The Elisabeth Morrow School's shared purpose is to provide exemplary academics and character development in a diverse and inclusive child-centered community, inspiring students to become curious scholars, ethical leaders, and global citizens.

Middle school (fifth through eighth grade) students are encouraged to be partners in guiding their own education. In addition to core academic subjects (including, for many students, two languages), children choose electives to explore areas of particular interest. In middle school, students play on sports teams, explore their creativity through music, drama or visual arts and explore leadership opportunities that prepare them for rigorous secondary school experiences.

Fifth Grade

As the first year of middle school, fifth grade is structured to provide a bridge between our lower school and our departmentalized middle school program, which starts in the sixth grade. Students have a homeroom teacher who provides instruction in language arts and social studies and travel as a homeroom class to science, art, music, Spanish, physical education, technology and library. In math, students are grouped based on performance criteria. Students continue to experience technology as it is integrated throughout the Middle School. This helps them develop empathy and apply the 4 C's and good citizenship in online spaces. Students explore creating multimedia, 3D design, coding and game creation, robotics, and emerging technologies such as augmented and virtual reality. All students participate in a Bring Your Own Laptop program. Optional after-school sports are available in an intramural program.


Sixth Grade

Sixth grade is the beginning of our departmentalized middle school model. Students meet in small advisory groups and travel to history, English, science and art in heterogeneous groups. In math, students are grouped based on performance criteria. Most students continue to study Spanish as their world language, and an advanced-level Spanish class is available. Students continue to experience technology as it is integrated throughout the Middle School. This helps them develop empathy and apply the 4 C's and good citizenship in online spaces. Students explore creating multimedia, 3D design, coding and game creation, robotics, and emerging technologies such as augmented and virtual reality. All students participate in a Bring Your Own Laptop program. Sixth graders have the option of joining interscholastic sports teams in addition to physical education classes.

Seventh Grade

Students in seventh grade study a rich, challenging academic curriculum that is enhanced by experiences in visual and performing arts and sports. In addition to their class responsibilities, students choose from a variety of electives in technology, visual and performing arts and service learning. Students take five or six academic classes: English, history, math, science and language (one or two). Students continue to experience technology as it is integrated throughout the Middle School. This helps them develop empathy and apply the 4 C's and good citizenship in online spaces. Students explore creating multimedia, 3D design, coding and game creation, robotics, and emerging technologies such as augmented and virtual reality. All students participate in a Bring Your Own Laptop program. Students participate in interscholastic sports to fulfill their physical education requirement and have an extended overnight Adventure Week field trip.

Eighth Grade

Students in their culminating year at The Elisabeth Morrow School study a rich, challenging academic curriculum that is enhanced by experiences in the visual and performing arts and sports. Students take five or six academic classes: English, history, math, science and one or two world languages. Students in the seventh and eighth grade choose from a robust set of elective options in technology, visual art, performance, and service to complement the academic program. They also participate in the Leadership Symposium, a signature EMS program that helps students navigate the secondary school admissions process and reflect on and build their own capacity as leaders.

Middle School Distinctions

Adventure Week

Adventure Week is scheduled for the beginning of each school, and designed to promote bonding between among students and faculty through day-long or overnight trips. Fifth grade students go on day trips to the United States Military Academy at West Point and other local educational sites while they also spend time in in-school team-building activities as they become accustomed to Morrow House. Our sixth grader go on a two-day overnight trip to Nature’s Classroom in Ivoryton, CT. where they experience hand-on science and history themed learning activities. Seventh graders go to Frost Valley where they engage in outdoor adventure and group dynamics activities and eighth graders build their leadership skills in a two-day trip to Princeton Blairstown Center.


Advisory

Advisory forms the heart of our departmentalized middle school program, which begins in sixth grade. While fifth graders maintain the familiar homeroom model from Lower School, sixth grade students start their day in advisory groups composed of about eight students. During one long period during the week, students meet in advisory to further bond as a group, and develop organizational and self-advocacy skills. Advisors collaborate closely with subject teachers and families, and facilitate parent-teacher conferences and manage the progress report process.


