Our Programs

Middle School

Grades 6-8

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  • Welcome to the Middle School

    “Middle School is a time of transition.”

    Middle school is an exhilarating stage of development, a time when abilities and interests are being challenged and discovered. The Middle School continues the tradition and experience of GSLS by offering an integrated, developmentally appropriate curriculum. Our Middle School students are actively engaged in an experientially rich, hands-on program of study.

Our Curriculum

Our curriculum allows students to conduct dynamic experiments, analyze problems, propose solutions and learn to communicate while working collaboratively.

Our core curriculum of Language Arts, History, Mathematics, Spanish, Health and Science are supplemented by subject specialists in Art, Religion, Musical Theater, Band and Physical Education.  

We recognize early adolescence as a unique stage of development in which unprecedented physical, social, and emotional changes occur simultaneously with intellection, conceptual, spiritual and moral development. We have designed our program with consideration of the characteristics and needs of Middle School students, enabling each young person to successfully develop their intellectual and personal potential.  With the help of our school counselor, our program emphasizes Social Emotional Learning, and supporting our students to navigate the Middle School experience.

Our rigorous, developmentally appropriate curriculum, our graduates are prepared to be successful in the most competitive high schools, both private and public.
Middle School is a critical and wonderful time.  Students of this age present a terrific combination of attitudes and skills that can be the springboard for incredible outcomes.


List of 11 items.

  • Language Arts

    Middle School Language Arts is a time for students to expand their skills in reading and writing, and grow their understanding of communication across the academic disciplines. It is a place to explore literature, poetry, informative non-fiction writing, and storytelling. It is a space for communicating ideas, collaborating in discussions, and cultivating creative voices.

    At GSMS, students encounter and practice the many different styles and forms of academic reading and writing, with a specific focus on literacy strategies. Students are challenged to read closely and think deeply about the content they learn. It is a rigorous three year program, with classes reading and responding to progressively more complex texts as they advance through the grades, so that students become active and proficient participants in the important spoken and written conversations of not only academia, but also the world outside the school walls.
  • Mathematics

    Our Middle School math program culminates in Algebra 1 for all 8th grade students, and aims for Geometry readiness for 9th grade.  In addition to the core math classes, Advanced Math is available as an extra course, and our students have the opportunity to expand their math horizons by participating in the Marin Mathletes competitions.

    The 6th grade math topics include integers, expressions and equations, inequalities, rational numbers: decimals, rational numbers: fractions, ratios and proportions, percent and consumer applications, data analysis and statistics, measurement application, and probability. Students develop math habits and real-life application of concepts.

    The 7th grade math topics include problem solving with rational numbers, real numbers, expressions and equations, inequalities, linear functions, irrational numbers, ratios and proportions, percent applications, two-dimensional geometry, geometric measures, coordinate geometry, and three-dimensional geometry.
    The 8th grade Algebra 1 course topics include linear equations, linear inequalities, relations & functions, linear functions (including absolute-value), systems of linear equations (matrices), operations of polynomials, factoring polynomials, radical expressions & equations, quadratic functions & equations, ratios including an introduction to trigonometry, rational expressions, and exponential functions. This class will also have a strong technology aspect to the course which will include the use of TI-84 graphing calculators.
  • History

    Good Shepherd History classes follow the State Standards using the History Alive curriculum.  The humanities are the basis for all three grade levels. Learning the culture of the ancient civilizations, the contributions during the medieval period and the development of the United States. Students participate in individual and collaborative projects reflecting the content of the time period in a variety of methodologies. 

    Sixth grade students learn about ancient civilizations from the early humans to the rise of Rome. In seventh grade students embark on a journey around the world exploring the changes and contributions of societies in Europe, Saudi Arabia, and Japan to name a few locations. The eighth grade curriculum is the founding of our nation through the industrial period.

