During the crucial adolescent years, self-esteem, family values, and healthy intellectual curiosity need to be fostered within a nurturing, moral and safe environment. By building on the skills developed in Lower School, the St. James Middle School focuses on the acquisition of strong basic academic skills, expands comprehension, analytical and questioning abilities, broadens creative and critical thinking, and enhances effective written and oral communication. Core academic subjects are addressed through specifically developed Central Theme classes.
Central Theme integrates literature, reading, process writing, history, and geography. The science curriculum is presented in a laboratory setting emphasizing the scientific method as a problem solving tool and utilizing special science software for experimentation. The Spanish program offers the opportunity to earn high school credits for Spanish Level I or Spanish Level II. Mathematics classes are grouped according to ability, allowing students who are developmentally prepared to complete Algebra I for high school credit in Grade 8. Students have the opportunity to receive credit for high school bioloty based on their grades in Grades 7 and 8. The transition years from fifth through eighth grades are critical ones in a young person’s development and a wide variety of courses, enrichment, and programs have been developed to address the student’s intellectual, physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.
These include the following:
- Studio Art – Working with various media, painting, print making, sculpting, and drawing.
- Athletics – After school team sports in volleyball, basketball, track (5th and 6th Grades) and tennis, basketball, and golf (7th and 8th Grades).
- Outdoor Education – Trips designed for each grade to integrate group interaction skills, personal growth, camping, canoeing, hiking, Central Theme and science
- MO-Ranch, low elements of the Ropes Challenge Course – 5th Grade
- Big Bend National Park and Prude Ranch – 6th Grade
- Camp Eagle – 7th Grade
- San Antonio Missions and our State Capitol – 7th Grade
- Mo Ranch, high elements of the Ropes Challenge Course – 8th Grade
- Washington, D.C., Jamestown and Williamsburg – 8th Grade
- Life Skills (5th & 6th Grades) – Teaching self-reliance, motivation, self-esteem and sexuality education.
- Ethics (7th & 8th Grades)
- Word Processing – Use of computers for outlining, note taking, and editing in process writing.
- Speech – Public Speaking, debate, listening skills.
- Religious Education – Daily Bible Reading, weekly Chapel service, and a class taught by the staff of the Church of the Good Shepherd.
- Middle School Music – Choral music, recorder, rhythm ensemble with Orff instruments.
- Study Skills – Organization, time management, and note taking.
- St. James Service – Program to receive recognition for service to the school and to the community.
- Student Council – Student government held through “town meetings” during Advisory period.
- Special Events – Game days, picnics, dances, and intramural activities. The Middle School extends the St. James tradition of caring, while placing emphasis on developing high moral standards, responsibility, a respect for self and others, an enthusiastic pursuit of excellence, and a reverence for God and life.