Grades 6-8

Middle School

Middle School Departments Philosophy

Pillars Preparatory Academy will have a small school environment where students have access to individual atten­tion from teachers and the administration, which improves student outcomes, grades and test scores. Thanks to our moderate class sizes, teachers can modify lessons and uti­lize different pedagogical techniques to cater to the individual styles of learning. The Curriculum of Pillars Preparatory Academy offers students an opportunity to study a rigorous curriculum. Standardized testing is a focal point of the Curriculum. SAT Preparation courses are offered starting from 9th Grade. AP and Honor courses will be offered for those who have excelled at advanced pace. Our low student to teacher ratio and supporting envi­ronment, allow for teachers to work together with students, parents and administrators to ensure that each student maximizes his/her true potential.

College preparation begins in the 8th grade, enabling middle school students to obtain High School credits and to take PSATs in order to create an individualized plan which will yield the highest score possible in the SATs. Instilling a rigorous curriculum will prepare our graduates to meet the academic expectations of top colleges. Dual enroll­ment program, AP courses and honor classes will bring the college atmosphere to Pillars Prep Academy. Stu­dents will learn from highly qualified teach­ers. The teacher dynamic ranges from in­ternationally educated and domestically educated individuals. This allows for a highly diversified staff, which in turn mirrors the diversity of our student body.

English Language Arts

Department Head: Rhonda Moustafa / Eman Osman

Department Philosophy
The English Department strives to create a rigorous and academically challenging curriculum. The Department aims to foster creativity in students who read closely, write precisely, collaborate effectively, reflect purposefully, and solve problems ethically. To that end, students will be exposed to various literary works that will expand their views of the world. It is our hope that students will look at the world with a 360 degree lens. The English faculty is committed to developing communication skills in students that will enable them to be successful in college and beyond. We want students to develop their own unique voices and to understand the importance of literature and language in their everyday lives and find personal connections to the texts that enhance their understanding of themselves and the world.

In our English classes, the English Department and our students are called upon to think and ask why? Through our exploration of literature and the development of our voices through our oral and written works, we aspire to make the world a better place. We will read short stories, novels, plays, fiction, and non-fiction. We will hone our grammar and writing skills through various writing assignments including narratives and essays. We will share our thoughts and ideas with our classmates while sharpening our speaking skills through speeches and presentations.

Standards
Course List with a short description of each course and course prerequisite, if any: www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/

6th Grade English Language Arts

Program Overview
Six Grade English Language Arts. This course is designed in alignment with the New Jersey Common Core Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy. The course creates a holistic approach to language and literacy study for students in enabling them to explore the connections among reading, writing, speaking and listening. The Language Arts program is an integrated program. Various forms of classic and contemporary literature will be read. There is emphasis on basic skills, study skills, English grammar (usage and mechanics), vocabulary, spelling, literary concepts, note taking, writing techniques and styles (penmanship), research skills, reading strategies & comprehension, and speaking & listening skills.

Program Learning Goals & Objectives
Students will be able to:

  • Cite textual evidence to support literary interpretations and inferences.
  • Determine the theme or central idea of a text.
  • Identify literary elements and determine their thematic contributions to a text.
  • Determine the meaning of unfamiliar words in context.
  • Analyze in detail how a key individual, event, or idea is introduced, illustrated and elaborated in a text.
  • Compose a five-paragraph persuasive essay with a well-developed central argument and topic sentences that reference literature.
  • Compose a narrative essay​ which develops real or imagined circumstances using effective techniques, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.

7th Grade English Language Arts

Program Overview
The seventh grade course focuses on development of the various advanced skills and strategies necessary for success in the classes which follow. In literature, students will read and discuss challenging reading material. In writing, students will compose quality papers. In vocabulary, students will develop growth and precision in word choice. This class will foster the academic curiosity and intellectual development that are integral to continued success in the program. Students will engage in close reading and analysis of short stories, novels, plays, fiction, and non-fiction. They will hone their grammar and writing skills through various writing assignments including narratives and essays. Students will share their thoughts and ideas with classmates while sharpening their speaking skills through formal speeches and presentations.

