All About Junior School

What is the Junior School?

The 7th and 8th grades comprise our middle school at Hopkins, which we call the Junior School or "J-School."

J-School is a small, comfortable neighborhood within the Hopkins campus community where our youngest students learn from teachers who are both experienced educators and compassionate people who understand how to help students reach for more.

There are no boundaries between 7th and 8th graders. They know each other by name and are part of the same close-knit, independent school environment. Shared spaces and experiences create a culture of support and acceptance that allows academic, athletic, social and emotional challenges to be met and overcome. J-School sets in motion everything a middle school child needs to succeed at Hopkins.

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  • All About 7th Grade

    Grade 7 at Hopkins School is a year filled with a great deal of personal growth, development of important new skills, and the establishment of a love of learning.
    Grade 7 Head Adviser: Ian Guthrie   

    Seventh-graders go through a period of change from their former schools as they adjust to more homework and learn to study effectively, manage time, and organize their new lives. Created by supportive teachers and advisers, the generally nurturing environment of the School is conducive to the inevitable adjustment required of students given new responsibilities. In addition, faculty and advisers communicate frequently with new parents, helping to ease the student's entry into the Junior School.

    The primary components of 7th grade at Hopkins are the promotion of excellent study skills, introduction to and development of analytical writing proficiency, encouragement of experimentation and exploration, and fostering a sense of belonging in the Junior School and larger Hopkins community. This sense of unity starts with a class outing to the Durham Fair in September, a memorable social event for the 7th-graders to get to know one another outside the classroom.

    As a group, the Junior School faculty aspires to guide these young people to become confident, caring, and intelligent human beings who love the adventure of learning.

    Curriculum in Grade 7
    Students in Grade 7 take History, English, Latin (required), Math (course determined after diagnostic testing in the spring and students previous math experience) and Science, and may choose to add either Chinese, French or Spanish if desired.

    Arts in Grade 7
    During Grade 7, a different aspect of art—Studio Art, Drama, and either Instrumental Ensemble or Vocal Arts—is introduced during each of the first three quarters. The emphasis is on learning the basic crafts of each art form and having fun. Students choose to continue in one of these disciplines for the final quarter.

    Athletics in Grade 7
    Junior School Athletics meet for one hour Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday during the school day, with interscholastic contests usually on Wednesdays.

    Students in Grade 7 are required to participate in a team sport for the Fall term, to encourage socialization and physical fitness. For Winter and Spring, students can choose an informal, an interscholastic, or an independent activity.
     
  • All About 8th Grade

    Teachers and advisers strive to achieve three primary goals by the end of a student’s 8th grade year. First, the Junior School faculty works to strengthen the students’ academic skills and prepare them for their high school careers.
    Grade 8 Head Adviser: Jocelyn Garrity 

    Specifically, we work on further developing organizational skills, time management, and strategies for studying. We also work closely with the students to encourage their personal development; respect, honesty, and appropriate behaviors are emphasized at all times.

    Second, we encourage our students to be independent thinkers. The Junior School is a safe, nurturing environment and is the ideal place for young minds to stretch and develop.

    Finally, we aim to create interdependence within the class as a whole. By 8th grade the students feel more comfortable with each other, allowing them to start them thinking about who they are (and who they would like to be) as a class. We begin this process by taking the entire 8th grade onto the Adam Kreiger Adventure Course for a day in September. While Hopkins’ demanding curriculum is rigorous and challenging, the environment we strive to maintain in the Junior School is a non-competitive one.

    Curriculum in Grade 8
    Students in Grade 8 take History, English, Latin (required), Math and Science, and may choose to add either Chinese, French, Italian or Spanish if desired.
    *New Grade 8 students can choose to take either Latin or Chinese, French, Italian or Spanish, or both. Math placement will be determined for new students based on spring diagnostic testing and a student’s previous math experience.

    Arts in Grade 8
    During Grade 8, students select one of the following offerings each term: Drama, Instrumental Ensemble, Studio Art, Vocal Arts or Wood Art.

    Athletics in Grade 8
    Junior School Athletics meet for one hour Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday during the school day, with interscholastic contests usually on Wednesdays.

    Students in Grade 8 are required to do something athletic in nature every term: interscholastic, informal, or independent options are available.
     

Junior School Activities

Junior School activities meet on Wednesdays during activity period. There are three 8-week sessions during the academic year.  Students will take Healthy Body, Healthy Mind for one of those 8-week sessions and will rank their choices for what activities they do for the other two sessions.  They attend the same activity for 8 consecutive weeks. Additionally, students may participate in Science Quiz Bowl or Math Counts, which are both after school activities and begin in the Fall.

List of 12 items.

  • 3D Design and Printing

    Students will learn to design and create physical objects and then use the 3D printer to build them. This is a creative, collaborative, design-thinking and innovative activity.
  • Coding Club

    Coding Club teaches students how to make computer games, tell digitial stories or make Android Apps. All levels, from absolute beginners to experts, are welcome. The activitiy uses Scratch and MIT APP Inventor to create and collaborate, while learning some real coding tools.
  • Community Service

    The Community Service activity exposes students to a variety of service opportunities both on and off campus. The activity hopes to inspire participants and inform participants about various local and international needs, and effective ways to educate classmates, and encourages them to donate to worthy causes. Students will team up for a shared community service effort during the activity.
  • Healthy Body, Healthy Mind (required)

    The purpose of the HBHM program is to share information about health and well-being
    and address questions students may have about topics that may be important to their lives. This program is not just about their physical health, but mental and emotional health as well. Grade 7 addresses: communication styles, internet and personal interactions, stress reduction, sleep and its effect on learning and memory, hygiene, and nutrition. Grade 8 addresses: exercise and its benefits, stress and how it affects one’s health, body image, tobacco, alcohol and drug use and its effects.
  • Hilltopper (J School student newspaper)

    The Hilltopper is the Junior School newspaper that offers students an opportunity to report on school events and to experience the different aspects of creating and publishing journalistic articles. Students design and write their own pieces.
  • Improvisation / Public Speaking (8th grade only)

    The improvisation and public speaking activity helps students become comfortable speaking in front of a large group by discussing good public speaking habits, rehearsing fun improvisational games that incorporate those habits and performing them for the Junior School.
  • Junior School Chorus (Fall only)

    Junior School Chorus performs at the Winter Concert held in December, as well as at the Winter Assembly. All are welcome!
  • Junior School Play (Spring only)

  • Model United Nations

    This activity is designed for students who want to learn about and discuss international topics through the lens of the U.N. It culminates with the chance to participate in a "mock" U.N. session.
  • Robotics

    In Robotics, students will learn engineering skills needed to design, build and code a robot that can complete a set of tasks. Working in teams, students will assemble hardware and code their robot using Java  programming language. They will have an opportunity to design a custom add-on piece for their robot and then participate in an in-class challenge.
  • Scrapbook (JS photo book)

    The Scrapbook is the Junior School yearbook that offers students an opportunity to learn about photography, copy writing, and graphic design. The Scrapbook is published at the end of the year and records the J School in pictures that include adviser groups, sports, activities, and trips.
  • Seventh Grade Study Skills (required 7th Grade)

    The Seventh Grade Study Skills activity meets for three weeks in September, to introduce
    students to the academic community and culture here on the Hill. Topics covered include: time management, organization, study techniques, active learning, and learning styles.

J School Interscholastic Sport Offerings