Middle School

Churchill Middle School

The Churchill Middle School is a nurturing, challenging, and structured learning community for students with language-based learning disabilities.  Students are encouraged to expand their academic knowledge while continuing to develop their organizational and study skills in preparation for high school.  They become more confident learners as they refine the skills needed to increase their level of academic independence, while also developing a strong sense of self and purpose. A tremendous focus is placed on individual growth and development while concurrently supporting students in understanding their role within a community. The middle school aims to foster the growth of the whole child in preparation for the demands of high school and beyond.

List of 1 members.

  • Photo of Gina Manes

    Gina Manes 

    Middle School Principal

Middle School Curriculum

List of 11 frequently asked questions.

  • Student Life

    Students learn either in whole class or small group settings. These various settings are designed to meet the individual needs, both social-emotional and academic, of each student. The learning process is inherently active — projects and hands-on experiences are interwoven throughout the middle school curriculum.  

    To further foster independence and growth, students in the middle school benefit from an extensive and ever-growing assistive technology program. Students have a 1:1 iPad program. The heart of the school day focuses on studies in English and literacy, history, math, and science, with additional specialized instruction in art, music, computers, physical education, and health and human relations.

    Students are encouraged to be active members of their communities and pursue their passions and interests. Several activities are offered throughout the school year, such as overnight trips, as well as day trips to local museums and parks. Budding student athletes can participate in several after school sports teams, including volleyball, cross country, basketball, track, and softball. Within the regular school day, the student council works diligently to bring events to the student body. On Friday afternoons, middle school teachers offer several “club” options. For students interested in the performing arts, the middle school offers a winter musical and spring series of “one act” plays.
  • Speech & Language

    Churchill School offers Speech/Language Therapy to middle school students in grades 6, 7, and 8. The expected outcome is to maximize each individual student’s language function for academic success while simultaneously promoting appropriate social verbal communication behavior.

    At the 6th grade level, students receive language therapy in a pull-out model with a maximum group size of 6 students and one therapist.  These groups provide structured practice for each of the individuals in learning, utilizing and revising language. The activities include, but are not limited to: conversational management, pre-planning and organizing ideas to prepare for oral presentations, formulating complete/cohesive paragraphs, evaluating and revising areas of language breakdowns, and developing compensatory strategies in order to foster future independence.
    At the 7th and 8th grade levels, Speech/Language Therapy is initiated through a push-in model. Treatment is provided within English classes via a collaboration between teachers and the clinician. The classroom curriculum is utilized in order to maximize generalizability of learned skills and strategies. The focus of therapy includes oral and written language skill development through planning, executing and evaluating language effectiveness in a variety of discourse experiences.

    Initially, new students are screened and/or undergo a more comprehensive speech/language evaluation according to need. Decisions for inclusion in therapy are made based on the results of evaluation, observation of the students in the classroom, and teacher/parent reports. Parents may contact their therapist with any questions or concerns at any time.

  • Technology Program

    The Middle School technology program supports students knowledge as it relates to creativity, design, digital citizenship, engineering, and the arts. Using a spiral method, students are reinforced with digital citizenship and media literacy lessons and skills throughout their middle school careers. Students discuss the following topics: appropriate use of digital devices, the role of digital media in society, and the benefits of technological advances.

    The Churchill School Makerspace allows students to develop projects related to design engineering, animation, robotics, crafting and art. Our goal in the Makerspace is to allow the students space and time to fuel their creativity and develop innovative products. In conjunction with the Makerspace, students learn about block-based programming, software vs. hardware development, careers in technology, and web design. Integrating these concepts into the technology program helps to foster students’ independence, perseverance, collaboration, critical thinking, and communication. By working together or independently through challenging tasks, students learn how to integrate their knowledge base into technological strategies.

    Lastly, students receive support with assistive technology. The tools students use include Learning Ally, Bookshare, speech-to-text, and text-to-speech. We aim to improve student outcomes by helping them learn these technologies and integrate them into their work flow.
  • Visual Arts Program

    Building on previous knowledge, the Middle School Visual Arts curriculum is designed to expose students to new media, techniques, and processes, and develop the critical thinking skills necessary to gain a richer understanding of the world of art.

    Each year, students work in a variety of 2D and 3D media including drawing, painting, collage, printmaking, ceramics, as well as various sculpture media. Art History is interwoven throughout projects to enhance students' understanding of the many ways the arts are a reflection of the world.

