Please note: Parents and students should use our learning management system Haiku for all day-to-day course and assignment information.
Grade 7 & 8 English
The study of English will enhance students' development as independent, powerful and courageous writers, readers, speakers, thinkers, and listeners. Students engage in the writing process with emphasis on writing informative texts, writing arguments to support claims, writing narratives, and responding to literature. Students read and analyze Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and engage in an in depth study of Greek myths, as well as several short stories, poetry, essays, and novels. Students participate in a range of collaborative discussions, interactive presentations and speeches, and appropriate technology based opportunities. The skills of spelling, grammar, vocabulary acquisition, and usage are integrated into the study of writing. The English curriculum is a spiraling curriculum, in other words students repeat the study of the subject of English in both 7th and 8th grade at a higher level of difficulty and in greater depth.
Department Contact: Mrs. Jennifer Hurley-Coughlin, 860.379.7243 x3324
Grade 7 & 8 Reading
Students engage in a comprehensive reading course with emphasis on learning to develop strategies for reading both fiction and nonfiction text independently and proficiently. Emphasis is placed on using contextual clues to aid in comprehension, identifying text structure, summarizing key ideas, and citing textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says. Our goal is for students to develop advanced critical reading skills. Students engage in a study of word stems to aid in increasing vocabulary. Reader’s workshop also figures prominently in the curriculum. The reading curriculum is a spiraling curriculum, in other words students repeat the study of the subject of reading in both 7th and 8th grade at a higher level of difficulty and in greater depth.
Department Contact: Mrs. Jennifer Hurley-Coughlin, 860.379.7243 x3324
Grade 7 Pre-Algebra and Geometry
Grade 7 Math is the first year of our two-year middle school math continuum. In concert with middle school philosophy, students are heterogeneously grouped. This course offers students an opportunity to increase their knowledge of fractions, decimals, percents and geometry. Topics such as integers, rational numbers, equations, inequalities, graphing, and ratio and proportions are discussed in detail in preparation for 8th grade algebra/geometry. There is an emphasis on conceptual understanding and practical application of the mathematical topics being studied. The course is very carefully structured so that students have many opportunities for success. The graphing and scientific calculator is utilized as a tool for problem solving and computation at appropriated times throughout the year.
Grade 8 Algebra & Geometry
Grade 8 Math is a continuation and extension of the curriculum as presented in Grade 7 Math. Each topic presented is enhanced with more detail and at a more challenging level. In addition, new topics are also introduced, some of which are in preparation for a years study of algebra in 9th grade. There is an emphasis on conceptual understanding and practical application of the mathematical topics being studied. The course is very carefully structured, so students have many opportunities for success. This is partially accomplished by utilizing a variety of presentation and assessment techniques
Algebra I is a full-year course for students in grade 8. This course is the first of four honors courses culminating with the study of Calculus. The Algebra I skills of investigating patterns, solving equations, simplifying expressions, solving real world problems, modeling functions, and graphing on a coordinate plane are developed.
The ideas and concepts presented are challenging and sophisticated, and the format and pace of the course are matched to the needs of the accelerated math student. The use of technology, graphing calculators, cooperative & discovery based learning, writing, and student presentations will be emphasized. It is expected that students participating in this course will demonstrate a level of responsibility and independence at a higher level than typically associated with eighth grade students. It is anticipated that students enrolled in this course will take Honors Geometry as freshman in high school.
Department Contact: Mr. Marshall "Chip" Morris, 860.379.7243 x3307
The focus of studies in seventh and eighth grade Science is on the interaction of thinking processes with the content of science. Through the study of the living and nonliving worlds, students learn how to apply observations and intuitions to new situations and problems, they formulate hypotheses, design experiments, and draw conclusions.
Grade 8 Science
In eighth grade, topics in biological, earth and physical sciences are addressed through heredity and genetics, energy transfer and transformations, forces and motion (Newton's Laws), earth, sun, moon interactions in the solar system, and bridge construction and design.
Grade 7 Science
In seventh grade, topics in biological, earth and physical sciences are addressed through energy in earth's systems, cells - microscope unit, human body systems, and food production and preservation.
Social Studies Department
Grade 7 Cultural Studies
The Cultural Studies Class is designed to provide you students with an opportunity to understand how culture in other parts of the world evolved. Two cultural areas of the world will be explored. These include: Latin America and Africa. Over the course of the year the goal will be to understand how people of these areas view the world and the events that have occurred and are occurring today.
Grade 8 American Experience
The American Experience is a highly interactive course that allows all eighth graders to experience the democratic process. In this course students will:
- Survey the exciting events that led to the American Revolution
- Recreate the famous trial of the “Boston Massacre”
- Engage in the issues that confronted the framers of the Declaration of Independence
- Debate and articulate student Constitutions
- Engage in the legislative process
- Research and construct their own bills and then politick to pass them through our eighth grade Senate
- Examine how courts work to protect citizens' rights against abusive government while engaging in a Mock Supreme Court and investigating the jury system.
Department Contact: Mr. Mike Stapleton, 860.379.7243 x3319
World Language Department
Grade 8 Chinese I
We will be learning how to speak, read, write and understand Chinese and the life-style of the Chinese-speaking world.
