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Curriculum Guide

Let's face it: not everyone is as good at calculus as they are at 20th-century literature. At Woodward your child will be able to mix and match the level of challenge for their courses to help them flourish in areas where they have strong aptitude and to get support in areas where they need more reinforcement. 

We take the time to get to know your child so they can grow to their fullest potential. If your child is particularly strong in sciences, we want to make sure they are placed at a more intensive level with our honors preparatory or advanced placement tracks. But perhaps they need extra reinforcement in English? We can support them there, too, with our college preparatory or enriched preparatory tracks where they can continue to build their self-confidence in the subject. It’s a balancing act to get it right, but at Woodward, we’ll meet your child where they are and give them the tools they need to succeed in school and in life.

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7 Dance (7t​h​ Grade / Yearlong Course)

This dance class is designed to train students in the beginner levels of Modern, Ballet, Jazz, Improv and Choreography techniques. Throughout these genres, students will explore dance elements, history and culture, choreography, performance, and learn how to express themselves through dance. This class will help students enhance their critical thinking skills and confidence, develop discipline and coordination, improve strength and flexibility, as well as promote a healthy lifestyle while having fun in the process. This class performs in the annual Spring Dance Concert.

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8 Advanced Dance - (8t​h​ Grade / Yearlong Course)​

(Prerequisite: Director Recommendation)
This dance class is designed to train students in the intermediate/advanced levels of Modern, Ballet, Jazz, Improv, Dance Film and Choreography techniques. Throughout these genres students will explore dance elements, history and culture, choreography, performance, and learn how to express themselves through dance. This class will help students enhance their critical thinking skills and confidence, develop discipline and coordination, improve strength and flexibility, as well as incorporate technology such as video application into the classroom to create a dance films.​ This class performs in annual Spring Dance Concert.

Read More about 8 Advanced Dance - (8t​h​ Grade / Yearlong Course)​
8 Dance (8t​h​ Grade / Yearlong Course)

This dance class is designed to train students in the beginner/intermediate levels of Modern, Ballet, Jazz, Improv, Dance Film and Choreography techniques. Throughout these genres students will explore dance elements, history and culture, choreography, performance, and learn how to express themselves through dance. This class will help students enhance their critical thinking skills and confidence, develop discipline and coordination, improve strength and flexibility, as well as incorporate technology such as video application into the classroom to create a dance films.​ This class performs in annual Spring Dance Concert.

Read More about 8 Dance (8t​h​ Grade / Yearlong Course)
Advanced Art (8th Grade / Yearlong Course)

Advanced Art is a year-long course designed as a continuation of the Foundations Art course from 7th grade for our strong-minded growing visual artists. This course encompasses an in-depth experience in a vast array of the visual arts. Among these are drawing, painting, photography, ceramics, 3D printing, digital media, and sculpture. Students will push their ideas and explorations further as developing artists and individuals. As students build a body of work and explore different media they will do a deeper dive into their work and engage in aesthetics through class critiques, group discussions, and reflections. Entry into the Advanced Art course is limited to serious art students who commit to a full-year course and may be recommended by Visual Arts Department or former art instructors. (Small digital camera required.)

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Advanced Orchestra (7t​h​ and 8t​h​ Grade / Yearlong Course)

Prerequisite: ​Audition/Director Recommendation
This ensemble is a year-long class for those 7t​h​ and 8t​h​ grade string students who play at a very advanced level (violin, viola, cello or string bass). Audition is required. Students will learn advanced bowings, positions and advanced literature.

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Advanced Robotics & Engineering (8t​h​ Grade / Yearlong Course)

This course is tailored to students who have a strong interest in robotics design, construction, programming and driving. ​The Intro to VEX Robotics course is designed to help our students explore the fundamentals of robotics and the engineering design process while learning to use industry-leading CAD software, and VEX Classroom & Competition Robotics Kits. Throughout this class students will walk through designing and building a robot for a competitive sport like game, while also learning key STEM principles, and robotics concepts.

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Algebra (8t​h​ Grade)

The scope of this course allows students to extend their pre-algebra skills to develop fluency in writing, solving and graphing linear equations and inequalities, systems of linear equations and inequalities, exponential functions, polynomials and factoring, quadratic equations, radical expressions and equations, proportional reasoning, and probability. ​

Students are mostly 8t​h​ graders. A few 7t​h​ graders individually selected by 6t​ h​ grade WA math teachers and new students who have successfully completed a year of pre-algebra are included.

