Our goal for students at WNS is for them to have a broad range of experiences at school and in the world. Whether it’s stepping on the stage for the first time, trying a new sport, or traveling to another country, we want students to stretch, experiment, take healthy risks, and discover who they are.
Director of Grades 5-8
Middle school physical education electives emphasize fitness and lifelong recreational activities. The focus of the athletics-based electives is transferring foundational skills into a sports setting. Team sports and games include learning how to work together to create strategies and find multiple solutions to a problem.
In addition to the core curriculum, every middle school student participates in two to five electives in each of the three trimesters. The elective period is a time when middle school students can pursue an interest that is not necessarily a part of the regular curriculum with students in all grades of the middle school. Electives additionally provide teachers with an opportunity to share a skill or passion with their students. Some of the classes offered have included mock trial, robotics, service learning, early childhood mentoring, spring musical, architecture club, cooking, debate team, math team, creative writing, newspaper, yearbook, visual arts, and various athletics.
Four days a week begin with advisory, which includes time for students to be welcomed to school, a time to share, engage in a game or playful activity, and hear news or announcements. Students set goals and create a middle school-wide Social Contract of rules to help them create a school environment that helps them achieve their goals.
The art program is organized around imagination, innovation, invention, observation, communication and expression. Students learn that art is a means to communicate feelings and ideas, to articulate what they think and know, to reflect upon issues, and to come to a clearer understanding of themselves, their culture, and other people. Through art, our students seek to inform, inspire and move others emotionally or intellectually.
Sample electives include:
(Electives offerings are subject to change)
Students at WNS experience performing arts classes developing rehearsal and performance skills, but mainly providing the opportunity for students to develop empathy, self-confidence, public speaking, and communication and collaboration skills. While each grade level participates in its own Theatre Art production, all middle school students have the opportunity to apply for several performing arts electives.
Sample electives include:
WNS prides itself on continuing to update its technology program and provide significant resources to our students. Students in middle school meet with our Technology Specialist once a week in our Computer Science Center. Students are instructed in transferable skills they will use in the future such as design principles, research methods, computer logic paradigms, and digital communications skills rather than trained in using specific programs. Students also enjoy learning basics of coding and robotics, which they can then expand on in electives.
Each year in Middle School, students work towards an interdisciplinary culminating project which is showcased to families near the end of the school year. These projects are rooted in social entrepreneurship, giving students the opportunity to brainstorm solutions to real-life issues facing our community. In 6th grade, the capstone project, Legend of the Trash Creatures, incorporates science, DCM (Design-Code-Make), and creative writing. In 7th grade, SPLASH, or Solving Problems for Los Angeles Society and Health, gives students a chance to research and pitch creative solutions to societal issues. This then evolves into the 8th grade capstone project, SWIM, or Solutionary Work In Motion, which sees students take their ideas even further, partnering with local organizations, and bringing their ideas to life in documented way.
For a more detailed look at our middle school curriculum, check out the information below.
Overnight retreats are an important rite of passage for our middle school students, offering them opportunities to bond with peers, push their comfort zones, and have new experiences led by expert organizations and chaperoned by WNS faculty. While most retreats during middle school are within a few hours’ drive of Los Angeles, the 8th grade Washington D.C. trip is always an incredible experience for our graduating class, and a great way to celebrate their time at WNS. Retreat fees are included in WNS tuition, with the exception of the Global Studies Elective trip.
The WNS athletic program philosophy is to promote teamwork and cooperation, not only among team members but also with opposing schools and teams. Check out our dedicated Athletics page to learn more about our offerings at WNS.