Middle Grades Curriculum

This curriculum is traditional in resting upon a foundation of vertical cohesion (skills taught in one grade will be built upon in the following grades) and the mastery of crucial academic skills. It is progressive in its emphasis on depth of learning over breadth of exposure, its project- and problem-based orientation and its interdisciplinary nature.

Core Curriculum

In the Upper Division’s middle grades program, grades six through eight, students start to move from studio to studio (classroom to classroom). Students acquire greater depth and proficiency in all their academic and co-curricular subjects, as well as an increasing emphasis on critical thinking. Assignments individualize opportunities for students to pursue their particular interests in depth, but within a common curriculum and skills base. Curricular emphasis is on building the core skills already mastered in earlier years.

  1. Reading: focus on awareness of argument and understanding of the different genres of literature
  2. Writing: building a three-paragraph essay
  3. Math: including Algebra I
  4. Science: earth science and ecology, biology, physics
  5. World Course

In the middle grades, the World Course is likely to overlap with standard offerings in history and science.

  1. History: an interdisciplinary approach. Topics could include American history and ancient or medieval civilizations
  2. Language: Chinese or Spanish, continuing the language studied in earlier grades, resulting in increasing proficiency
  3. Music
  4. Art
  5. Physical education and health and wellness; team sports at the Avenues gymnasium and at Chelsea Piers
  6. The school in the city: understanding Chelsea and New York

Students of this age do well working on projects with other students, so work in small teams on independent projects will be emphasized.

Older middle grades students will begin to have some of their classes, particularly in art and music, integrated with offerings in Chelsea and the city around the school.

A chart of the middle grades program curriculum is available here.

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Recent Articles from OPEN, our news and discussion blog

June 19, 2018

Why It’s Important to Read Books Not Everyone Likes

by Cherie Yanek, Upper Division Librarian


The American Library Association recently released their list of the top 10 books that were challenged in 2017 – and I must admit, a lot of those that made the list are some books I really enjoyed. More importantly, many of the books that made those lists are incredibly popular with our students.  

June 12, 2018

Learning to Describe People in Chinese

by Spencer Baron, Upper Division Chinese Teacher


Detailed description is one of the paramount skills in foundational Chinese. The more advanced a student becomes in their language facility, the more accurate and nuanced the description becomes.  

June 11, 2018

Congratulations to the Class of 2018!

by Jennette Mullaney


On Tuesday, June 5, the class of 2018 graduated from Avenues New York. They're moving on to great things, and we couldn't be happier for them.   

June 6, 2018

Student-Designed Carpets Being Sold for a Good Cause

by Jennette Mullaney


As part of a yearlong interdisciplinary project, Avenues 2nd graders have been working with Jan Kath gallery to design carpets. The students created designs based on radial symmetry, and the gallery’s artisans wove them—by hand—into gorgeous carpets.  

June 6, 2018

5th Graders Create Their Own Supermarket

by Rosalyn McCaine, Lower Division Art Teacher


This spring, the 5th graders have been creating paper mache food objects in art class. The goal was was to feature these food objects in a “community supermarket." And last week, the students installed their store, called Billy’s Art Mart, on the fifth floor of our school.   ​​ 


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