Athletics

Students in sixth, seventh and eighth grade compete on interscholastic sports teams. There are no cuts, and every student plays in every game. Students in sixth grade have the option of joining any of the sports teams, space permitting. Students in seventh and eighth grades participate in athletics to fulfill a part of their physical education requirement. In the winter and spring seasons, students have the option of taking an intramural sports class or a yoga class in lieu of interscholastic athletics. Coaches are Elisabeth Morrow School faculty and administrators.

The goals of the program are as follows:

  • Sportsmanship
  • Being on a team
  • Sports-specific skills and game strategies
  • Healthy competition

ChemExpo

For many years, seventh graders from The Elisabeth Morrow School have been the youngest presenters at ChemExpo at the Liberty Science Center. ChemExpo is part of the institution's celebration of National Chemistry Week, coordinated by the by the North Jersey Section of the American Chemical Society. Our students engage LSC visitors in a variety of scientific experiments.

Electives

Students have opportunities to explore their interests and passions through our extensive electives program. While electives change each semester based on student interest and resources available, examples of fifth and sixth grade electives include the following: improvisational acting, robotics, coding, game making, drawing and painting, newspaper, community outreach and diversity. Students in seventh and eighth grade are expected to complete at least one elective in fine arts, performing arts, technology and community service over their last two years, which may include anything from the seventh/eight grade musical, to yearbook, ceramics, a diversity/identity elective or community service.


Leadership Symposium

At EMS we want to help students develop the leadership skills explicitly -- and before they enter secondary school. Therefore, we have created our signature seventh and eighth grade program, the Leadership Symposium, a year-long class which will help students discover their strengths and develop the confidence, competence and connectedness needed to become leaders in all aspects of their lives.

The students kick off their work together on Adventure Week, our traditional class bonding activity that takes place at the beginning of the school year. Students participate in workshops and activities designed to promote collaborative decision making and aid in planning the secondary school process. This is followed with a two-day retreat, to allow students the time away from school to participate in various bonding activities.

In class, students use a discussion protocol called Open Session which allows them to share both concerns and celebrations and seek advice from one another in a supportive environment. They also completed a self assessment using StrengthsFinder, a scientifically designed self-assessment that reveals individuals’ top five strengths. Interwoven into the curriculum are lessons on managing the secondary school process, and all students are assigned interview mentors who work with them in addition to the secondary school placement team. As part of their classroom work, the eighth graders also wrestle with complex moral dilemmas as they seek to come to an understanding of the mechanics of how leaders make decisions that serve a common good.

The students take the leadership skills they learn out to the community by being responsible for planning weekly assemblies at Morrow House and other school activities. They also learn about how adults use their leadership skills through panel discussions and guest speakers.

Secondary School Placement

At the end of the seventh grade year, all parents and students become familiar with the secondary school process through an orientation, panels with admissions directors and former EMS families. Throughout summer before and the beginning of the eighth grade year, families work closely with the EMS Director of Secondary School Placement to identify ideal secondary school options. The School provides students with interview coaching, a class to improve standardized test performance, and leave from homework and class in order to engage fully in the visit and interviewing process. This highly personal and customized process not only helps ensure that students matriculate into the school that best serves their interests and talents, students develop the confidence, skills, and self-knowledge to engage in a rigorous application process successfully.


Service Learning

In their advisory groups, all students engage in service learning through various projects and partnerships. In past years, these have included adopting a family to support during the holiday season, creating sales and collections for donations to local organizations, and performing at events that aid the community. Students who are particularly inspired by service, can choose to engage in an elective that takes frequent trips to local organizations to help with their work. Each year, the student council organizes The Founder's Day Carnival, and collects donations that benefits a local organization of choice whose mission includes helping children.


Student Ambassador Program

Eighth grade students may apply to become Student Ambassadors, working with our admissions officers to welcome families to campus and at outreach events. Student Ambassadors receive training on school history, public speaking, giving tours, and understanding of the admissions process in the fall of the eighth grade year. Throughout the course of the year, Ambassador's attend on and off campus admissions functions, and their primary role is to lead tours with prospective families. Ambassadors are also called upon to represent the school at various events like Back to School Night and Family Field Day among others. Applying for and becoming a student ambassador helps prepare our students for the secondary school process, and allows them to become more comfortable speaking with adults and representing themselves appropriately in a variety of situations.

Theater

As part of our robust electives program, our middle school students stage two musical or plays each year; one for fifth and sixth graders and one for seventh and eighth graders. Students learn how to read and analyze a script, and use stage direction blocking and choreography. These classes culminate in fully staged performances for other students, friends and families.