Program Learning Goals & Objectives
Students will be able to:

  • Use appropriate terminology to discuss developing abilities in personal language learning and use
  • Listen and respond constructively to alternative ideas or opinions
  • Apply flexibly, knowledge of phonics, sight vocabulary, structural analysis, language, and context clues
  • Enhance vocabulary through a systemic program of study
  • Analyze plot development in a literary work.
  • Discuss the relevancy and appropriateness of sources for a particular topic
  • Use grammar correctly for fluency of writing
  • Present ideas and opinions confidently during group discussions

8th Grade English Language Arts

Program Overview
Eighth grade ELA. This course combines the study of reading, writing, speaking, and listening. The course will include an intensive composition unit teaching multiple paragraph writing, preparation and presentation of speeches and discussions, vocabulary development, and instruction in and application of mechanics. This course is intended to prepare students for success in high school.

Program Learning Goals & Objectives
Students will be able to:

  • Cite textual evidence to support analysis of text
  • Determine the theme or central idea of a text
  • Identify what dialogue lends to characterization
  • Compose a five-paragraph narrative, persuasive, and expository essay
  • Create, compose, and present an oral presentation

Science Department

Department Head: Israa Elhalim

Department Philosophy
The goal of the science program at Pillars Prep Academy is to achieve scientific literacy and acquire science skills through hands on experience. A scientifically literate society is crucial to our increasingly complex and technological world.

Pillars Prep Academy students will be exposed to the rigors of scientific process skills (i.e. making observations, collection of data, formulation of hypotheses, predictions, experimental design, data interpretation, formulation of conclusions and theories) that provide a basic foundation for discovery in nature. All students, in all grades, deserve continuing and meaningful science instruction.

Standards
Read about the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), the science content standards followed by Pillars Preparatory Academy: www.nextgenscience.org

6th Grade Science

Program Overview
This integrated science course aims to promote curiosity and a sense of wonder, encourage lifelong exploration, and provide a foundation for understanding the natural world. In addition to exploring the nature of science, matter and energy the students are immersed in the study of earth, space and life systems.

Program Learning Goals & Objectives
Learning goals and objectives of science revolve around students applying and actively engaging in the following scientific behaviors as they develop and expand their knowledge of the world of science:

  • scientific inquiry
  • observation
  • experimenting
  • measuring and gathering data
  • problem solving
  • using tools of science
  • hands on lab activities

7th Grade Science

Program Overview
The seventh grade integrated science course builds upon the content knowledge and scientific skills learned and developed in the sixth grade science course. A seamless transition between the two courses of study allows for the continued development of a multi-layered knowledge base of life science. Additionally, the students also study matter, energy, universe and motion. As with all other science courses at Pillars Preparatory Academy, the seventh grade science course revolves around student centered learning in an environment that fosters scientific inquiry.

Program Learning Goals & Objectives
In this course, through scientific investigation, students are given the opportunity to expand their knowledge to better understand and explain the phenomena they observe in the world around them. Additionally, the main focus of this course is on scientific method usage and exploration.

8th Grade Science

Program Overview
This integrated eighth grade science course provides an overview of physical science concepts, earth science concepts and life science concepts. Topics of study within this course consist of motion, energy, matter, universe, geological changes, ecology, heredity and systems of the human body. Standards based curriculum that embeds the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), affords the students opportunities to continually develop their systematic investigation skills and conduct research throughout the academic year via experimentation and literature reviews from both written and electronic resources.