    Art projects at the Middle School level are process oriented. Risk taking and "outside the box" thinking are encouraged as students become more confident, not only in their mastery of techniques and materials, but in their problem solving skills as well. The problem/solution nature of assignments allows room for experimentation and results in a vast diversity of responses to any given project. In this context, students have the freedom to express their own independent artistic vision. Additionally, we design collaborative projects throughout the school year in tandem with academic classes. This serves to enhance students’ learning in an academic setting, highlight the interconnectedness of all the subjects, and place the visual arts as an important and indispensable part of the human experience.
  • English Program

    The Middle School English curriculum builds skills students use across all content areas with focus placed on transferring greater independence to all Middle School students.  Students develop skills in decoding, comprehension, writing, and discussion. Since these skills are used in all subjects, all Middle School teachers collaborate to maintain consistency in our language and instruction. As students transition from grade to grade, consistent language helps them to generalize and apply strategies.

    Teachers use various programs to address decoding needs with a focus on understanding parts of words so that vocabulary and encoding are addressed.  Students are taught a variety of comprehension skills helping them to self-monitor, ask questions, and analyze information. Some strategies used throughout the middle school are annotating, question answer relationship, and note taking with student created graphic organizers. These strategies are highly structured and scaffolded, breaking reading comprehension into small and manageable tasks. These modifications enable all students to independently complete their work to the best of their ability.  

    The writing curriculum combines elements of Writing Workshop and EmPOWER.  Together these programs provide students with a foundation of skills for different genres of writing and a process to follow that works for all types of writing.  Skills are taught through mini lessons and students apply what they have learned in authentic writing tasks. Each step and element of writing, from drafting and revising to topic sentences and conclusion paragraphs, is addressed in a systematic way that can be scaffolded for individual students.  Discussion skills are taught in small groups where students often pose questions themselves or use their annotations to fuel conversations.

    Students arepresented with material in a variety of ways: text, images, and audio/visual, which provides multiple points of entry and practice with modes of presentation that are accessible and challenging. Class structure includes but is not limited to direct instruction, independent work, partner work, cooperative learning groups, and small group and class discussion. Teachers are also prepared to differentiate instruction according to students’ needs.
  • Math Program

    Through the vehicle of mathematics, we teach students problem solving skills, reasoning skills, perseverance, independence and help them develop more confidence. The Churchill Middle School uses the Math In Focus curriculum. Math in Focus was developed based on the Singapore Math approach; first presenting mathematical concepts using concrete manipulatives, then requiring students to represent these concepts using pictures before finally introducing the abstract symbols.

    The middle school curriculum builds on the algebraic thinking developed in the K-5 curriculum, and teaches them the structures which prepare students for the procedural fluency necessary for success in high school mathematics. The program provides our school with a research-based scope and sequence and consistent structure, while allowing our teachers to adapt lessons to meet the needs and styles of our students at Churchill.   
  • Science Program

    The Churchill Middle School Science department practices a student-centered, hands-on, and multimodal approach to learning that makes classes fun and exploratory. Ensuring that students gain skills and knowledge to become scientifically literate and socially aware members of society, classes use lab work, technology, and group work to investigate scientific principles and processes, while exploring how science is relevant in their own lives. Each student actively learns by building, researching, and experimenting.
    In sixth grade students explore how concepts of chemistry, such as energy and matter, are present in their everyday lives. We learn about middle school science skills, review measurement, and lab safety through conducting experiments with common household chemicals. Students develop science communication skills by learning how to conduct research and presenting their work. Models will be constructed to further our understanding of a concept. We also examine the relationship between chemistry and the environment by analyzing current events.  

    In seventh grade students focus on life science. Starting with microbiology and the study of what is living and nonliving up to macrobiology, ecology, and the amazing process of evolution. Fun labs and activates involve students extracting DNA, building cookie cell models, dissections, and work with a team of NYU neuroscientists for their annual brain and nervous system presentations. During the second half of the year, we start Green Science to teach students about nutrition, botany, and sustainability by cooking up some healthy, local dishes using plants grown in the school garden.

    The eighth grade students get the opportunity to explore the world of physics with hands-on labs involving heat, light, sound, gravity, and various types of motion. They complete activities like the egg drop and paper airplane lab to explore the properties of aerodynamics. The eighth graders also partake in the annual Churchill Science Conference, getting the opportunity to design, test, analyze, and share their own original experiments with the community to demonstrate the application of the scientific method.

