Academics

Eighth Grade

A Year of Growth and Reflection

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  • Welcome to Eighth Grade

    For students, this is one of the most dynamic developmental learning periods. At Gould Academy, we meet it with an engaging and relevant curriculum that fosters a love of learning, an acceptance of failure, and an appreciation for teamwork. 

    Every aspect of the Gould program is linked to helping students find their own voice and become the best version of themselves.  This is a time for students to develop habits of learning, a time for students to explore ideas, and a time for students to understand how to participate in a community. Our program targets grade eight as a year designed to cultivate growth and encourage reflection to ease the transition between middle and high school.

Student Academic Experience 

The curriculum removes the classroom walls and engages with the Bethel community to harness the energetic creativity of the middle school mind. Science classes might learn about benthic invertebrates in local streams, examine glacier features on local hikes, or travel to the commercial windmill towers to dive into renewable energy. English and history complementary curriculum allows students to empathize with a protagonist and research the historical context of the story.  Math projects foster modeling  skills like pairing scale and ratio with designing tiny houses.  Our performing and visual arts classes tap into all the emerging expressions of self in experiences ranging from pottery to ukulele to jamming out to karaoke. 


Student Community Experience

The transition from middle to high school is a period of reflection, growth, trial and error and joy. Because the 8th graders are broadly integrated into Gould’s high school program, our role is to help guide them to make decisions, set goals, and develop personal management skills. Whether needing advisory time to talk about a current event, or to slow down the pace of our GPS block and focus on skills and organization, our program is more fluid so that we can understand how to engage in community and explore best practices for high school success. 

Whether learning about all the clubs at Gould, picking weekend activities, or talking through dorm life, our approach centers the journey of a middle schooler and guides the process.  


Student Athletic and Co-Curricular Experience 

A significant and important part of self-expression and confidence is learning to stretch one’s mind and strengthen oneself in athletics and co-curriculars. Gould’s diverse after school offerings ensure there is the right place for all participants. Sometimes our field sports provide a team experience, like joining a JV team, and other times our individual sports, like mountain biking, have middle school age tiers. 


Curriculum

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  • Principles

    8th Grade at Gould Academy is a unique opportunity for students to gain confidence, a sense of self,  and refine their academic skills. Students have a chance to experience a mixture of hands-on learning while also preparing specific academic skills for high school. This 8th grade experience is a safe place for students to find their voice. Our classes are small, so each student’s voice is heard every class.  In addition, all subjects allow for project-based learning. We meet the students where they are - academically and socially. 

    The curriculum design is guided by three principles: experimentation, curiosity, and confidence.  Using the Bethel village and natural assets as our extended classroom students are immersed in project-based co-curricular learning. 
    Across classes skill development, learning strategies and process over product is emphasized. 

    Students enter high school with the skills and mindset ready to thrive. 
  • Math

    We meet each student where they are at in their math journey and make individualized plans to help them succeed. An online learning program called ALEKs is utilized to help motivated students who want to progress faster move along at their own pace. Creative math projects may be paired with other projects to help reinforce learning. 
  • Science

    Students will look at anything from electricity and magnetism to ecology and use the natural environment as their classroom as much as possible. Some past projects have been learning about benthic invertebrates in local streams, examining glacier features such as eskers on local hikes, learning about honey production by visiting a local beehive, traveling to the Spruce Mountain windmills to dive into renewable energy, and building electromagnets. Classes have paired field trips to local rock outcrops and visits to the local Gem and Mineral Museum to learn about geology. Students' studies include a combination of lab reports, projects, hands on demos and lectures.
  • Music

    Music classes are all about exploring instruments, learning to play together and self expression. From drum circles and rhythm games on the djembe to strumming chords and singing with ukuleles, students learn fundamentals of music while having fun and collaborating. There are a variety of instruments available for students to try out including: drum set, piano, guitar, bass, and ukulele. Mini units focus on topics such as music theory, classical composers, jazz, improvisation and composition. 

    For a special class session we'll cue up the karaoke and students can express themselves through song.
  • Art

    Continuous line drawings, drawings involving color study, foam core sculptures, soapstone carvings and clay slab building were some of the projects completed during the fall 2021 term. We spent time indoors and out and enjoyed each other's company and the creative process.
  • Eighth Grade Foundations for Makers

    In the 2021-22 school year, skills and techniques were introduced to give students the opportunity to explore different aspects of making. We cover areas such as design iterations, testing, digital design, and fabrication. Through this course, students will undertake projects that will push them to develop new skills, form a solid foundation to excel in project-based STEM courses, and enhance their capabilities to use digital fabrication tools to build their own projects.
  • English and History

    The English and history curriculum go hand in hand. Each term we thoughtfully choose a novel that goes along with the time in history we are studying. 

    In English this fall we read To Kill a Mockingbird which went along with our work with the Great Depression. In addition, each book is considered in terms of our school wide work with diversity, equity, and inclusion. Another important focus in 8th Grade English is the writing process, with both formal and informal writing. Our goal is these students will be very prepared for 9th Grade English.

    The 8th Grade History curriculum could vary year to year, but this year we have focused on world history from World War I - The Civil Rights Movement. Our attention is more on people and their impact on history, rather than battles and dates. Another element of 8th grade history is presentation skills. Students have bi-weekly current issues presentations, in addition to occasional presentations on the time of history we are studying.
  • Eighth Grade French

    We work to engage 8th grade students as they embark on a meaningful study of the French language. Through the present, passé récent and futur proche tenses, we learn conjugations and work to stretch our ability to write in French. Students explore and understand French history and culture through projects, crafts, and French cuisine. Our experiential curriculum ensures a strong foundation is set for speaking the language.

Jenn Doyle, P ’26

We were looking for the best educational fit for our son and Gould has proven to be a great fit both academically and socially. Our son feels he is part of a great learning community. He also really enjoys all of the varied extracurricular activities. We look forward to his high school experience and know he will be well prepared for ninth grade.

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  • Photo of Nancy Barstow

    "Nancy" Barstow 

    Eighth Grade and Winter Term Program Coordinator, English Teacher, Soccer Coach - Boys JV
    207-824-7874
Gould is a small, co-ed, independent boarding school for grades 8-PG.  We are passionate about preparing academically motivated students for college, helping them to become independent-minded, ethical citizens who will lead lives of purpose, action, excellence, and compassion in a dynamic world.