Program Learning Goals & Objectives
The eight grade science program revolves around the following goals and objectives for all learners:

  • ability to ask questions
  • observation
  • inquiry
  • self-discovery
  • cooperative learning
  • communication

Math Department

Department Head: Safia Haddam

Department Philosophy
We believe in creating learning environments where students practice and acquire the knowledge of mathematics. We believe that students should be able to Proficiently apply a range of numerical, algebraic, geometric, and statistical concepts and the skills to formulate, analyze, and solve real world problems. The learning environment will facilitate inquiry, use of technology and the exploration of real world phenomena. It will support continuous development of mathematical Skills and the appreciation of mathematics as a discipline. Our mathematics Program seeks to graduate students who will possess a sense of numbers, data Analysis, spatial relationships, symbolic representations, and the ability to Communicate mathematics with others.

Standards
Pillars Preparatory Academy offers courses, all college preparatory, at all levels.
www.corestandards.org/Math/

Grade 6

Program Overview
As a middle school, we aim for all our middle school students to successfully complete Algebra 1 as eighth graders.  With that, our 6th grade math class follows the Common Core Course 2 Standards.   We emphasize the development of introductory algebraic and geometric skills.  We start the year with a comprehensive review of decimals and fractions, followed by units on proportionate reasoning with a major focus on percentages.  In the second half of the year will introduce some fundamental geometric principles.  Lastly, we finish the year with a look at data interpretation and probability.

Program Learning Goals & Objectives
Our goal for our all our students is for them to become excellent problem solvers and independent thinkers that are willing to take academic risks and learn from their mistakes.  We accomplish this with the incorporation of group learning and hands on activities.  Students are continually measured for understanding through the use of technology, games, and regular standard based assessments.

We aim for our 6th graders to graduate with the skills necessary to successfully master the pre-algebra skills covered in the 7th grade. Our sixth grade students will become highly efficient at computing arithmetic expressions involving multiple operations with integers, decimals, exponents, and percents.  They will also begin to develop vital algebraic skills, such as writing and solving algebraic equations and proportions.  Our 6th graders also learn many real life applications in regards to proportions and percentages.  In the third marking period, our student begin to build their geometric foundations learning to work effectively with angles, area, and volume.  Lastly, our students will learn to organize, display, and interpret data and data measurements during our statistics unit.  By the end of the year, the sixth grade class will have the content knowledge to begin pre-algebra in their seventh grade year.

Grade 7

Program Overview
With the goal of having all our 8th graders taking Algebra 1, we treat our 7th grade math class as a Pre-Algebra course following the Common Core Course 3 Math Standards.  We begin the year with a comprehensive review of proportional relationships, inequalities, and complex applications of percent.  We then officially begin our pre-algebra course with our study of the rational and irrational number sets focusing on square and cube roots, as well as the application of the Pythagorean Theorem.  Then we continue to build our algebraic skills working with multi-step equations, rate of change, and linear functions.  In the second half of the year, we start with properties of exponents, including scientific notations.  We then move on to our units on geometry, strengthening previously learned content, as well as introducing theorems dealing with parallel lines, similar and congruent figures, transformations and three dimensional objects.  We wrap it all up with a study of transformations

Program Learning Goals & Objectives
We aim for all our students to become excellent problems solvers.  To develop the knowledge and skills need for this, we use a range of instructional and assessment techniques including online programs, student response systems, group learning activities, projects and regular assessments.  By the end of 7th grade, we expect our students to be able to solve any linear equation they may see in Algebra 1.  They will also be able to solve problems involving slope-intercept form including modeling real world situations in a linear form. Our students will be able to apply both the product and quotient properties of exponents, as well as perform operations with numbers in scientific notation.  Students will be able to find missing measurements involving angle measures, lengths, area, and volume.  Lastly students will be able to organize data, calculate measures of central tendency, and interpret data displays to solve problems.  With the successful completion of 7th grade math, our students will be fully prepared to master Algebra 1 in 8th grade.