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American History (8t​h​ Grade)

This course covers events that range from the arrival of Native Americans in prehistoric times to the Reconstruction period following the Civil War. This course is designed around thematic units intended to introduce students to the early development of the United States, as well as trends in political, social, and economic growth. The course is set up within a framework of skill development including values, attitudes and ethics. It provides reinforcement and extension of the general communication skills at the core of the seventh grade program.

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Beginning Band (7t​h​ and 8t​h​ Grade / Yearlong Course)

Prerequisite: ​None
This ensemble is a year-long class offered to any student who has an interest in learning to play a band instrument. To maintain membership in this band, students are required to play their instrument within the performance expectations set for the class and attend all performances and rehearsals.

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Cadet Band (7t​h​ and 8t​h​ Grade / Yearlong Course)​

Prerequisite: ​Audition/Director Recommendation
This ensemble is a year-long class offered to 7t​h​ and 8t​h​ grade students who have demonstrated a moderate level of musical competency on their instrument. To maintain membership in this band, students are required to play their instrument within the performance expectations set for the class and attend all performances and rehearsals.
 

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Ceramics (8th Grade / Semester Course)

Ceramics provides a format for working with clay through hand-building techniques. Students learn and experience the use of various commercial glazes, glazing methods, and firing techniques. Interested students may have opportunities to work and explore wheel throwing techniques on the pottery wheels. The course stresses an understanding of ceramics vocabulary, styles, building techniques, and best practices working with clay in a studio setting. Getting messy while taking care of our space each day is required, but very rewarding, too. 

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Concert Orchestra (7t​h​ and 8t​h​ Grade / Yearlong Course)

​Prerequisite: ​Director Recommendation
                     
This ensemble is a year-long class for 7t​h​ and 8t​h​ grade students who have had experience playing a stringed instrument (violin, viola, cello or string bass). At least one year of playing experience is required. These students are developing basic individual and orchestra skills.

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Design Studio (8th Grade / Semester Course)

Design Studio is a semester course for 8th-grade students who want to express ideas visually using a variety of platforms and media. Working through creative challenges from sketch to finished piece, students will explore new materials and interesting ways to assemble them to create three-dimensional works of art. Media may include drawing and sketching, fiber arts, jewelry cloth, foam, wire, digital media, and other sculptural materials. This is a semester course designed for students who like to get creative and problem solve in unconventional and unique ways. 

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Drawing / Painting (8th Grade / Semester Course)

Drawing and Painting is a semester course designed to further develop students’ skills in two-dimensional expression and the fundamentals of creating art through observation and experimentation. Media will include graphite, charcoal, pastels, watercolor, and acrylic painting. Creating the illusion of depth with techniques in perspective, vanishing points, contour lines, and value will be key focal points. We will also explore color theory, abstraction, gesture drawing, and figurative work.

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Eagle Band (7th and 8th Grade / Yearlong Course)

​Prerequisite: ​Audition/Director Recommendation This ensemble is a year-long class offered to 7th and 8th grade students who have demonstrated a fundamental level of musical competency on their instrument. To maintain membership in this band, students are required to play their instrument within the performance expectations set for the class and attend all performances and rehearsals.

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Film and Video Production (8th Grade / Semester Course)

In this year-long eighth grade course, students will develop a bi-weekly, LIVE broadcast, as well as produce short film segments. Students will learn how to write, shoot, and edit videos. Class members will also learn how to edit their films on iMovie and begin to use Final Cut Pro. This course serves as an intro to Film and Video Production courses in the Upper School.

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Foundations Art (7th Grade / Yearlong Course)

Foundations Art is a year-long course designed for more serious visual art students. Students will experiment with a variety of visual media in order to better understand their properties and develop skills with the intent to express individual ideas, thoughts, and feelings. These include drawing, printmaking, digital photography and manipulation, graphic design, ceramics, sculpture, and 3D design. Students progressively learn to identify and apply the “elements and principles of design” through their work and studying the works of others. Likewise, students will begin to build a digital portfolio of their work through aesthetic valuing, contrasting, comparing, and positive thoughtful evaluations. Entry into the Foundations Art course is limited to serious art students who commit to a full-year course and may be recommended by their former visual art instructors. (Small digital camera required.)