Visual Arts

Fifth and sixth graders choose subjects of interest for drawing, painting, collage, printmaking, photography and sculpture, to develop aesthetic, analytic and social skills. Through the study of artists and movements from around the world, students gain different perspectives of cultures and history. The exploration of a variety of mediums and techniques builds students’ visual language and encourages imaginative capacities. Projects are designed in conjunction with other subjects such as science, technology and the humanities. Fifth grade projects have include printmaking, photography, watercolor painting and collage and sixth grade projects have included self-portrait painting, poster and website design, and woodshop sculpture.

In seventh and eighth grade, the study of visual arts continues through a wide variety of electives, and students may also create portfolios for secondary school applications and/or competitions.


Write Around the Clock

Write Around the Clock just celebrated its 30th anniversary as Morrow House’s art and literary annual publication. It allows our fifth through eighth graders the chance to express themselves through photography, print work, memoirs, poetry, and everything in between. Student submissions have received the Scholastic Art and Writing Competition’s highest award, the Gold Medal,


Middle School Subjects

MIDDLE SCHOOL SUBJECTS

Advisory
Electives
English
History
Instrumental Music
Leadership Symposium
Library
Mathematics
Music
Performing Arts
Physical Education and Health and Wellness
Science
Technology (instruction in fifth and sixth grades, integrated into all subject areas)
Visual Arts
World Language (Latin, Spanish)


Curriculum Guide

Middle School Musical Performance Groups

Virtually all students at the Elisabeth Morrow School play a musical instrument through eighth grade. They have the opportunity to perform with any of these groups, and many perform in several. Students also perform in a "Waffle House," showcasing a variety of talents and talent shows where advisories compete against one another as a fun bonding activity.

A Cappella
EMS Voices Choral Ensemble
Jazz Ensemble
Orchestra
Stage Band
Superchamber Orchestra
Rock Band

Middle School Distinctions

Adventure Week

Adventure Week is scheduled for the beginning of each school, and designed to promote bonding between among students and faculty through day-long or overnight trips. Fifth grade students go on day trips to the United States Military Academy at West Point and other local educational sites while they also spend time in in-school team-building activities as they become accustomed to Morrow House. Our sixth grader go on a two-day overnight trip to Nature’s Classroom in Ivoryton, CT. where they experience hand-on science and history themed learning activities. Seventh graders go to Frost Valley where they engage in outdoor adventure and group dynamics activities and eighth graders build their leadership skills in a two-day trip to Princeton Blairstown Center.


Advisory

Advisory forms the heart of our departmentalized middle school program, which begins in sixth grade. While fifth graders maintain the familiar homeroom model from Lower School, sixth grade students start their day in advisory groups composed of about eight students. During one long period during the week, students meet in advisory to further bond as a group, and develop organizational and self-advocacy skills. Advisors collaborate closely with subject teachers and families, and facilitate parent-teacher conferences and manage the progress report process.


Athletics

Students in sixth, seventh and eighth grade compete on interscholastic sports teams. There are no cuts, and every student plays in every game. Students in sixth grade have the option of joining any of the sports teams, space permitting. Students in seventh and eighth grades participate in athletics to fulfill a part of their physical education requirement. In the winter and spring seasons, students have the option of taking an intramural sports class or a yoga class in lieu of interscholastic athletics. Coaches are Elisabeth Morrow School faculty and administrators.

The goals of the program are as follows:

  • Sportsmanship
  • Being on a team
  • Sports-specific skills and game strategies
  • Healthy competition

ChemExpo

For many years, seventh graders from The Elisabeth Morrow School have been the youngest presenters at ChemExpo at the Liberty Science Center. ChemExpo is part of the institution's celebration of National Chemistry Week, coordinated by the by the North Jersey Section of the American Chemical Society. Our students engage LSC visitors in a variety of scientific experiments.

Electives

Students have opportunities to explore their interests and passions through our extensive electives program. While electives change each semester based on student interest and resources available, examples of fifth and sixth grade electives include the following: improvisational acting, robotics, coding, game making, drawing and painting, newspaper, community outreach and diversity. Students in seventh and eighth grade are expected to complete at least one elective in fine arts, performing arts, technology and community service over their last two years, which may include anything from the seventh/eight grade musical, to yearbook, ceramics, a diversity/identity elective or community service.


