Middle School Philosophy

The Middle School is a small, cohesive community designed to nurture and challenge girls during early adolescence. The School values academic excellence and encourages students to ask questions, to seek creative solutions and to take risks as a part of learning. To facilitate this process, the curriculum stresses critical thinking, openness to a variety of perspectives, a balance between creative and skill-related activities and offers multiple opportunities for success.

The Middle School places equal emphasis on the moral development of each student by also providing opportunities to develop personal integrity, leadership skills and a sense of self as a world citizen with a desire to serve the community. Through the curriculum and the spiritual life of the School, each girl is encouraged to recognize her own uniqueness and respect differences in others. Teacher support is critical both in academics and in areas of social, cultural and emotional development. Because of the great diversity in developmental rates and student needs, the Middle School seeks to provide a stable and reassuring environment and to foster joy in learning for each constantly-changing adolescent.

The Middle School Experience

A supportive yet challenging environment:
  • Teacher accessibility is built into the daily schedule (Homeroom, Extra Help, Study Hall)
  • Faculty advisor assigned to each student, who becomes her advocate and home base while at school
  • Collaborative "teaching teams" to ensure our girls are supported from every angle and the grade 5-8 curriculum remains cohesive and dynamic
  • School Counselors dedicated to grades 5-6 and grades 7-8 
  • Team-building experiences designed for each grade level
  • 1:1 laptop program that includes digital citizenship training 
Self Realization
Yearlong self discovery and reflection culminates with student-led conferences held each spring. This authentic leadership experience enables each girl to set goals, analyze her performance reflectively and to plan ahead alongside her parents and advisor. Over the course of her four years in the Middle School, a Middle School student will explore many aspects of her identity and begin to craft a roadmap for her future.

Highlights of Experiential Learning:
  • Grade 5: Machine Expo, Monarch Butterfly Hatching, Hands-on Art History
  • Grade 6: Mapping the World by Memory, World Experts Fair, Trip to NYC and Ellis Island
  • Grade 7: Student-created Museum Project, Orienteering Trip
  • Grade 8: Trip to Chesapeake Bay, Modern America Oral History Project
  • Student-led assemblies held weekly
  • Local, regional and international service initiatives

Growing Independence and Responsibility

Adolescence is tough enough. Girls are figuring out who they are and where they belong. At St. Catherine’s, we create a safe environment in a dynamic Middle School community where girls build confidence and are empowered to discover their voice. Middle School is a time for students to deepen their understanding of honor and integrity, and students are expected to take responsibility for their own academic work and behavior. Assignments and tests must be signed with the pledge, “I have neither given nor received help on this work.” Each faculty member has the responsibility of making clear to the class what is acceptable and what is dishonorable practice on assignments for a class.

Middle School Curriculum

Girls need room to explore and take risks. The Middle School curriculum stresses critical thinking, openness to a variety of perspectives, and offers multiple opportunities for success. 

Academic Requirements:
  • Four years of English, Math, History/Geography and Science
  • Four years of World Language (Mandarin Chinese or Spanish)
  • A sixth academic subject for each grade level (Grade 5: Study Skills, Grade 6: Thinking Skills, Grade 7: Bible, Grade 8: Latin)
  • Math and Science course placement based on developmental performance, with opportunities for exceptional students to take Physics First and Algebra II (Upper School courses) in grade 8
In addition to six academic subjects, students participate in:
  • Physical Education
  • Technology and Digital Citizenship classes
  • A rotation of performing and visual arts classes each quarter
  • Personal Growth classes taught by School Counselors 
6001 Grove Avenue | Richmond, Virginia 23226 | (p) 804.288.2804 |  (f) 804.285.8169
Experts in the way girls learn best, St. Catherine’s offers a rigorous liberal arts education, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish (JK- grade 12), JK- grade 12 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) and 23 AP classes and 33 honors classes. Call us today for a tour 804-288-2804.