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General Fitness (7th Grade, Boys and Girls)

This course will provide students with the fundamental skills and knowledge to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle. Students will participate in a balanced curriculum of individual and team sports and fitness development. This course will incorporate basic cardiovascular training, strength training, fitness testing, and agility activities. Students will also participate in field sports, net/target sports, invasion sports, aquatics, and gymnastics/tumbling (girls only). ​Performance levels and work ethic in this course will determine teacher recommendation for taking Physical Conditioning for Sports in the 8th grade.

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Geometry (8t​h​ Grade)

The content of this course includes the study of postulates and theorems related to points, lines, planes, angles, circles, polygons, and triangles, logic, transformations, perimeter/area/volume, coordinate geometry, and elementary trigonometry. A significant emphasis is placed on geometric constructions and proofs. ​

Students are those who have successfully completed a full year of algebra

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Government and Economics (8t​h​ Grade)

The goal of the American Government and Economics program is to help each student become an independent thinker and responsible citizen. The first half of the course examines the American political system in such areas as the philosophy of government, the decision-making process, and the role of the individual citizen in the political process. The second half of the course focuses on developing a basic understanding of the forces at work in the economic marketplace. Issues such as supply and demand, the flow of money, and government involvement are studied. With a basic understanding of economic issues and the American political environment, students will be able to become effective decision-makers within a democratic society.

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Honor Band (7t​h​ and 8t​h​ Grade / Yearlong Course)

​Prerequisite: ​ Audition/Director Recommendation This ensemble is a year-long class offered to 7th and 8th Grade students who have demonstrated a high level of musical competency on their instrument. To maintain membership in the band, students are required to play their instrument within the performance expectations set for the class and attend all performances and rehearsals.

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Introductory Art (7th Grade / Semester Course)

Art Introduction is designed to address digital photography, ceramics, and drawing. Presentation of each of these medias is from a beginning level and a prelude to more advanced studies. In addition, classes illuminate the “elements and principles of design” for the students. ​Required: Digital Camera

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Life Science (7th Grade)

In seventh grade science, students will develop a broad understanding of living organisms. The course begins with a Scientific Processes unit to develop fundamental inquiry-based skills, including hypothesizing, making qualitative and quantitative observations, inferences, data analysis, and creating conclusions. STEAM will be integrated through problem solving and critical thinking skills used to solve real world problems. Students will manipulate both compound light microscopes and stereoscopes during their in-depth studies of different types of cells, organelles, tissues and organs. The life science progression begins with microbiology and classification of species and will extend through comparative anatomy of species in the major phyla of the Animal Kingdom. The main focus of the second semester is a deep dive into human anatomy and physiology, investigating all 11 body organ systems. With each body system, aspects of healthy habits will be addressed. The course will conclude with the reproductive system and sexuality as an age-appropriate curriculum collaboratively and intentionally designed with the counseling department.

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Literature (7t​h​ Grade)

Seventh grade literature is a year-long reading workshop course designed to increase the student’s capabilities to translate, integrate, analyze, synthesize, extrapolate, apply, and evaluate encoded information. The reading workshop approach stresses a variety of literacy skills and concepts, such as the development of vocabulary decoding skills, literary analysis, comprehension, and reading fluency. Through teacher-led mini-lessons, students learn specific strategies to improve their understanding of literary terminology and then they practice these strategies in book clubs to increase their overall comprehension. This course enables students to read and self-select books from a diverse collection of literature from various genres, recognize the fundamental elements of a story, study character and theme development, identify author’s style, and connect literature to their own lives. The literature course also allows students to expand their ability to read expository selections that focus on the following: identifying main ideas and supporting details, recognizing authors’ purposes, forming educated inferences, summarizing and paraphrasing select passages, and varying reading speed.

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Literature (8t​h​ Grade)

The eighth grade literature class is a year-long program designed to further develop the students’ literacy skills. The program will continue to develop students’ working vocabulary knowledge through context and a multi-modal program. During the course of the year, students will benefit from whole class lessons over selected novels, short stories, and skill books that are used to review and strengthen reading skills acquired in the seventh grade. Students will also have the opportunity to select novels of their choice in the independent reading course during the second semester. This independent reading course challenges students to read a variety of genres, creates the opportunity for student-led assessments, and encourages an enjoyment of leisure reading beyond the academic requirements of the classroom.

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Literature (8t​h​ Grade) - Honors Prep

Eighth grade honors literature is an elective, year-long course for selected students and designed to develop their maximum reading potential. Teacher recommendation, superior grades, standardized test scores, and the ability to complete assignments with minimum supervision, indicate students with the necessary background of academic skills for the accelerated pace of the curriculum. The objectives of the course are the same as the eighth grade reading class; however, the skill level of the student permits a greater variety of materials as well as a much faster pace for instruction. An essential component of the program is an emphasis on the development of the students’ written responses as they analyze various literary selections.