Grade 8

Program Program Overview
We aim to continue to have every one of our 8th graders taking Algebra 1. We follow the Common Core Algebra 1 Standards and use the Pearson Common Core textbook. We begin the year with a brief overview of the essential pre-algebra skills acquired during their sixth and seventh grade years. We continue to master solving equations and inequalities, now incorporating absolute value equations and inequalities. We then spend the major part of the second marking period studying linear equations, graph, and models. The next stop is a compressive unit on systems of linear equations and inequalities, followed by a study of the properties of exponents. In the fourth marking period, we begin multiplying polynomials, factoring solving quadratics, and graphing parabolas. We finish up units on radicals, and probability.

Program Learning Goals & Objectives
By the end of our 8th grade Algebra 1 course, we expect our students to become master problems solving able to apply concepts from many different areas and applying them appropriately to solve a range of higher level problems. We accomplish this with a rigorous course load which demands mastery of content by each and every student. Our student will be able to solve a range of advanced equations or system with one or more variables. They will be able to apply models to describe the relationship between two quantities and use these models to solve real world problems. Students will be able to graph any linear function and a quadratic equation in standard form. Lastly, students will be able to apply principles of probability to find the likelihood of one or more independent or independent events occurring. We have found that our students are performing exceptionally well.

Social Studies Department

Department Head: Rhonda Moustafa / Eman Osman

Department Philosophy
Our philosophy in Social Studies is an education that provides students the environment and tools to gain and apply historical knowledge and to hone their skills as indicated below.

Standards
National Social Studies Standards:
http://downloads.ncss.org/NCSSTeacherStandardsVol1-rev2004.pdf

Goals for Students

  • To develop skills for perceptive reading, critical thinking, summarizing, and intelligent
    articulation.
  • To develop the ability to use and conduct research in primary materials.
  • To develop an awareness and appreciation for other cultures.
  • To expose students to a wide variety of historical approaches.
  • To help students deal with the present and future by studying the past patterns and trends of human activity.
  • To analyze the ever-changing, global issues of our world.
  • To become aware of their roles as citizens in society and prepare to participate actively, competently, and productively.

World History I

This course will focus on the broader view of the world around us and of meaning to our place in this global village. Some key topics covered in this course include on a more in-depth level than 6th grade: The Four Early Civilizations (Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, India), The Mesoamerican Civilizations, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Early Africa, the Middle East, The Middle Ages, and The Renaissance.

World History II

Prerequisite: World History I

This course will focus on World History starting from the 17th Century. The focus of the course will be regional and linear. We will have units that focus on Europe for a brief period of time, then switch to Asia for roughly the same period of time, then to Africa and the Americas. The course will also focus heavily on cross cultural themes and interaction between groups of people and how world history is becoming increasingly closer as we enter the age of globalization.

Middle School Technology

Grade 6

Program Overview
Students are to be educated on utilizing a variety of  basic computer applications online (Google Classroom, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides) and on PC. The various computer applications will enable students to conduct scholarly and personal research, create professional documents and presentations, collaborate via digital environments, as well as manage information effectively and efficiently.

Exposure to programming will also be important thread in this course. Programming thread of the course will include basic HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Projects will be given at the level of students and necessary help will be supplied.

Program Learning Goals & Objectives

  • Students will be able to use online applications collaboratively, and they will be able to create a simple website using web development languages they have learned.
  • Students will leave the course with a strong digital applications foundation and programming experience which will enhance their academic performance throughout their pursuit of education.

Grade 7

Program Overview
Students are to be educated on utilizing a variety of  basic computer applications online (Google Classroom, Google Docs, Google Forms, Google Sheets, Google Slides, and Google Sites) and on PC. The various computer applications will enable students to conduct scholarly and personal research, create professional documents and presentations, collaborate via digital environments, as well as manage information effectively and efficiently.

Exposure to programming will also be important thread in this course. Programming thread of the course will include basic HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Projects will be given at the level of students and necessary help will be supplied.

