Middle School


Middle School is a turning point for girls. Students here will become creative problem solvers, in and outside the classroom.

Forest Ridge girls think like scientists. Work is skills-driven, inquiry-based and hands-on, whether programming robots, coding or experimenting with 3D printers. Students will practice mathematical and analytical problem-solving and learn to take healthy risks through real-world application.

Forest Ridge girls gain a global perspective. Students review world religions, confront complex social justice issues and survey world history. Through the study of Latin and another language of their choice the girls explore studio and performing arts in a supportive and rigorous atmosphere.

Forest Ridge girls build essential communication and collaboration skills—listening, advocating and working together. They hone their written voice through writing workshops across disciplines and with a dedicated writing specialist shadowing through several grades.

Forest Ridge girls let go of “perfect” and focus on personal growth. The advisory program grows with each student, providing ongoing social-emotional encouragement. Supportive teachers model conviction that mistakes are opportunities to learn and constructive feedback propels each student forward. More than just academic fundamentals and study skills, girls learn about themselves in Middle School. It is a distinction that makes all the difference.

Forest Ridge is a place that sees people as individuals and gives each student opportunities to build on her strengths and stretch her perspective. It’s important to us to know the girls and to make sure they feel known by us. This is not a place where it’s cookie-cutter and everyone does the same thing.—Kathi Hand, School Principal

Academic Overview

List of 4 items.

  • 5th Grade Academic Overview

    Mathematics
    Throughout 5th Grade math, students will strengthen and extend their foundational skills with whole numbers, fractions and decimals while developing problem-solving strategies.
    • Placement in a section group is based on skill level and pacing needs; all Fifth Graders take 5th Grade integrated math.
    • Three section groups are offered.
    Science
    Students learn science by doing science, working to develop scientific skills and habits of mind.
    • Class is hands-on, experiential and collaborative.
    • Course covers the broad concepts of experimental science, including units on being a scientist, oceanography, weather, properties of matter and nutrition.
    • Students will gain foundational scientific skills and develop practices preparing them for the rest of middle school science, particularly emphasizing supporting claims with evidence.
    Social Studies
    Students will learn about the people and history of the United States by studying America’s past. These units will provide each student with an opportunity to recognize rights and responsibilities of citizenship, develop and apply critical thinking skills and further understand American heritage and ideals.
    • Units include U.S. geography, Europeans in the New World, early English settlements, the British colonies, the Freedom Documents, slavery, the American Revolution, manifest destiny and westward settlement and the Civil War.
    Reading and Writing
    In reading workshop, students learn how to approach, analyze, discuss and summarize complex fiction, poetry and non-fiction texts. In writing workshop, they learn strategies for becoming powerful writers across genres.
    • The workshop model in both reading and writing emphasizes process over product, growth over time, conferring with teachers, using teacher and peer feedback to revise, regular assessment and reflection and student choice in topics and books.
    • Regular one-on-one teacher assessment guides the students to choose appropriately challenging independent reading novels and book club novels.
    • Students will compose a wide range of written genres (narrative, poetry, non-fiction research writing and memoir).
    • Students refine writing skills, practice idea development, organization, word choice and mechanics.
    Creativity Lab
    In the Fabrication and Innovation Shop, students explore their creativity and expand their engineering skills.
    • Class gives students the opportunity to work on and get feedback about maker skills, teamwork and their growth mindset.
    • Students use the engineering design process to solve problems and design solutions, integrating a variety of technology and maker tools.
    • Communication Lab: Students practice communication strategies through hands-on, experiential activities in a workshop format.
    • Communication skills developed include: presentation skills, active listening, conflict resolution, understanding emotions, diminishing vs. powerful language and digital citizenship.
    Religion
    This class is an introduction to the basic beliefs and practices of Catholicism. Students are also introduced to the Sacred Heart tradition and what makes it unique.
    • Prayer experiences, community building and reflection are included.
    • Students practice using The Bible as a holy book reference. 
    • Class activities connect the learning to students’ experiences both in and out of school.
    Physical Education 
    Students build sports skills and habits that will support lifelong fitness.
    • Emphasis is on teamwork, sportsmanship and being a part of a supportive community.
    Fine Arts
    In each of the classes, students not only develop and express their own creativity, but they also take risks in a supportive environment and learn to embrace process over product.
    • Students take Studio Art in first semester and Music in second semester.
    • Students and families celebrate their creative growth with an evening concert and art show in the spring.
  • 6th Grade Academic Overview

