The sixth-grade year provides a traditional academic curriculum while recognizing and embracing the transitional experience of new Middle School students. At the beginning of the year, students attend an orientation trip at Camp Roanoke. During the fall and winter terms, faculty members and advisors seek to help each student create a system of academic organization and study skills appropriate for their Middle School classes. During the year, students learn research and computer skills in multiple subjects, work their way into introductory algebra, may join organized sports teams, take part in a year-long intramural program of competitions, and perform in band or choir concerts.
Participation in the program is voluntary, and suitable for all reading levels. Enrollment requires the student to apply. Students complete their reading assignments outside of class, then meet in small groups and one-on-one with the teacher in class to work on grammar, writing composition, literary analysis and projects associated with their chosen work. The course aims to encourage self-starters who have a demonstrated love of reading and writing to explore the topics that interest them in a project-based setting, all the while learning the grammar and writing skills they need. Students become familiar with the process of draft writing, developing a theme, and various writing genres.
The seventh-grade year reflects a transition to more sophisticated academic work and a larger variety of course offerings, including three different courses in math and in the fine arts. The reading selections in English and history are more advanced in terms of theme and genre, and writing assignments in all disciplines stress individual analysis, personal reflection, and the proper use of research documentation. In the spring term, students engage in a lengthy co-curricular project in their English and history courses, culminating in a well-organized research paper and an oral presentation in front of their peers. The Life Science course pays particular emphasis in the spring to watershed formation and development, and the students spend time in the field studying water quality, nutrient levels, and common causes of eutrophication. The coursework during seventh-grade begins to lay the foundation for the successful eighth-grade transition to the Upper School program.
The eighth-grade year is characterized by an emphasis in more abstract thinking, engaging mathematical applications in algebra and geometry, classroom debate, and intermediate foreign language study. The students take part in an overnight river study trip to West Virginia in the fall, and the year culminates in a trip to Washington D.C., which includes visits to the Smithsonian Museum, the Kennedy Center, the U.S. Capitol, and an historical walking tour. In science, developing critical-thinking skills takes the lead while students research and compare energy sources, create models, and ultimately create an energy portfolio for the Roanoke Valley. Although teachers stress the skills necessary to succeed in the upcoming Upper School program, the final year of North Cross Middle School provides students a unique opportunity for leadership, self-reflection, creative writing, and personal growth.
Interim Middle School Director
Assistant Head of School for Academics
East Carolina University—M.Ed.
Middle School students are now eligible for athletic team participation. Each season there are opportunities for Middle Schoolers at both the Junior Varsity and Varsity levels. Our co-ed Middle School Tennis team (shown left), just finishing its third year, has received championship status in its conference two years running. Continuing with Band and Chorus also offers chances for competition. Many of our Middle School students achieve All-Chorus or All-Band recognition, and two singers were selected to sing with the American Choral Directors Association’s Middle School All-Virginia Chorus this past spring. Our students make the most of what is available to them. It is common to see several lacrosse sticks or soccer cleats outside of the auditorium during spring musical rehearsals.
The Middle School Student Counsel Association is active throughout the year, promoting community service efforts and smart choices. Recently, a co-curricular computer science elective was offered to great reception, and by the time its participants finish, they'll have designed and programmed a website, an app, conquered various STEM challenges and programmed a computer chip—all of which will have been accomplished outside of their every day classwork. This year, the eighth grade added a Robotics Club where they work on projects from FIRST (a nationwide academic youth robotics program also used in the Upper School and soon starting in the Lower School).
If coding isn't your thing, there's always the NCSRocks club, where members get together to paint and then hide stones to surprise and delight finders with their messages of kindness. Like to strategize? Try the Middle School Chess Club, or the Spelling Bee Club (last year's winner went on to Nationals!).
The time management skills our students learn in the classroom begin to carry over into their out-of-class activities. Students realize they can do the things they want to, and do them well, with a little planning. High school: they got this.
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North Cross School is an independent, coeducational, college-preparatory day school founded in 1944 and governed by a volunteer Board of Trustees.
North Cross School, 4254 Colonial Ave., Roanoke, VA 24018
(540) 989-6641 • (866) 294-6284 • (540) 989-7299 (FAX)
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North Cross School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, or any other legally protected status in the administration of its educational, admission, financial aid or employment policies, or any other programs administered by the School. For more information, read our Inclusivity Statement.
North Cross is accredited by the Virginia Association of Independent Schools. North Cross School's Junior Kindergarten is accredited by the Virginia Association of Independent Schools who is recognized by the Board of Education pursuant to §22.1-19 of the Code of Virginia authorizes the Virginia Council for Private Education to accredit private nursery, preschool, elementary and secondary schools in Virginia.
North Cross is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools, National Association for College Admission Counseling, and Potomac and Chesapeake Association for College Admission Counseling, The Cum Laude Society and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.