Program Learning Goals & Objectives

  • Students will be able to use online applications collaboratively, and they will be able to create a simple website using web development languages they have learned.
  • Students will leave the course with a strong digital applications foundation and programming experience which will enhance their academic performance throughout their pursuit of education.

Grade 8

Program Overview
Students are to be educated on utilizing a variety of computer applications online (Google Drive, Google Classroom, Google Apps, Google Docs, Google Forms, Google Sheets, Google Slides, Google Drawings, and Google Sites) and on PC. The various computer applications will enable students to conduct scholarly and personal research, create professional documents and presentations, collaborate via digital environments, as well as manage information effectively and efficiently.

Exposure to programming will also be important thread in this course. Programming thread of the course will include basic HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Projects will be given at the level of students and necessary help will be supplied.

Program Learning Goals & Objectives

  • Students will be able to use online applications collaboratively, and they will be able to create a simple website using web development languages they have learned.
  • Students will leave the course with a strong digital applications foundation and programming experience which will enhance their academic performance throughout their pursuit of education.

Middle School Art

Grade 6

Program Overview
At Pillars students are able to express themselves through visual arts. In art class, students work with various mediums such as drawing, painting, pastels, collage, mixed media and three-dimensional art. Students study and create projects related to several artists and periods of art history. They also create projects related to the Elements of Art and Principles of Design. The sixth grade curriculum is in alignment with the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards for grade 6.

Program Learning Goals & Objectives
Students build on skills acquired in fifth grade and acquire new knowledge and skills in the sixth grade. Skills this year include learning to measure and work with cut paper to create woven paper projects and mosaics. Students will discover Egyptian Art and create a scratch board of King Tut. New Principles of Design are discussed such as pattern while creating multicultural projects such as “Henna Art” and “Mexican Art.” All sixth graders take art twice per week. Sixth graders may also join Middle School art club which meets twice per week.

Grade 7

Program Overview
At Pillars students are able to express themselves through visual arts. In art class, students work with various mediums such as drawing, painting, pastels, collage, mixed media and three dimensional art. Students study and create projects related to several artists and periods of art history. They also create projects related to the Elements of Art and Principles of Design. The seventh grade curriculum is in alignment with the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards for grade seven.

Program Learning Goals & Objectives
Students build on skills acquired in fifth and sixth grade and acquire new knowledge and skills in the seventh grade. Seventh grade students focus on good craftsmanship such as creating “decoupage”, which is a type of collage created on an object such as a plate or bowl. Art history projects include creating Greek vases, using ancient designs and traditional colors of terra cotta and black. New vocabulary includes “form” which students demonstrate by creating 2-dimensional as well as 3-dimensional vases. New Principles of Design are introduced such as emphasis and contrast, with projects such as “Illuminated Letters” which are letters created with metallic pencils on black paper. All seventh graders take art twice per week. Seventh graders may also join Middle School Art Club which meets twice per week.

Grade 8

Program Overview
At Pillars students are able to express themselves through visual arts. In art class, students work with various mediums such as drawing, painting, pastels, collage, mixed media and three dimensional art. Students study and create projects related to several artists and periods of art history. They also create projects related to the Elements of Art and Principles of Design. The eighth grade curriculum is in alignment with the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content State Standards for grade eight.

Program Learning Goals & Objectives
Students build on skills acquired in sixth and seventh grade and acquire new knowledge and skills in the eighth grade. Skills include being able to create depth, light, and shadow in a landscape painting. Students will discover the Art of the Middle Ages and will create their own “Coat of Arms” which was used to identify families, and is still seen today. Art History projects focus on Modern Art such as learning about Georgia O’Keeffe close-up flowers, and Mondrian’s abstract art while discussing art terms such as geometric and organic. Students will be able to identify realistic, abstract, and expressionistic art. All eighth graders take art twice per week. Eighth graders may also join Middle School art club which meets twice per week.

