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Montessori Upper School (grades 7-12, age 12-18)

The Upper School: (Grades 7 to 12)

NOTE: This page is currently being updated.


Because of the level of commitment required of participants in this program, students should play an active role in deciding whether to attend.

The NewGate School has offered grades 7 – 12 since its first graduating class in 2004. In those years, virtually all of our graduates have gone on to complete college or university, and many have continued on for graduate or professional studies. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS CASI) and is authorized by the International Baccalaureate Organization to offer the IB Diploma Program. The school’s course of studies is recognized by the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program. NewGate is also a candidate for yet another level of school accreditation from the International Montessori Council.

NewGate’s Upper School offers a Montessori Secondary program that consists of experiences both in the classroom and outside of the classroom that assist students in gaining greater self-awareness and engagement with a complex world. The Secondary Program is organized into three two-year cycles of work that parallel current traditional standards for academic course work and set the foundation for college level work. These three cycles are described in more detail below. The program also provides a wide range of experiential learning opportunities interwoven throughout the curriculum to respond to the developmental needs of adolescence including orientation trips, internships, drama immersions, film festival immersions and local, national and international research trips.

To learn more about the International Baccalaureate Organizing, go to www.ibo.org.

 

First Cycle – Grades 7-8

 

  “Only practical work and experience lead the young to maturity.”  —Maria Montessori

During early adolescence, between the ages of roughly 12-14, students are intensely aware of themselves. The world of an early adolescent revolves around identity, self-expression, and peer social relations. They are making the gradual move from a concrete to a more abstract understanding of the world and have an intense need to belong. Early adolescents seek meaningful, challenging work and have an intense need to belong. To respond to these developmental characteristics and needs, the First Cycle of the Secondary Program fosters a safe and participatory community where students are encouraged to try on the roles of historian, artist, cook, author, researcher, scientist, athlete, naturalist, mathematician, and global citizen throughout the curriculum. Students take integrated, multi-age classes each year in science, math, history, English, Spanish, art, physical education, and practical life that parallel current traditional standards for academic course work and set the foundation for Second Cycle, high school level work. The multi-age classes support cooperative peer learning and positive role modeling.  Classes are small, with a high level of student-teacher interaction and student choice.  Course work across the curriculum includes research, projects, presentations, discussions, writing, and reading using a wide variety of experiential activities. Students are expected to demonstrate thoughtful work across the curriculum.  The first year of the cycle for 7th grade students serves as a bridge to the challenges, both academic and social, of the entire Secondary Program experience.  By the end of the 8th grade, students should have achieved a solid academic foundation for high school work, in addition to a healthy sense of self, leadership and community responsibility.

Language Arts

Students develop confidence in self-expression while developing their own personal voice in the three-year cycle of courses in language arts.  Training in the skills of critical reading, seminar discussion and the writing process allows students to use literature and writing as tools for exploring their own emerging beliefs and values and to become authors and lifelong readers.  Students read three to five novels each year, some of which correspond to the themes they are studying in history or science.  Students also learn to write in multiple genres including business letters, responses to literature, essays, newspaper articles and poetry.  In the context of their reading and writing projects, students continue to work on grammar, spelling and punctuation.

  • Language Arts A
  • Language Arts B

Mathematics

The sequence of courses in mathematics emphasizes the development of logical-mathematical capacities and the ability to apply problem solving techniques to practical life scenarios.  Students learn to use scientific and graphing calculators during their transition from arithmetic to algebra to geometry and work with the University of Chicago textbook series. Opportunities exist for students showing initiative and follow through abilities to progress at an accelerated pace.  Concepts covered in pre-algebra include using variables, probability, coordinate graphing, and problem solving strategies.  Algebra coursework involves solving for variables, graphing equations with an automatic grapher, slope of a line, properties of exponents and powers, quadratic equations, and solving systems of equations.  Geometry coursework focuses on mastering the logic and language of geometry, including properties of polygons and geometric solids, reflections and rotations, development of proofs, triangle congruence and similarity, and an introduction to trigonometry.

  • Pre-Algebra
  • or Algebra 1 (Most students enter the secondary program ready to study Algebra)
  • Geometry (advanced students )


Science

Science courses nurture adolescents’ questioning of and curiosity about the world around them. Students are introduced to not only the body of science knowledge and vocabulary in their courses, but also the practice of science as a way of knowing.  Science courses aim to help students understand and appreciate the practice of science by encouraging critical thinking and use of the scientific method. Student-scientists learn how to make careful observations, to collect and analyze data, to train and practice on science equipment, and to participate in student-designed science experiments.  Students also explore the historical and human context of scientific discovery.  All courses include regular laboratory experiences, field experiences and problem solving using the scientific method.  Students also participate each year in the Science Fair.

