Fifth through Eighth Grade

Purpose, Repairing the World, Pioneer //

אחדות, תיקון עולם, לך לך

As students enter upper school, their journey becomes more focused, more rigorous and more empowering. Upper school students require a high level of independence, nurturing and support. They feel a sense of urgency to be given more voice and choice, as well as authentic opportunities to make a difference in the school and in the community. These critical needs are met through the outstanding teachers, curriculum and philosophy of the MJDS upper school years.

Students are searching for a balance between autonomy and structure, but they cannot yet define what they mean by this balanced approach. Small classes and highly trained academic specialists in language arts, social studies, math, science, Hebrew and Jewish Studies give MJDS students more opportunities to lead and to inspire others. Upper school students live the Jewish values of purpose, repairing the world and pioneering and put those themes into action throughout their years in middle school. Hebrew, Jewish studies and prayer are approached with the guiding questions of “Why and What if?” The relationship between Jewish Studies, Science and Social Studies allows student to see the interconnectedness of Jewish values and ethical issues in those areas of study.

Choice is provided through the ETC (Exploring the Core) program and Omanut (Music and Arts program) enrichment classes. These exploratory courses run four days a week, and children get to expand their interests through a myriad of choices. At any one time, you will see students engaged in such pursuits as guitar, a musical play, abnormal psychology, building a Rube Goldberg machine, robotics, abstract painting, calligraphy or Hebrew radio broadcasting.

At MJDS, we give students and parents a deeper understanding that for us, FAIL is a “first attempt in learning.” It is key to our value of creating an ethic of excellence that MJDS graduates take with them into the world.

The end of eighth grade provides students multiple opportunities to demonstrate the success of their learning journey as they transition to various high schools. Area high schools routinely report that MJDS students are well-prepared for the transition, are confident in their ability to learn and participate in classes and sharing their leadership abilities beginning in freshman year.

The entire MJDS experience culminates with our annual Israel Trip, during which students spend 12 days touring the land and experiencing its culture.