Middle School Physical Education

Grade 6

Program Overview
Our 6th grade Physical Education classes consist of various sports skills, tactical approaches to sport and fitness, while creating a cognitive/problem-solving environment, where the student physically responds to such factors. Our Physical Education curriculum consists of units that each student can enter at a similar skill level, therefore not giving any particular student a physical edge when starting a unit, while are learning each new skill for the first time, creating an equal opportunity environment. We expect full participation, preparation, and skills built from a consistent progression.

Program Learning Goals & Objectives
Our goals and objectives for 6th grade physical education are based on each particular unit, yet all have similar foundations. We want each student to practice and master the necessary skills to be successful in each particular unit of coverage. We cover the tactical approaches for each given unit, which opens the door to creative thinking on the part of the student and gives themselves for options to do what is best for them individually to be physically active. Our students are set up with activities, and given rules that will specifically influence team work, communicating with peers, and using previously learned skills to be successful in the given activity. Each grade level, though may be covering the same sport/fitness component, is taught it to the developmentally appropriate grade level. Every year consists of a deeper set of skills, use of strategies and critical thinking, and depends more heavily on communication with peers.

Grade 7

Program Overview
Our 7h grade Physical Education classes consist of various sports skills, tactical approaches to sport and fitness, while creating a cognitive/problem-solving environment, where the student physically responds to such factors. Our Physical Education curriculum consists of units that each student can enter at a similar skill level, therefore not giving any particular student a physical edge when starting a unit, while are learning each new skill for the first time, creating an equal opportunity environment. We expect full participation, preparation, and skills built from a consistent progression. The 7th grade school year is the first for middle school students where they do not share a PE class with another grade level, therefore at this point, have elevated expectations as it pertains to skills, problem-solving, and effective communication to achieve a common goal.

Program Learning Goals & Objectives
Our goals and objectives for 7th grade physical education are based on each particular unit, yet all have similar foundations. We want each student to practice and master the necessary skills to be successful in each particular unit of coverage. We cover the tactical approaches for each given unit, which opens the door to creative thinking on the part of the student, and gives themselves for options to do what is best for them individually to be physically active. Our students are set up with activities, and given rules that will specifically influence team work, communicating with peers, and using previously learned skills to be successful in the given activity. Each grade level, though may be covering the same sport/fitness component, is taught it to the developmentally appropriate grade level. 7th grade Physical Education will depend more heavily on teamwork, involving others in the group to work towards a common goal, and the student devise plans to put into action based on their own reasoning.

Grade 8

Program Overview
Our 8h grade Physical Education classes consist of various sports skills, tactical approaches to sport and fitness, while creating a cognitive/problem-solving environment, where the student physically responds to such factors. Our Physical Education curriculum consists of units that each student can enter at a similar skill level, therefore not giving any particular student a physical edge when starting a unit, while are learning each new skill for the first time, creating an equal opportunity environment. We expect full participation, preparation, and skills built from a consistent progression. The 8th grade students are fully prepared for high school Physical Education from a skills, teamwork, communication, and fitness standpoint.

Program Learning Goals & Objectives
Our goals and objectives for 8th grade physical education are based on each particular unit, yet all have similar foundations. We want each student to practice and master the necessary skills to be successful in each particular unit of coverage. We cover the tactical approaches for each given unit, which opens the door to creative thinking on the part of the student and gives themselves for options to do what is best for them individually to be physically active. We emphasize all of the major components of Physical Education with our 8th grade group, as well as have the utmost expectations as the eldest of the middle school class. All major skills for each unit of coverage over their middle school years is expected to be mastered and are fully prepared for their future physical education classes in high school. We expect our students to have a full command of teamwork, working with their peers, communicating effectively, devising plans of strategy, and setting roles to achieve common goals.

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Location: 34 Charles Street, South River, NJ 08882

Telephone: (732) 390-4200

Fax: (732) 613-1562

Email: admin@pillarsprep.com

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