    Mathematics
    Throughout each math course, students continue to develop their conceptual understanding, computational fluency, abstract reasoning and problem solving skills.
    • Courses offered are 6th Grade integrated math and pre-algebra. Total of four math sections.
    • Placement is based on skill level and pacing needs; most 6th Graders take integrated math.
    Science
    Students learn science by doing science, working to develop scientific skills and habits of mind.
    • Class is hands-on, experiential and collaborative.
    • Content covers key concepts of life science, including cells, ecology, genetics and evolution.
    • Each unit centers around a real-world case study and emphasizes making evidence-based claims.
    Social Studies
    Students study archaeology and how social scientists gather information about ancient people. 
    • Students explore how the past is interpreted through artifacts and written records.
    • They learn about the seven characteristics that historians use to classify a society as a civilization. 
    • The lenses of geography and traits of civilizations frame the study of the ancient civilizations of Egypt, India and China. 
    • Activities and projects immerse students in the cultures and civilizations studied.
    English/Writing
    Students read a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts, including memoirs, short stories, plays and poetry. They build their skills in both creative and academic writing, and they deepen their understanding of the writing process.
    • Students continue to strengthen their reading and analysis skills through shared reading, and they practice these skills with both shared and independent reading.
    • Students refine writing skills, practicing idea-development, organization, word choice and mechanics.
    • Students write, revise and publish in a writing workshop at least twice a year. Workshop emphasis is on the writing process and choice.
    Computer Science
    The dual purpose of the course is for girls to gain proficiency in using and maintaining their laptops and to develop foundational knowledge of how computers work.
    • Areas of study include an introduction to programming, software and hardware and how they interact, and the basics of binary.
    • The course emphasizes the skills of troubleshooting both hardware and software.
    • Students practice typing as their primary homework throughout the semester.
    Leadership
    Students learn leadership strategies through hands-on, experiential activities in a workshop format. Personal growth areas developed include: feedback as information, unhooking from praise and criticism, assertive communication skills, owning your strengths and stretches and recognizing and dealing with fear and perfectionism.

    Latin
    In Latin the students develop a foundation in learning languages that they can apply as they move into a 7th and 8th Grade international language program. Students are introduced to formal language study through grammar and vocabulary.
    • Students will be introduced to the grammar concepts of gender, noun/adjective agreement and verb conjugations, as well as study skills, memorization and test-taking skills specific to language study and vocabulary development will be introduced and reinforced.
    • Specific cultural background material about Roman culture and classical civilization is also provided throughout the course.
    Religion
    Religion class allows students time and structure to focus on their spiritual growth, particularly on their personal relationship with God and to build community with their classmates.
    • Areas of study include Sacred Heart identity, Hebrew Scriptures and world religions.
    • Students lead and participate in a variety of prayer and meditation experiences.
    Physical Education
    Students continue to build sports skills and habits that will support lifelong fitness.
    • Emphasis is on teamwork and sportsmanship.
    Fine Arts
    In each of the classes, students not only develop and express their own creativity, but they also take risks in a supportive environment and learn to embrace process over product.
    • All students take music first semester. Students select one course second semester from the following options: studio art, computer programming, video production or drama.
  • 7th Grade Academic Overview

    Mathematics
    Throughout each math course, students continue to develop their conceptual understanding, computational fluency, abstract reasoning and problem solving skills.
    • Courses offered: Pre-Algebra, Algebra I and/or Honors Algebra I.
    • Placement is based on skill level and pacing needs; most 7th graders take pre-algebra.
    • Total of four math sections.
    Science
    Students continue to actively engage in scientific inquiry skills and practice scientific habits of mind.
    • Class is hands-on, experiential and collaborative.
    • Content covers the concepts of earth science, primarily geology and astronomy.
    • Class activities emphasize active use of the scientific process, application of content knowledge to answer questions and development of evidence-based explanations.
    • Projects integrate engineering, technology and design thinking into our science curriculum.
    Social Studies
    Students learn to be informed global citizens as they survey world history through the lens of power. What gives power to groups and individuals? What consequences do we see to the use of power in specific times and places?
    • Units include human geography, boundaries & borders, imperialism & colonialism and communism.
    • Curriculum emphasizes critical thinking, writing and research skills, current events and geography.
    English/Writing
    Students read a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts. They build their skills in both creative and academic writing and deepen their understanding of the writing process.
    • Students strengthen their reading and analysis skills through writing and discussion about shared and independent reading.
    • Students refine writing skills across a variety of subjects, practicing idea-development, organization, word choice and mechanics.
    • Students write, revise and publish in several short workshops, which emphasize process, choice and goal-setting.
    International Language
    Students begin formal study of an international language. In 7th Grade, students complete one half of a high school level 1 course in their chosen language, and they complete the other half in 8th Grade.
    • French, Japanese, Mandarin and Spanish are offered, with sufficient enrollment.
    • Curriculum includes study of culture as well as language.
    • Daily practice and review are required to master course content. Mastery of content and skills in 7th and 8th Grades may allow a student to move into Level 2 of the language in 9th Grade.
    Religion
    Class focuses on the person of Jesus and the core values of Christianity that are expressed in his life and teachings.
    • Prayer experiences, community building and reflection are included.
    • Students learn about contemporary and historical figures who live out those core values.
    • Class activities connect the learning to students’ experiences both in and out of school.
    Physical Education
    Students continue to build sports skills and habits that will support lifelong fitness.
    • Emphasis is on teamwork and sportsmanship.
    Fine Arts
    In each of the classes, students not only develop and express their own creativity, but they also take risks in a supportive environment and learn to embrace process over product.
    • Courses offered include studio art, ceramics, maker lab, graphic design and drama.
    • Students select one course per semester.
  • 8th Grade Academic Overview

