The Highlands School

Academics - Middle School (Grades 6 - 8)
Middle School Courses

The Middle School social studies curriculum begins in fifth grade with the history of American colonization and Revolution and carries through westward expansion to the closing of the American frontier. Students explore economic, military and social developments in different regions of the country, with particular emphasis on Texas in the seventh grade.  Sixth graders learn about the rise and fall of the world’s great civilizations and their influence on our modern world. Middle school students also undertake a comprehensive study of world geography.

Students investigate fundamental concepts of earth, life and physical sciences using the facilities of the Middle School science lab. Topics include the Earth and its oceans, weather and climate, structure and functions of cells, classification of organisms, body systems, properties of matter, electricity and magnetism. Students compete in annual school and regional science fairs.

Middle school students use manipulatives and various kinds of calculators to enhance their problem-solving skills.  Understanding of mathematical concepts is directed toward readiness for the study of Algebra and Geometry.  Seventh graders study Pre-Algebra, and all eighth graders are enrolled in either Algebra I or Geometry.

Language Arts
In the middle school years, students complete their study of English grammar and sentence structure. They learn to recognize the various types and forms of essays, and techniques for producing each, and students are guided to produce more sophisticated writing.  The study of literature emphasizes interpreting, analyzing and understanding different types of text and film. Emphasis on spelling continues, and includes vocabulary study based on Latin and Greek roots.  All sixth through eighth graders enter several annual school competitions: a middle school essay contest, an oratory contest, a cursive handwriting competition and a middle school spelling bee.

Students examine the teachings of the Catholic Church from several different perspectives:  the Life of Christ, Creation and Revelation, Liturgy and Sacraments and the history of the Church. Students participate in daily Communion services and weekly Masses and have the opportunity for monthly confessions and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

Foreign Language
Sixth graders continue their studies in Spanish, and are given an introduction to Latin. Seventh and eighth graders enroll in either Spanish I or Latin I, and, in the spring, sit for the national examination in their chosen language.


The middle school music program is designed to develop musical sensitivity and appreciation. Students may elect to be part of a performing ensemble in band, music theater or chorus classes. Others learn music fundamentals through listening activities, sight-reading, keyboard or guitar instruction.

Students learn to produce and evaluate visual art forms in a variety of two- and three-dimensional materials. They master art vocabulary and techniques while they create original pieces using a variety of media.

The middle school drama program focuses on individual and small ensemble performance.  Students learn fundamental techniques of voice, gesture and blocking as they prepare and present dramatic monologues, dialogues and one-act plays. Drama students participate in several speech tournaments during the school year.

Middle school students strengthen their ability to access information electronically.  They advance their skills and knowledge of Microsoft Word through performance-based application problems.  They are introduced to spreadsheet functions and learn to produce Power Point presentations.

The librarian and subject teachers work collaboratively to provide students with research opportunities utilizing print and non-print media.  In addition, students visit the library to select books and magazines for independent reading. 

Interscholastic Sports
The athletic Department provides opportunities for middle school students to compete with students from other schools and develop their athletic talents. Boys’ teams include soccer, basketball, football and baseball.  Girls’ teams include soccer, basketball, softball, volleyball and cheerleading.  Participation in one sport is required each year, and middle school students are encouraged to try and enjoy a variety of athletic experiences.

The Acceleration Lane is an opportunity, beginning in seventh grade, for students of above-average ability to move at a faster pace in particular subjects, thus challenging them at their highest academic level. Students are invited to the AL based on their standardized test scores and report card grades. When students advance in an area of strength, they position themselves for academic advantages in high school, either Advanced Placement classes or courses taught at the University of Dallas or other institutions that we partner with for our high school juniors and seniors.
The Highlands School implements the Integral Formation™ method of education developed
by the Legionaries of Christ.
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Love Christ. Serve people. Build the Church.