    Each class develops the skills to work with text in unique and interesting strategies. From creating skits, dioramas, posters, Google Slides, and practicing presenting information. Students also learn ways to research topics and write papers to further their knowledge and progress their skills as an academic student. Students continue to develop their abilities in reading and deciphering text along with learning strategies on how to take notes from lectures and different sources of materials. 
  • Science

    Always question, always wonder.  Our science curriculum encourages students to question, wonder, and discover.  Through hands-on learning, projects, field trips, and research students begin to understand the world around them, while also learning to ask questions and discover what they want to learn more about.  Aligning with the Next Generation Science Standards students investigate a variety of science disciplines, including physics, chemistry, biology, earth science, and environmental science.
  • Spanish

    Our Spanish program begins in 6th grade and further develops skills learned in the elementary program.  The goal for our program is Spanish 2 readiness in 9th grade.

    With an emphasis on conversation, grammar and culture, our students learn language as well as cultural competence. Our dedicated and experienced language educator creates an immersive and dynamic environment, encouraging students to explore the intricacies of language and develop a deep understanding of the associated culture.

    We prioritize fostering a passion for language that extends beyond the classroom, preparing our students to navigate a globalized world with confidence and cultural competence. Students not only learn a new language but also gain a broader perspective on the world. 
  • Religion

    Honoring our foundations as a Lutheran Christian, school we provide an education that is both relatable and uplifting to those inside and outside of our faith.
    Church History (6th Grade) - What is the grand story of the Christian people?  Starting with our Jewish heritage moving all the way to Vatican II, we survey all the historical events that made Christianity what it is today.  We find inspiration from the miraculous, learn from the tragic mistakes, and empathize with the people and places we examine.
    Comparative Religions (7th Grade) - Starting with a exploration of religious history we consider how our ancestors made sense of the world around them.  Next we briefly examine all the major world religions of past and present, their beliefs, rituals, and unique traits.  Finally, we spend our final few months considering how the 5 current major world religions, along with atheists, might live together in a more empathetic, supportive, and pluralistic community.
    Spiritual Practices (8th Grade) -As a final gift to our GSLS students, we explore how our body, mind, and soul affect each other.  We also experiment with nearly two dozen spiritual practices reflecting on how well they nourish our souls and those of others with things like love, joy, peace and more to our soul.  Finally, students are given assessments and personalized plans to encourage their spiritual growth after they leave GSLS.
  • Health

    In this course, taught by a physician, students learn all about the human body.  Over the course of Middle School, our Health program includes anatomy of the body, organ systems, their relationships to one another, and how each system and organ functions. This will allow discussion of common conditions and diseases within each organ system as well as how they may be treated.  Cross-curricular connections are made when the opportunity presents itself, particularly in Science.  Students will also have the opportunity to perform "clinicals," where the instructor will bring medical equipment for students to learn and practice technique and understand why clinical examination is such a powerful part of the diagnosis process. 
  • HAWK Project

    In this course, students will have the opportunity to explore their passions, in a purposeful, self-directed way, to create a project with greater meaning.  There is much room for self-discovery, as students are faced with issues of time management, motivation, roadblocks, finding mentors, budget, and much more depending on the project goal.  This course educates students by stretching their boundaries in ways most traditional classes may not.  Students learn about their strengths and areas for improvement. Most importantly, they gain confidence in setting and meeting goals and personal growth by the end of the year.
  • Physical Education

    Our Physical Education program focuses on skill development, confidence and teamwork.  Through many different sports and activities, students learn not only the rules an skills, but also the benefits of participation and sportsmanship.  

    Our Physical Education program is enhanced by our intramural sports program.  Our students have the opportunity to take part in golf, cross country, basketball, flag football, ultimate frisbee, and more!
  • Electives

    Our Middle School offers a robust Electives program that includes year long and semester length offerings.  Electives may change year to year based upon interest, but students have the opportunity to take Musical Theater, Jazz Ensemble & Concert Band, Art, STEM, Yearbook, Creative Design, Strategic Games and more. 
  • Service Learning

    Over the course of their Middle School career, students are expected to complete 45 hours of community service.  During their time at GSLS, students gain hands-on experience doing service projects to tackle community issues and make positive changes.  Student service, by teaching to give of one's self, encourages our students to reach out to our greater community, and beyond themselves. Students learn to integrate their own service experience into a complete concept of good citizenship.

    Our students have volunteered at various organizations to fulfill this commitment including the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank, Homeward Bound, Sparkle Foundation, and many others.  Students who exceed this requirement are recognized at 8th grade graduation.