Grade 8 Italian I
Students will have an opportunity to develop a foundation of the four skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing while accruing an appreciation for the Italian language and culture.
Grade 8 Spanish I
Students will begin to advance in the academic areas of Spanish in the areas of grammar, reading, and speaking. If a student receives a C or better they will be able to continue to Spanish II in grade 9.
Grade 7 Spanish
We will be learning how to speak, read, write and understand Spanish and we will also study about life in the Spanish-speaking world.
World Language Department Contact: Mrs. Sara Viets, 860.379.7243 x3021
Grade 7 & 8 Band
This course develops the skills involved in instrumental performance in the traditional wind ensemble. It provides the opportunity to make music with others, gain familiarity with musical notation and vocabulary, respond to music aesthetically and emotionally, become acquainted with a wide variety of musical styles and genres, and develop a cooperative spirit within the peer group community.
Musical areas addressed both individually and within the ensemble are tone, intonation, balance/blend, note accuracy, rhythmic exercises, chorales, and folk songs.
Students are expected to participate in several performances throughout the year, including parades. Although group lessons are provided during the school day, as was done in elementary school, individual lessons are not provided. These private lessons are not required, but are strongly encouraged, as they allow students to reach their full potential. They can be arranged individually or through the music department.
Students are expected to provide their own instruments, although the school does rent some of the larger, more expensive instruments for a small fee.
As members of the Middle School Band, students have the opportunity to audition for region-wide festivals.
Grade 7 & 8 Chorus
This course develops skills used in choral performance. It provides an opportunity to gain meaning and pleasure from music through choral participation. It provides for improving adequate singing range; improving proper breath support and control; improving correct diction and reading; improving the concept of ensemble; developing knowledge of varying styles, composers, and musical periods; and careful development of the changing voice.
Grade 7 & 8 Music
This course develops skills in basic music literacy, music listening, singing, composition, and piano performance. It provides the opportunity to learn an instrument (piano) in a non-competitive environment through both group and individual instruction. Students have the opportunity to compose their own songs and learn the basics of reading music.
Students are expected to provide their own headphones for playing electric pianos in the music keyboard lab.
Department Contact: Mr. James Lesieur, 860.379.7243 x2627
Health and Physical Education Department
Grade 7 & 8 Physical Education
The focus of this course is to promote physical fitness and health through active lifestyles. Students develop the skills, knowledge, personal traits and social skills necessary for participation in numerous physical activities leading to physical fitness and lifelong health. There is a focus on working together, sportsmanship, and leadership, having fun, and being physically fit.
Grade 7 & 8 Health Education
This course focuses on how healthy choices promote and impact the quality of our lives. Refusal skills, decision-making skills, nutrition and dealing with inappropriate behaviors such as harassment are topics highlighted in this course. The 7th grade health includes communicable and non-communicable diseases, medicines and drugs, fitness, health triangle, bullying and reading a food label. The 8th grade class with design a fitness plan for themselves, discuss STD’s, communication skills, alcohol and tobacco, advertising and taking responsibility for their own health.
Department Contact: Mrs. Stacey Zematis, 860.379.7243 x2705
Business Education Department
Grade 7 Business Education
Keyboarding is a course designed to teach students the fundamentals of basic keyboarding with an emphasis on accuracy, correct technique, and skill development. Micro Type Pro Alphabetic Keyboarding software program is used to develop these keyboarding skills and allows the student to excel according to ability. Students will be introduced to basic word processing concepts and the correct formatting for documents of various kinds. Excel spreadsheets and their applications, as well as Publisher applications, will be introduced. Students will receive instruction in basic financial literacy concepts throughout the course.
Department Contact: Mrs. Dee Cusati, 860.379.7243 x3023
Agricultural Education Department
Grade 7 Agricultural Education
Agricultural Education in the middle school provides an overview of the agricultural industry in the United States and throughout the world with an emphasis on basic agricultural literacy. In this course the student will acquire skills, knowledge, and experience in the following areas of agricultural education: leadership, plants, animals, natural resources and food science.
Department Contact: Ms. Mia Haaland, 860.379.9013 x4003
Grade 7 & 8 Art
Art is an exploratory course that deals with the basics of art, design, and creativity. This is the foundation for all art courses at Northwestern and the preview of the high school program. Art incorporates critical thinking skills that are applicable to all areas of study. Students will have an opportunity to work with a variety of art materials and ideas with an emphasis on the elements of art: line, shape, form, texture, and color.
Special Education Department
The Northwestern Special Education Department provides a continuum of services for students identified with learning, social or emotional challenges. This continuum includes self-contained classes for students in need of behavioral intervention as well as classes for students who need specialized and or remedial instruction. Team-taught classes are provided for students who need behavior and/or academic support in the regular education setting.
Northwestern’s Special Education Department includes four certified Special Education teachers and four full-time Educational Assistants.
The role of the psychologists and social worker at Northwestern is multidimensional. Psychologists and Social Worker run ongoing groups, do individual counseling, and crisis intervention; are an integral part of the Planning and Placement Team (PPT) process; and are responsible for individual cognitive, behavioral and academic testing. In addition, psychologists and social workers are available to students and parents on an ongoing and as-needed basis.
The State Department of Education has recently revised the Guidelines for Identifying children with Learning Disabilities.