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Medieval History (7t​h​ Grade)

This course covers the time period known as the Middle Ages between the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th Century and the beginning of the Renaissance in approximately the 15th Century. This class will broadly explore events and developments over centuries of political, social, and economic history. This class will take a world view, and examine what occurred in different regions during this time period including the rise of specific empires, the growth of economies, lives of individuals, and other factors throughout the Middle Ages. This class will also examine the impact these cultures had on one another, and the impact they have had on modern life. The content is presented within the framework of reinforcing basic communication skills in reading, writing, speaking, and acquiring information. The honors level course includes the objective to develop the ability to express in both oral and written fashion more detailed knowledge of issues and events and the significant relationships between them

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Men’s Choir (7t​h​ and 8t​h​ Grade / Yearlong Course)

​Prerequisite:​ Audition/Director Recommendation This choir is a year-long course. Sight-reading and musicianship training are important elements of daily rehearsals. The choir performs a Winter and Spring Concert. In addition, the Choir will be adjudicated at GMEA district Large Group Performance Evaluation. Alternating years, the choir travels to participate in a national music festival. Students are expected to attend all rehearsals and performances.

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Middle School Dance Ensemble Jr.

(​Prerequisite: Director Recommendation)
The Dance Ensemble offers male and female students the opportunity to enhance their dance skills and take their passion for dance a step further and thoroughly explore their love, excitement, and creativity of dance. This ensemble will have extra performance opportunities outside of school throughout the year, make a difference in the community, and work with renowned choreographers. This group meets once a week on Thursday afternoons for two hours and participates in the annual Spring Concert. Members must be enrolled into one of the three dance classes to be eligible for the Ensemble and must be recommended by the director.
 

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Physical Conditioning for Life (8t​h​ Grade, Boys and Girls)

This course is designed to develop the skills necessary for a healthy, active lifestyle and a basic knowledge of rules for many individual and team sports. Students will participate in aerobic and anaerobic fitness activities, including field sports, net/target sports, invasion sports, fitness testing and development, aquatics, CPR training and gymnastics/tumbling (girls only).

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Physical Conditioning for Sports (8t​h​ Grade, Boys and Girls)​

(Prerequisite: Teacher Recommendation) This course is designed to help student athletes develop strength, power, and speed for team and individual sports while focusing on preventing injuries and building stamina. Students will participate in weight-training and running to develop athleticism. This course gives Middle School students an alternative to the traditional team sports P.E. class. ​ Teacher recommendation is a requirement for taking this course.

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Pre-Algebra (7t​h​ Grade)

This course integrates applied arithmetic, pre-algebra, and pre-geometry by building upon the essential skills of arithmetic to develop and apply algebraic and problem solving strategies to real world situations. Algebra is introduced by examining real numbers, factoring, proportional relationships, linear equations and inequalities, unit conversions, graphing on the number line and coordinate plane as well as geometric relationships and measurement. ​

Students are mostly 7t​h​ graders, with the exception of new 8t​h​ graders who have not completed a full year of pre-algebra.

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Robotics (7t​h​ Grade / Yearlong Course)

The Intro to VEX Robotics course is designed to help our students explore the fundamentals of robotics and the engineering design process while learning to use industry-leading CAD software, and VEX Classroom & Competition Robotics Kits. Throughout this class, students will walk through designing and building a robot for a competitive sport like competition, while also learning key STEAM principles, and robotics concepts.

Read More about Robotics (7t​h​ Grade / Yearlong Course)
Sculpture and 3D Design (8th Grade / Semester Course)

Sculpture and 3D Design is a semester course and introduction into three-dimensional form and space in relation to artistic expression and design. Students will be challenged to use a variety of materials following safety protocols to design both functional and non-functional works of art. Media may include paper, wire, cardboard, found objects, clay plaster, soapstone, and paint. Using design thinking principles along with artistic expression students will explore concepts in space, scale, function, and abstract ideas. 

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SEE (7t​h​ grade) - All 7t​h​ Graders Take This One Quarter During Life Science Period

The SEE (Social, Emotional, Ethical) Learning program is designed to offer students a space to explore decision-making, ethics, emotions, relationships and systems. This course will be integrated into the 7th grade science lessons to deepen students' understanding of the brain and nervous system and to help guide them in composing informed, compassionate responses to life’s obstacles. SEE Learning lessons build a foundation for the upper school elective, Ethical Dilemmas and Decision Making and prepares them for the Compassionate Capstone Graduation Project each student will be required to complete at the Upper School.