  • Life Sciences / Introduction to Biology
  • Physical Science / Earth Science


Social Studies

History courses function as a lens through which the students can see themselves and humanity by examining the past.   Moving from their personal and family history into an exploration of ancient history and American history throughout the two-year cycle, students develop an understanding and appreciation for common human stories, patterns, and values that will aid them in the development of their own human potential.  Students learn to do historical research, take notes, write and present within their history courses.

  • American History/Geography
  • Ancient History/Geography


Spanish

Courses emphasize that language and communication are at the heart of the human experience. Classes are taught primarily in Spanish and students are expected to use Spanish regularly in the classroom. Classes focus on sentence formation and vocabulary development, with students achieving the ability to speak, write, read, and listen effectively using present and past tenses of regular, irregular and stem-changing verbs and commands.

  • Spanish  A
  • Spanish  B


Practical Life Skills & Wellness Education

Students rotate through a series of workshops involving wellness, gardening, debate, book circle, service learning, and preparation for week long immersions.  Students are involved in various service activities ranging from community in-reach with primary and elementary students in their classrooms to maintenance and beautification of the campus gardens and physical environment. During these workshop experiences, we guide students to focus and reflect on their academic, social, emotional, physical and psychological growth, so they can develop balanced and healthy lives and pursue their education in an atmosphere of tolerance and peacefulness.

  • Practical Life Skills A
  • Practical Life Skills B


Art

The two-year cycle of courses in art promotes the artistic, creative development of the students and further enhances their analytical and critical thinking skills.  Students have the opportunity to develop their personal vision and aesthetic in weekly art classes in an atmosphere of self-exploration and expression. Classes offer the opportunity to work on two and three-dimensional projects, to apply the principles and elements of art, and to develop an understanding and appreciation of art in a historical context.  Some art projects integrate with the themes of another core subject.

  • Art A
  • Art B


Physical Education

Early adolescents need quality movement opportunities throughout their week and day. Physical education courses help students to develop a lifetime habit of personal fitness and health.  The courses also allow students to participate in a wide variety of individual and team athletic activities.   The aim is to foster fitness, participation, confidence and enjoyment.

  • Physical Education A
  • Physical Education B

The course of studies encompasses not only Montessori standards, but those of the State of Florida as well. Students will receive high school equivalent credit for Algebra I taken in the second year of the cycle.

 

Second Cycle – Grades 9-10

Language Arts

Students develop confidence in self-expression while developing their own personal voice in the two-year cycle of courses in language arts.  Training in the skills of critical reading, seminar discussion and the writing process allows students to use literature and writing as tools for exploring their own emerging beliefs and values and to become authors and lifelong readers.  Students read three to five novels each year, some of which correspond to the themes they are studying in history or science.  Students also learn to write in multiple genres including business letters, responses to literature, essays, newspaper articles and poetry.  In the context of their reading and writing projects, students continue to work on grammar, spelling and punctuation.

  • 1 credit Language Arts C (for high school credit as English I)
  • 1 credit Language Arts D (for high school credit as English II)


Mathematics

Courses in mathematics are designed to build on the mathematical capacities and problem solving techniques developed in the first Cycle. The sequence of courses in mathematics emphasizes the development of logical-mathematical capacities and the ability to apply problem solving techniques to practical life scenarios. Students learn to use scientific and graphing calculators during their transition from arithmetic to algebra to geometry and work. Opportunities exist for students showing initiative and follow through abilities to progress at an accelerated pace. Algebra coursework involves solving for variables, graphing equations with an automatic grapher, slope of a line, properties of exponents and powers, quadratic equations, and solving systems of equations.  Geometry coursework focuses on mastering the logic and language of geometry, including properties of polygons and geometric solids, reflections and rotations, development of proofs, triangle congruence and similarity, and an introduction to trigonometry. Students continue to master graphing calculator skills and other computer applications as they solve problems that grow in complexity over the course of this cycle. Opportunities exist for students showing initiative and follow through abilities to progress at an accelerated pace or to design independent studies.  Concepts range from geometry, discrete mathematics, and statistics with algebra and builds to regression analyses, sequences and combinations, binomial and normal distributions, and complex numbers.

  • 1 credit Algebra (for high school credit) – Many students will have completed Algebra I before this level
  • or 1 credit Geometry (for high school credit)
  • 1 credit Algebra II (for high school credit) – Many students


Science

Science courses nurture adolescents’ questioning of and curiosity about the world around them. Students are introduced to not only the body of science knowledge and vocabulary in their courses, but also the practice of science as a way of knowing.  Science courses aim to help students understand and appreciate the practice of science by encouraging critical thinking and use of the scientific method. Student-scientists learn how to make careful observations, to collect and analyze data, to train and practice on science equipment, and to participate in student-designed science experiments.  Students also explore the historical and human context of scientific discovery.  All courses include regular laboratory experiences, field experiences and problem solving using the scientific method.  Students also participate each year in the Science Fair.