    All of our classes take advantage of the great opportunities New York City has to offer with annual field trips to the Hall of Science, Liberty Science Center, the Museum of Natural History, and other great experiential learning outside of the classroom.
  • Social Studies Program

    In Middle School Social Studies we learn about the events, people, and ideas that define American Social Studies. We begin in the sixth grade with a short unit on the theories of how humans came to the Western Hemisphere and then a study of the Native Americans. We move through a history of slavery, the American Revolution, the Constitution, how government works, the Civil War, the First World War, Immigration, the Civil Rights Movement and into the 20th Century by 8th grade.

    Middle School Social Studies also consists of learning about gathering and organizing information. We provide specialized books and other learning opportunities allowing students to learn accuracy and thoroughness in how they gather and organize information. We spend a good deal of time teaching how to choose pertinent information and the different ways it can be organized into notes. We try as much as possible to teach students independence and provide them with different perspectives on history in order to form their own opinions on events and ideas.

    For most lessons, we have whole class or small group discussion about the information gathered that day. Participation in discussions is an important skill for history and part of their grade. Each student gets a chance to lead a small group discussion several times a year.

    A very important component of history is the ability to read and create maps. Geography and history go hand in hand as many historical events have a connection to or relationship with the land. The students investigate how the land and its natural resources play a role in most historical events and how it has shaped current events.
  • Mental Health Support Services

    The mental health clinicians provide direct services to all students in many ways throughout the day. Weekly, structured “Health and Human Relations” (HHR) groups, social skills sessions for younger students, support and affinity groups in each division, and “drop-in” visits all provide Churchill students with a safe space to explore a range of feelings or problem-solve about tricky situations and help them make good choices. The psychologists and social workers provide ongoing consultation with school staff to support the students in the classroom. With a focus on prevention, we continually introduce additional strategies that offer students and teachers relief from the stress that builds up during a typical day. Churchill parents are our partners in fostering the growth and development of our young charges. To this end, the Mental Health Support Services team offers events and resources for our parents. Monthly Parent Support groups or Parent Forums are held for each division. We provide information, articles, suggestions, and referrals as needed. Helpful “tips” are provided on the Churchill website, in weekly “Mental Health Mondays” videos and in newsletters. 

    Orit Goldhamer, PsyD, Middle School Psychologist 
    Ciara Vitiello, LCSW, Middle School Social Worker  
  • Physical Education & Athletics

    The Middle School Physical Education program provides students with an in-depth approach to team sports through skill development and progressive drills, culminating with modified game-play.  Churchill students participate in traditional team sports such as soccer, volleyball, touch football, basketball, ultimate frisbee, floor hockey, and whiffle ball; racquet sports such as pickleball and badminton; and international sports such as European Handball and rugby.  Cooperative activities and playground games are also offered at times throughout the year.

    Each class begins with a fitness component, incorporating jogging, strength exercises, and stretching as a warm-up for the day's activities.  Additionally, all students have the option of using the cardiovascular exercise room for each PE class, where they can use treadmills, stationary bicycles, and elliptical machines.  Teamwork, sportsmanship, positive social interactions, and the development of self-confidence and leadership skills are emphasized above all else. 
  • Music & Performing Arts

    The Churchill Performing Arts Department is committed to celebrating the uniqueness of each of our students through the exploration of the arts across all divisions, K-12. 
    As a multi-divisional department, we strive to create a collaborative environment for our students; where individual ideas are valued, and hard work and commitment result in an unparalleled sense of accomplishment and an even greater appreciation of the performing arts. 
    We encourage our students to learn from those who are different from ourselves by exposing them to stories, histories and music that enrich their understanding of the world around them. 
    Our curriculum scaffolds learning from elementary school through high school. In Elementary School we lay foundations of rhythm, melody, harmony, dance, coordination and foster student creativity. In Middle School, we dig deeper into developing musicianship and performing capabilities. In High School we offer rigorous courses in which students can develop necessary skills to pursue performing arts as a career.
    Each Division presents numerous productions over the course of each year, including dramatic plays, musicals, band concerts, showcases and small group music concerts. The courses offered are:
    Middle School
    General Music Classes
    Advanced Band
    Performing Arts Classes
    A Winter Musical – a music and performing arts integration
    Band and Performing Arts Field Trips
    For more information on Churchill’s Performing Arts Department, please, feel free to reach out to the Department Chair, Aaron Fisher, ext 3401, who can answer your questions and connect you to the necessary faculty.