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Spanish or French (7t​h​ & 8t​h​ Grade)

Honors level French 1 or Spanish 1 begins in the seventh grade. Honors level French or Spanish is an advanced and more in depth approach to learning the language. An honors student can synthesize concepts. The honors student has taken his or her knowledge of a foreign language to another level. Honors level classes deliver information at a faster pace and require the student to be proficient in reading, writing, and speaking skills. In addition to the requirements of the college-preparatory level, honors level French or Spanish requires the student to learn additional concepts and incorporate them into written and oral assignments. Honors level students may have extra reading and project assignments to practice their skills. Honors level students are required to participate in the national exam in their world language. Some Honors level students may choose to participate in the Delf or Dele diploma certification process in eighth grade.

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Spanish or French (7t​h​ Grade)

The two-year sequence in either French or Spanish is designed for Middle School students who begin their study of language in the seventh grade. While using the same approach and materials as the first-year course in the Upper School, the course moves at a slower pace, spreading the coverage of material over a two-year period for a greater comprehension level. The course introduces the students to French or Spanish languages with emphasis on four basic skills: speaking, reading, listening, and writing. These skills are developed through the study of pronunciation, basic vocabulary, and grammatical structures. Elementary reading selections are also used to promote self-expression and written practice of translation from English into the content language. Students are also expected to write basic essays in the content language about culture and other topics. Speaking skills are developed through structured conversation and oral communication exams.

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Spanish or French (8t​h​ Grade)

Students in the eighth grade classes are taking the second half of high school level one. Completion of the first half of a French or Spanish level one class is mandatory to enter the eighth grade program. Upon completing this class, students will enter the Upper School at level two. The Upper School at Woodward Academy requires two years of the same language, so students who being world language instruction in the Middle School will have a minimum of three years of a language.

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Theatre 7 (7t​h​ Grade / Yearlong Course)

This is a year-long course focused on the student actor in both musicals and non-musicals. Students will be evaluated at the mid-year for recommendation of continuing in the course. This course will offer the student the opportunity to develop acting skills, training and experience necessary for live theatrical performance with an emphasis on acting. Exercises and games; monologue and scene work; character choices and development will be explored. In addition, the Year-Long Drama 7 student will be encouraged to join Junior Thespians and to participate in the Middle School production. This is a full year commitment.

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Theatre 8 ​(8t​h​ Grade / Yearlong Course)

This is a year-long course focused on the student actor in both musicals and non-musicals. Students will be evaluated at the mid-year for recommendation of continuing in the course. This course will offer the student the opportunity to continue developing skills, training and experience necessary for live theatrical performance with an emphasis on acting. Challenging exercises and games; devised monologue and scene work; character choices and development will continue to be explored. Year-Long Drama 8 student will be encouraged to join Junior Thespians and to participate in the Middle School production. This is a full year commitment.

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Tools (7th & 8th Grade / Quarter or Semester Course)

“Tools” is designed for students who are having significant challenges meeting academic expectations. In partnership with the parents, the administration team and/or counselors refer students to this course. The aim is to help students improve their learning effectiveness, attitudes, and motivation. The primary goal of the Tools class is for students to gain confidence in their skills, feel empowered to self-advocate, and learn to better manage independent and interdependent studies. The class will provide instruction in the following: academic goal setting, prioritization, organization, time management, note taking, and study habits. Students may be assigned mandatory tutorial attendance.

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Treble Choir (7t​h​ and 8t​h​ Grade / Yearlong Course)

Prerequisite:​ Audition/Director Recommendation This choir is a year-long class. Sight-reading and musicianship training are important elements of daily rehearsals. The choir performs a winter and spring concert. In addition, the Choir will be adjudicated at GMEA district Large Group Performance Evaluation. Alternating years, the choir travels to participate in a national music festival. Students are expected to attend all rehearsals and performances.

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Vocal Ensemble

​Prerequisite: Audition/Director Recommendation
Group meets 2 days a week during Middle School afternoon study hall. Members must be enrolled in the Middle School Treble or Men’s Choir to be eligible. The Middle School Ensemble learns a variety of four part choral music. This group performs a winter and spring concert and alternating years participates in a national music festival.

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