  • 1 credit Chemistry
  • 1 credit Conceptual Physics


Social Studies

History courses function as a lens through which the students can see themselves and humanity by examining the past.   Moving from their personal and family history into an exploration of ancient history, American history and world history throughout the three year cycle, students develop an understanding and appreciation for common human stories, patterns, and values that will aid them in the development of their own human potential.  Students learn to do historical research, take notes, write and present within their history courses.

  • American History/Geography
  • World History/Geography


Spanish

Courses emphasize that language and communication are at the heart of the human experience. Classes are taught primarily in Spanish and students are expected to use Spanish regularly in the classroom. Classes focus on sentence formation and vocabulary development, with students achieving the ability to speak, write, read, and listen effectively using present and past tenses of regular, irregular and stem-changing verbs and commands.

  • 1 credit Spanish  C (for high school credit as Spanish I)
  • 1 credit Spanish  D (for high school credit as Spanish II)


Practical Life Skills & Wellness Education

Students rotate through a series of workshops involving wellness, gardening, debate, book circle, service learning, and preparation for week long immersions.  Students are involved in various service activities ranging from community in-reach with primary and elementary students in their classrooms to maintenance and beautification of the campus gardens and physical environment. During these workshop experiences we guide students to focus and reflect on their academic, social, emotional, physical and psychological growth, so they can develop balanced and healthy lives and pursue their education in an atmosphere of tolerance and peacefulness.

  • 1/2 credit Practical Life Skills C
  • 1/2 credit Practical Life Skills D


Art

The cycle of courses in art promotes the artistic, creative development of the students and further enhances their analytical and critical thinking skills.  Students have the opportunity to develop their personal vision and aesthetic in weekly art classes in an atmosphere of self-exploration and expression. Classes offer the opportunity to work on two and three-dimensional projects, to apply the principles and elements of art, and to develop an understanding and appreciation of art in a historical context.  Some art projects integrate with the themes of another core subject.

  • ½ credit Visual Art I
  • ½ credit Visual Art II


Physical Education

Early adolescents need quality movement opportunities throughout their week and day. Physical education courses help students to develop a lifetime habit of personal fitness and health.  The courses also allow students to participate in a wide variety of individual and team athletic activities.   The aim is to foster fitness, participation, confidence and enjoyment.

  • ½ credit Physical Education C
  • ½ credit Physical Education D

The course of studies encompasses not only Montessori standards, but those of the State of Florida as well.

 

Third Cycle – Grades 11-12

 

During the third cycle cycle of the Secondary Program, students in grade 11 and 12 will take a course of study designed to the guidelines of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program. Following Montessori principles, they will continue to work in multi-age learning environments.

By the last two years of high school, students are more capable of abstract thought and more comfortable and capable of exercising their independence. They are interested in a wider social context outside of their immediate peers, and they have a desire to more fully understand adult behavior. The coursework in this cycle of the program spirals up to and responds to the student who is now ready to refine and apply his/her skills and knowledge with deeper understanding. Students take challenging seminar, labs, and project-based courses lasting for two years in science, math, history, English, Spanish, art, physical education, and service learning that foster the academic and intellectual capacities of adolescents and set the foundation for college level work. These courses require in-depth participation, close attention to detail, independent work, writing, solid research, discussion, and analysis. While some students may not elect to sit for the IB Diploma examinations, they will participate fully in the IB course of study. At the end of the program, students have a depth of understanding about themselves and the world, sophisticated reasoning abilities and experience with a wide range of tools, modes of expression, and courses that prepare them for college, life and thoughtful citizenship.

Courses foster the expanding abstract capabilities of older adolescents and allow students to significantly shape their academic experience. Class meetings provide support and structure for work on independent and group projects and require in-depth participation, close attention to detail, writing, solid research, discussion, and analysis, clearly setting a foundation for college level work. Upon completion of the Second Cycle students have a depth of understanding about themselves and the world, sophisticated reasoning abilities, and experience with a wide range of tools, modes of expression, and courses that prepare them for college and a thoughtful, creative life.


Course of Studies

  • 2 credits English III and IV (IB Language A – Performance Literature SL)
  • 2 credits in Mathematics (IB Mathematics SL / or Algebra II, Pre-Calculus and/or Calculus)
  •  2 credits in Advanced Biology (IB Biology HL)
  • 2 credits in Geography and World Studies (IB Geography HL)
  • 2 credits Spanish III, IV (IB Language B HL)
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