October 15th was a historic day at PJA. It was the first time we gathered as a school community on a chag (a festival holiday) in order to provide an authentic, meaningful, and immersive holiday experience for all of our students.
"I must say that I've never interviewed so many consistently bright, smart, engaged children in one place at one time. They were all exceptional. I've shot video for many years. To have so many intelligent answers with the brightness of their personality was truly a wonderful experience for me."
Dave Morgan, Lincoln County News (after having interviewed our 6th graders during Field School at the Hatfield Marine Science Center)
Grades 6 through 8
The middle school years are when critical thinking really takes root. In every discipline, including math, science, the humanities, and the arts, students learn by doing, asking, and thinking for themselves. They develop the critical analytical skills that most students don’t learn until college.
Our middle school students apply these critical thinking skills to discussions of ethics and values, developing solid, grounded views about morals, community, and culture. In addition, the Jewish Studies program supports and develops critical thinking skills and provides opportunities for in-depth discussion and analysis. Our rich and robust curriculum perfectly rounds out the middle school learning years and provides students with clear vision for future action.
All middle school students participate in our Taglit (discovery) program, a special week-long session between semesters. Taglit is focused, performance-based, and hands-on. Students delve deeply into these intensive seminar-style courses, learning quite a bit in a short amount of time. Upcoming plans for courses include oceanography, a full-stage drama production, and creative writing.
Our 8th grade students participate each year in a culminating Capstone Project. Combining assignments, activities and skills from humanities, Jewish studies and service learning, this Capstone experience, integrates academic writing skills and the research process with Jewish studies themes and a service learning project. Students have the opportunity to showcase their work during the Capstone Expo at the end of the year.
Specialists in music, art, physical education, dance, technology, library and an artist-in-residence program round out the PJA middle school experience.
Middle School Field Trips
Students take a variety of day field trips. Overnight field trips include a four-day trip to Outdoor School for 6th grade students, a three-day trip to Ashland for 7th grade students studying Shakespeare, and a culminating 8th grade trip to Israel.
Middle School Exploratories
PJA’s middle school exploratory program gives students an opportunity to explore a variety of different subject areas through a wide-range of trimester-long classes, each of which meet twice per week. Students choose from a list of exploratories that include visual arts, drama, music, video production, outdoor exploration, Makerspace, cooking, and yearbook.
Eighth grade students at PJA take their learning and values into the world with a Capstone Project. This service-learning experience allows students to truly live the concept of Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World). Each student explores a “big idea” by researching, exploring, and writing a thesis-driven essay. They tie their research to Jewish teaching by writing and delivering a drash to their peers, families, and larger PJA community. These students Think for Themselves and Work for the World through volunteering, fundraising, and event planning for their chosen Capstone topic. For more information about Capstone, click here.
If you would like additional information about the middle school at PJA, please contact our Admission Director, Sarah Kahn Glass or call 503.535.3599.