Imagine loving
middle school

When the community is your classroom, there is no limit to learning opportunities. Studying the history and architecture of Tacoma means doing original research using local archives and working with local historians and architects to visit and study your subject in person. Studying the influence of Mount Rainier, its glaciers, and its rivers on the development of the region means hiking to a glacier with a glaciologist from a local university and meeting with farmers who depend on the river for their rich, Puyallup Valley soil. Learning about world religions means visiting the Islamic Center of Tacoma, St. Patrick's Catholic church, the Sikh Centre of Seattle, a Methodist AME church, Urban Grace, Temple Beth El – and more. Leadership and community service mean creating a mural to bring life and color to a drab alley, and involvement with meaningful projects that make a positive difference in the community. Capstone projects give each eighth grader a chance to spend a year exploring a passion and completing a service project.

Relevant, dynamic, rigorous

Seabury middle school's program is founded on the belief that intellectually advanced students learn and grow most deeply when they are engaged in projects that are relevant, engaging, challenging and meaningful. Working in collaboration, not only with other middle school students, but with community organizations and local experts, our students have the opportunity to develop leadership skills, participate in community service, and engage in rigorous studies that truly make a difference in their own lives and in their community. During the middle school years, when students are beginning to develop their sense of themselves in the world, our middle school gives highly capable students the opportunity to learn, lead and serve in ways that are not possible in traditional school programs.

Our middle schoolers use the downtown Tacoma Main Library as well as their laptop computers to access information resources. Their art teacher is a working Tacoma artist and art experiences include museum visits. 

Three year rotation: three overarching concepts

A student who makes the complete journey through Seabury middle school – sixth, seventh and eighth grade – has the opportunity to experience the rich curriculum contained within these three concepts, and three major trips.

Year One Concept: Home

Students learn about Washington State and Tacoma history as they explore how our community's past helps shape its present and future. The students explore primary source materials from the Tacoma Historical Society and the Northwest Room at the Tacoma Public Library. In science, they study genetics and travel to Mount Rainier and local waterways to discover local geology and environment. Projects include constructing earthquake-safe building models, a Washington virtual road trip and a family oral history project. A virtual road trip project leads to an actual springtime road trip through Washington State, where students will explore historic and scientific sites they investigated.

Year Two Concept: The Wider World

Students will expand their thinking outward from Home and Washington State to the Wider World
 of our nation and how it intersects with global issues. They become deeper thinkers as they tackle issues of an ever changing world, discussing international relations, trade, human rights, world religions, philosophy and ethics. Language arts focuses on stories of civil rights, migration, biography and U.S. History. In science students explore the human condition and how it shapes our vision of the world through both psychology and neuroscience. They also investigate medicine as a global issue. They receive an introduction to JAVA Script as part of a quarter long coding class. The year culminates in a trip to New York City and participation in a Model United Nations conference.

Year Three Concept:
The Future We Build

Students this year will immerse themselves in an exploration of the global environment. As part of this study, they will use the lenses of gender, economics, and race to examine the choices we make about the environment. They will think critically about whether political parties are useful, and discover who is in charge of managing the earth's resources. In Science they will explore what makes a species unique and how human activity has changed the climate and environment. In English Language Arts students will learn the stories of people around the globe and what those stories tell us about ourselves. The concepts of revolution and refugees will help our students better understand people who change the world and people who survive. What would a sustainable future look like and what economic, social, and political factors will need to change? Two other major emphasis will be Spanish language learning and building our ability to be of service. We will connect with Franke Toby Jones and other community resources to instill a spirit of service and empathy in the students. The students will also learn Python coding in connection with data visualization. The year will culminate with an international trip to Costa Rica where they will use the Spanish language skills they have acquired and participate in hands-on service learning.
  • Each middle schooler ...
  • The Capstone Project
  • Uses evidence to support work
  • Helps plan a road trip around Washington State
  • Learns the art of speaking in front of groups, using appropriate eye contact, posture, gestures and vocal variety 
  • Understands plate tectonics
  • Writes papers using MLA format – as they will in college
  • Writes a Model UN position paper to present in New York City
  • Participates in oral history interviews with Tacoma senior citizens
  • Learns to take a midterm and a final exam
  • Refines critical thinking, argumentation and debate skills
  • Uses primary sources in research
  • Has the opportunity to travel across the state, the country, the globe
  • Interacts with people of all ages, from all walks of life
  • Develops an understanding and appreciation of contemporary art
  • Identifies an author's use of literary devices
  • Analyzes data in the context of real-world problems
  • Develops a growth mindset
  • Uses Google classroom tools
  • Explores careers in science
  • Designs, builds and launches rockets
  • Develops algebraic thinking related to chemistry
  • And much more!

As part of their eighth grade year, Seabury middle schoolers complete a Capstone Project, which requires them to pick a subject of interest, research that subject in depth and complete a community service project around that subject.

At Seabury, we all about helping our students discover their passions. The Capstone project is an outgrowth of that. The eighth grader pictured at left is a passionate and gifted artist, whose project was to paint a mural for the city. The painting itself, which you've probably seen if you drive downtown up 11th Street, was just one part of the project. She also had to figure out how to go through the city's arts channels for approval. 

Another student discovered her passion and talent for music at Seabury. In her own words: "My Capstone project was actually a really impactful experience for me, artistically. I had never really pursued songwriting before recording the EP for my Capstone, but it was something that I ended up actually feeling really passionate about and that ended up being a pretty major aspect of my life. I'm a songwriting major at SOTA now, and I feel like if it weren't for the opportunity and the resources that were available to me at Seabury with my Capstone project, I might not have even discovered something that I now really deeply incorporate with my identity."

Learn more in the Seabury School Curriculum Guide

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