Leadership Symposium

At EMS we want to help students develop the leadership skills explicitly -- and before they enter secondary school. Therefore, we have created our signature seventh and eighth grade program, the Leadership Symposium, a year-long class which will help students discover their strengths and develop the confidence, competence and connectedness needed to become leaders in all aspects of their lives.

The students kick off their work together on Adventure Week, our traditional class bonding activity that takes place at the beginning of the school year. Students participate in workshops and activities designed to promote collaborative decision making and aid in planning the secondary school process. This is followed with a two-day retreat, to allow students the time away from school to participate in various bonding activities.

In class, students use a discussion protocol called Open Session which allows them to share both concerns and celebrations and seek advice from one another in a supportive environment. They also completed a self assessment using StrengthsFinder, a scientifically designed self-assessment that reveals individuals’ top five strengths. Interwoven into the curriculum are lessons on managing the secondary school process, and all students are assigned interview mentors who work with them in addition to the secondary school placement team. As part of their classroom work, the eighth graders also wrestle with complex moral dilemmas as they seek to come to an understanding of the mechanics of how leaders make decisions that serve a common good.

The students take the leadership skills they learn out to the community by being responsible for planning weekly assemblies at Morrow House and other school activities. They also learn about how adults use their leadership skills through panel discussions and guest speakers.

Secondary School Placement

At the end of the seventh grade year, all parents and students become familiar with the secondary school process through an orientation, panels with admissions directors and former EMS families. Throughout summer before and the beginning of the eighth grade year, families work closely with the EMS Director of Secondary School Placement to identify ideal secondary school options. The School provides students with interview coaching, a class to improve standardized test performance, and leave from homework and class in order to engage fully in the visit and interviewing process. This highly personal and customized process not only helps ensure that students matriculate into the school that best serves their interests and talents, students develop the confidence, skills, and self-knowledge to engage in a rigorous application process successfully.


Service Learning

In their advisory groups, all students engage in service learning through various projects and partnerships. In past years, these have included adopting a family to support during the holiday season, creating sales and collections for donations to local organizations, and performing at events that aid the community. Students who are particularly inspired by service, can choose to engage in an elective that takes frequent trips to local organizations to help with their work. Each year, the student council organizes The Founder's Day Carnival, and collects donations that benefits a local organization of choice whose mission includes helping children.


Student Ambassador Program

Eighth grade students may apply to become Student Ambassadors, working with our admissions officers to welcome families to campus and at outreach events. Student Ambassadors receive training on school history, public speaking, giving tours, and understanding of the admissions process in the fall of the eighth grade year. Throughout the course of the year, Ambassador's attend on and off campus admissions functions, and their primary role is to lead tours with prospective families. Ambassadors are also called upon to represent the school at various events like Back to School Night and Family Field Day among others. Applying for and becoming a student ambassador helps prepare our students for the secondary school process, and allows them to become more comfortable speaking with adults and representing themselves appropriately in a variety of situations.

Theater

As part of our robust electives program, our middle school students stage two musical or plays each year; one for fifth and sixth graders and one for seventh and eighth graders. Students learn how to read and analyze a script, and use stage direction blocking and choreography. These classes culminate in fully staged performances for other students, friends and families.

Visual Arts

Fifth and sixth graders choose subjects of interest for drawing, painting, collage, printmaking, photography and sculpture, to develop aesthetic, analytic and social skills. Through the study of artists and movements from around the world, students gain different perspectives of cultures and history. The exploration of a variety of mediums and techniques builds students’ visual language and encourages imaginative capacities. Projects are designed in conjunction with other subjects such as science, technology and the humanities. Fifth grade projects have include printmaking, photography, watercolor painting and collage and sixth grade projects have included self-portrait painting, poster and website design, and woodshop sculpture.

In seventh and eighth grade, the study of visual arts continues through a wide variety of electives, and students may also create portfolios for secondary school applications and/or competitions.


Write Around the Clock

Write Around the Clock just celebrated its 30th anniversary as Morrow House’s art and literary annual publication. It allows our fifth through eighth graders the chance to express themselves through photography, print work, memoirs, poetry, and everything in between. Student submissions have received the Scholastic Art and Writing Competition’s highest award, the Gold Medal,