upper School math classes, beginning with Geometry Honors)
Trimester-long courses (Art, Theater, Health)
Afternoon Program Options
The Shakespeare Project
The eighth-grade arts program devotes the last two months of school to the Bard. Students can act in the play, or take part by producing, designing costumes, or being part of the stage crew. The final production takes place in Williston’s state-of-the-art theater.
Students spend a full day immersed in the languages and cultures of France, Spain, and China. Hands-on activities include cooking, traditional dance, and martial arts workshops. Latin students attend Classics Day at Mount Holyoke College.
After being assigned a tree on campus, students provide seasonal observations and growth data to the Harvard Forest Schoolyard Long-Term Ecological Research Project. They then analyze the data set to determine the patterns and changes in growth habits over time.
Students investigate topics and conduct experiments over one month, then share their findings with an audience of families and the larger Williston community. The much-anticipated evening lets students develop their presentation skills and learn more about self-directed independent research.
MASS MoCA & Clark Art Museum Trip
In the fall, both grades visit these two renowned art museums as part of our fine arts curriculum. Working with the museums’ education coordinators, students learn observation skills, and a background in both traditional and contemporary art.
Eighth Grade Talks
Our public-speaking curriculum culminates in the spring with this rite of passage, when every student prepares and delivers a five-minute speech in front of the whole Middle School on a topic of their choosing.
The Right Level
We believe that no child should be
stuck in a holding pattern in middle
school. We offer courses that challenge
students to expand their academic horizons
as far as they can go. Equally important,
we provide support that makes that
At the start of each school year, we place every student in a small group of peers, led closely by a faculty member who gets to know each child well. These advisory groups are the cornerstone of our support system. They meet regularly for community-building activities, academic consultation, and breakfast pastries!
Learning to plan complex assignments and budget time is an essential skill for success in high school, college, and beyond. Part of our curriculum includes helping students learn to manage their work, especially long-term assignments such as research papers or science projects, with the safety net of teachers and advisors making sure they don’t fall behind.
Help When You Need It
Our faculty are always willing to meet with students for extra help, whether that’s before the school day begins or at a mutually convenient time. In addition, Williston has robust Math and Writing centers that are staffed by faculty and Upper School students.
Middle School Faculty
Our faculty is dedicated to building a learning community that prepares students for high school and beyond. These experienced teachers know when to challenge and when to nurture, when to focus on concepts and when to hone in on discrete skills—and they genuinely enjoy teaching 12- and 13-year-olds.
Curricular Technology Program
Williston’s Curricular Technology Program teaches students how to use technology thoughtfully to communicate, solve problems, conduct research, and think critically. All faculty and students use the same learning-management software on their school-issued device to share assignments, schedules, class notes, and feedback.
Whitaker-Bement Girls in Mathematics Competition
In January 2020, the Middle School hosted its first annual Whitaker-Bement Girls in Mathematics Competition. 90 elementary and middle school girls gathered for a day of fun, centered around mathematics, empowerment, and growing a strong female-centric mathematics community. Watch a quick recap video at left, and read more here.