When asked what she loves about GCDS, one of our current sixth graders said, “It’s great that so many new students join us. I really admire their willingness to try something new.” Her words reflect how we feel as a community—and we’re excited that you and your family are thinking about GCDS!
Building character, confidence, and independence
We want you to have the opportunity to grow intellectually and be challenged by interesting projects and classes, while always feeling like you have the support of your teachers and classmates.
You’ll be encouraged to be creative and have fun. We believe that the best learning happens when learning is joyful and interesting and you can see why the things you are studying matter.
And every step of the way, your teachers will be there to take time to help you with a question—because even though your classes will be rigorous, we want to be sure you always feel supported.
And that extends beyond the classroom, too. Everyone here cares a lot about helping others and making everyone feel included—it’s part of the TIGER PRIDE values.
What are the academics like in the Middle School?
Everyone takes at least 5 core academic subjects (math, English, history, science, and a world language). There are lots of hands-on projects, discussions, debates, writing workshops, collaborative math challenges, and more. For the world language, you can choose between Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, French, and Latin.
Every student in the Middle School has a laptop, and technology is woven into all your studies. Additionally, there are specific technology and engineering courses. All sixth graders take technology class. Seventh and eighth graders study Introduction to Computer Science Principles. Everyone has the opportunity to learn coding skills, work on an entrepreneurial business idea, and discuss important ethical questions raised by technology advancements.
There is a lot of variety in projects and assignments. You might be building cable cars in science to test out principles of Newtonian physics, head to an English class for a Harkness-style class discussion on poetry, re-enact a key WWII battle in history, and then kick off math class with a blazing fast algebra team challenge.
Classes are challenging but there's a lot of support if you have questions. Students find the writing lab, study lab, and math lab helpful--and teachers are great about meeting with you to answer questions.
Are there trips?
Yes! In sixth grade, there is a fun trip to Princeton Blairstown Center for three days of team-building adventures on high ropes courses and climbing walls, as well as marshmallows around the campfire. At the beginning of the year, the eighth grade heads to D.C. for 3 days, and the seventh grade tackles a team-building water challenge on Long Island Sound.
There are also international travel opportunities connected with your World Language studies. Though full of fun, these trips are designed to be cultural and language study experiences that give you a broader sense of the world.