    Mathematics
    Throughout each math course, students continue to develop their conceptual understanding, computational fluency, abstract reasoning and problem solving skills
    • Courses offered: Algebra I or Honors Geometry.
    • Placement is based on skill level and pacing needs; most 8th Graders take algebra.
    • Total of five math sections.
    Science
    Students continue to actively engage in scientific inquiry skills and practice scientific habits of mind. Class is hands-on, experiential and collaborative.
    • Content covers the concepts of physical science, primarily physics and chemistry.
    • A health unit convers neuroscience and its applications for teenage learning and risk-management.
    • Class activities emphasize active use of the scientific process, application of content knowledge to answer questions and development of evidence-based explanations.
    • Projects integrate engineering, technology and design thinking into our science curriculum.
    Social Studies
    Students learn to be informed and engaged citizens through study of US history, Washington State history and government. Themes include purpose and structure of government, rights and American identity.
    • Units include The Constitution, 2016 presidential election, Lewis and Clark, Steven’s Treaties, immigration and women’s rights.
    • Homework, assessments and projects emphasize critical thinking, productive discussion, shifting perspectives, persuasive analytical writing, collaboration and connections to current events.
    • Students are encouraged to be active learners and stretch in their thinking.
    English/Writing
    Students read a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts, including short stories, essays, novels, plays and poetry. They build their skills in both creative and academic writing, and they deepen their understanding of the writing process. A year-long thematic focus explores identity, rights, and power.
    • Students continue to strengthen their reading, analysis and evaluation skills.
    • Students refine writing skills, practicing idea-development, organization, word choice and conventions.
    • Students expand their speaking and listening skills through small and large group discussion, seminar and collaborative assignments.
    • Students are expected to be active in learning, stretch their thinking, anticipate growth and embrace discomfort.
    International Language
    In 8th Grade, students complete the second half of a high school 1 course in their chosen language.
    • French, Japanese, Mandarin and Spanish are offered, with sufficient enrollment.
    • Curriculum includes study of culture as well as language.
    • Daily practice and review are required to master course content.  If a student chooses to continue with the same language in high school, it is their mastery of the content and skills in their chosen language at the end of 8th Grade that decides whether she is ready to move into Level 2 of that language in 9th Grade.
    • Significantly more investment (time and quality of studying) from 7th Grade.
    • Successful completion (at least 80% average over two years) may lead to 2nd year IL in 9th Grade.
    Religion
    Commitment to community service is the focal point of the eighth-grade religion program.  Class focuses on Catholic social teaching and the belief that each person is created in the image of God.  Every person from the moment of conception to natural death has inherent dignity and a right to living a life consistent with that dignity.
    • Students discover their own power for making a difference in the lives of others through community service.
    • Students examine the life of Jesus as our Sacred Heart model for living a life of justice, respect and love.
    • Students will explore the meaning behind Catholic traditions and Christian holidays.
    Physical Education
    Students continue to build sports skills and habits that will support lifelong fitness.
    • Emphasis is on teamwork and sportsmanship.
    Fine Arts
    In each of the classes, students not only develop and express their own creativity, but they also take risks in a supportive environment and learn to embrace process over product.
    • Courses offered include studio art, public speaking, maker lab, video production and computer programming.
    • Students select one course per semester.


4800 139th Avenue SE, Bellevue, WA 98006 | 425.641.0700