Expanding the Classroom Experience

Middle School students have a busy schedule. In addition to all the academic classes -- math, language arts, social studies, science, foreign language, technology, visual and performing arts and physical education we enrich their lives through a range of co-curricular experiences. These experiences, which are open to all students, provide for additional informal learning opportunities. Through these programs, students can pursue existing interests or discover new ones.

Examples include:
  • Field Trips and Overnight Trips – Middle School students take frequent class trips to local museums, sites of interest and special events. In addition, each class takes an overnight trip. In the first weeks of school, fifth and sixth graders visit an outdoor education center. The trip creates a sense of welcome and group cohesion for our younger students. Seventh graders travel to Williamsburg, Va., where their Colonial America and Revolutionary War curriculum comes alive. Each spring, the Eighth Grade journeys to Gettysburg, Pa. and Washington, D.C., a culmination of two years of study of American history. Over the spring break, eighth graders have the opportunity to travel to Spain or France with the members of their foreign language class and their teacher. These trips provide students with authentic opportunities to communicate in Spanish or French, and are rich in opportunities for cultural exchange.
  • Jazz Band – Interested fifth and sixth grades participate during the Friday activity period. Seventh and eighth graders meet during the Instrumental Music class that is part of the Performing Arts Elective program. Students who have not had prior instrumental experience can participate and learn to play a brass or woodwind instrument. Students can also learn to play a brass or woodwind instrument through our morning instrumental music classes.
  • The Little Red Singers is the fifth-eighth grade chorus. The chorus meets once per week during the school day. Students in the seventh and eighth grade vocal music class join the chorus for our annual Spring and Winter Concerts.
  • The Literary Magazine and Newspaper provide additional opportunities for students to engage in authentic writing activities and to work on tasks related to the publication of these documents.
  • Model Congress students meet on a weekly basis to prepare for the Model Congress event in the spring, which involves over 250 middle school students from 20 area schools. The event is a culmination of two quarter’s worth of work during which students research issues and then develop their own bills based on an issue of interest. All participants present and debate their bills in Committee at the event.
  • Play and Musical – There are two major dramatic productions in the Middle School: the play and the musical. The play takes place in the fall. The musical takes place in the spring. Any student who auditions for the play/musical is cast in a role. Acting roles in both productions are open to sixth-eighth graders. Fifth graders can help on the production crew.
  • The Robotics Team meets after school to prepare for the FIRST Lego League Competition. The competition requires teams to apply principles of computer programming and engineering using Lego bricks and other Lego elements such as sensors, motors and gears to accomplish a series of challenges.
  • Our Rube Goldberg Team engages in similar activity to create a complex machine capable of completing a simple task. This work is then shared at a competition with other participating schools.
  • Sports – Middle school students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of athletic activities. Fifth and sixth graders play soccer, basketball, and softball in our intramural league. Seventh and eighth graders play soccer, volleyball, cross-country basketball, track and softball in league teams that travel and compete against other schools. Seventh and eighth graders also have the opportunity to join the high school tennis, baseball and golf teams in the spring.
  • The Yearbook Committee works in collaboration with the high school committee to create the school’s yearbook. Members gather weekly in the fall and winter, so they can capture and document the important, memorable moments of the school year.
  • The Student Association is our student government. Each homeroom in grades five through seven elects one representative to this body. Two representatives are elected from each eighth grade homeroom. Student Association members meet weekly and every other week with the deans and principal to communicate students' views on community issues and to plan events. The eighth grade student reps act as hosts for all Middle School meetings and assemblies.
  • The Students of Color Group meets on a regular basis. Members get together, talk, compare feelings and experiences, and discuss their contribution to the total student body. This group provides a support system for students of color in the Middle School and, in doing so, enriches the experiences of all of our students.
  • Dances – Twice a year (February and June) the Middle School holds a dance for the fifth-eighth grades. Refreshments are provided, and LREI High School students act as deejays. The Student Association works closely with the Dean of Students to organize these events. The sixth, seventh, and eighth grades each have a dance that is given in collaboration with the other downtown schools.
  • Discovery Afternoon – Discovery Afternoon, which occurs on a Friday in May, provides an opportunity for experiential learning guided by student leaders and teachers through activities that extended beyond the daily academic routine. Offered activities give group leaders an opportunity to share a hobby, passion, or favorite city location with a small group of interested learners. Activities are designed to help participants grow intellectually and emotionally as they pursue new interests or explore passions shared with their classmates and teachers.
  • Meetings and assemblies bring together the entire Middle School student body each week to hear announcements and discuss issues of importance to students and faculty. Longer assemblies may feature student presentations or visitors from outside the LREI community. Eighth grade student government representatives host these meetings.

  • Spirit Week and the Olympics – Spirit week is a culminating celebration of the completion of a division-wide community service initiative. It is time for the middle school community to celebrate and have some fun. Spirit Week is notable for Crazy Hat Day, Twin Day, Costume Day and Pajama Day. Spirit Week is followed by the Middle School Olympics in which teams of fifth-eighth graders participate in a variety of challenges.
The skills of managing so many academic demands balancing daily responsibilities, long term projects and special events are carefully developed throughout the Middle School years and are an essential part of our program.
Little Red School House
and Elisabeth Irwin High School

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