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Middle School: Global Learners

As students move into adolescence, it becomes increasingly important for them to reflect upon their learning, articulate the meaning of past experiences, and recognize the path to true national and world citizenship they began in the Lower School. The Middle School years provide them with numerous and varied opportunities to earn the title of Global Learner.

Language & Culture

Students experience world literature through folktales, short stories and novels; and study globally from the ancient world to U.S. history and world geography. Students learn what it means to be a citizen historically and in our contemporary world.

In addition, students have many opportunities to participate in co-curricular activities and class trips, with optional global experiences available during summer vacation. Sixth-grade students take two cultural field trips here in Chicago: one to the Pilsen neighborhood, where they experience Mexican culture and the National Museum of Mexican Art; and the other to the Alliance Francaise, where they view and discuss foreign short films and learn the fine art of crepe-making.

Students are encouraged to try new and different means of reaching out to the world through technology. With sites such as EPals and World Art Chicago, teachers can search for the perfect opportunity to interact with other cultures on everything from storytelling to art, encouraging students to share and collaborate across the country and the world.


Service also is encouraged through projects which serve the school, the local community, and the world. These projects also support student leadership. Projects vary and are often proposed and led by Middle School students. Past projects include making lunches for a local soup kitchen, raising funds for school supplies at St. Joseph Indian School, raising funds to remove land mines, and collecting shoes to be sent to South America. With an emphasis on student leadership, students choose to serve.


Several service programs also support our sustainability efforts. Participating in programs such as waste-free lunches, composting, and recycling, student volunteers have the opportunity to join with the Lower and Upper Schools to create a greener community.

Global Learners Week

PHOTOS: See more photos from Global Learners Week 2012

Middle School students explore the following experiences during the last week of March:

  • Grade 5 — Service Learning Exploration — Students take part in a service project that develops their leadership skills and furthers their understanding of community.
  • Grade 6 — Nature's Classroom Institute — Students immerse themselves in the natural environment for ecosystem exploration and study, working together with their peers.
  • Grade 7 — Civics and Citizenship — Students supplement their study of U.S. history by exploring our local, state and federal governments in action, both in Chicago and in Springfield.
  • Grade 8 — Language and Culture Immersion — Students extend their classroom study of language and culture with local day trips before a four-day visit to Concordia Language Villages in Minnesota, an immersion program that prepares young people for responsible citizenship in a global community.

Guiding Principles for Global Learners Week Participation:

  1. Global Learners Week connects to the Academy's curriculum and mission.
  2. Daily attendance and active participation are essential to the success of every group. Absences accrued during this time are considered school-day absences and will be reflected in the student’s attendance report and academic record.
  3. Students will receive an acknowledgement of successful completion. If a student does not complete the required preparation, participation, and follow-up activities to the best of their ability (whether through absence or lack of effort) a narrative report will be included in the student’s permanent record indicating non-completion. Pre- and post-activities will be included within classrooms, but specific assignments will vary by class.
  4. All school rules will be enforced during Global Learners Week. For any violation of these rules, students will be subject to the same disciplinary consequences as would result on the school campus, and are subject to being sent home at the family's expense.
  5. Extenuating circumstances (such as student hospitalization or conduct that merits serious disciplinary action) that impact student attendance on a trip will be handled on an individual basis.

Special Recognition

As students reach and move beyond the eighth grade, all are Global Learners by virtue of the curriculum work they have completed. However, all students also have the opportunity to earn a special distinction as they move from eighth to ninth grade.

Students who go above and beyond curricular requirements can also earn the distinction of Global Leader. Students who earn this distinction are recognized via a point system for making conscious choices to explore the pillars of service, sustainability, and cultural education and exchange, within the curriculum or through co-curricular choices. All activities that support the three pillars are recorded in their Global Scholars passports. Activities which go beyond classroom requirements also earn points toward the distinction of Global Leader.

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