Holland Hall offers our transformative Middle School experience to students earlier than other schools. At Holland Hall, we think fourth-graders are ready to tackle more complex ideas taught by subject specialists earlier. Students from other schools can seamlessly enter in any grade, with many students coming to Holland Hall in sixth grade.
Students leave our Middle School tackling increasingly sophisticated academic tasks — grappling with complex problems, posing nuanced arguments and working collaboratively while also learning to increasingly think for themselves.
Days with recess and physical education
Number of years the Sakawa Wanata track meet has been held
Number of dedicated art studios and spaces
Licensed counselors always ready to talk
Memories of Middle School, whether predominantly positive or negative, are always intense. As educators at Holland Hall, our aim is to capitalize on this intensity by capturing the beauty of the age, the wonder of the growth, and the opportunity to have an incredible impact on these young children who become adults before our very eyes.
Middle School students are unpredictable by nature. They are full of energy and embody a willingness, often an eagerness, to learn, try, and risk. During these pre-adolescence and early-adolescence years, we are fortunate to witness remarkable growth in physical, cognitive, social-emotional, psychological, moral, and spiritual development. The transformations are simply amazing, and they offer wonderful opportunities for educators and parents. Middle School years will be challenging, but they are also extremely rewarding.
First and foremost, Holland Hall is a community where we believe developing solid relationships with each student is the single most important thing we do as educators. In academics, athletics, and arts, our students will thrive most fully when they feel valued, known, and connected — when they recall the relationships they had within our community and how those relationships lifted them up and made them feel confident, safe, and happy.
Middle School starts in fourth grade at Holland Hall. By transitioning our students earlier, they engage with faculty members who are specialists in their subjects sooner, exploring ever more complex ideas. But fourth- and fifth-graders have their own wings within the larger school that quickly build community.
Each homeroom teacher serves as an advisor, a system that carries through the Upper School. Advisors help students choose classes and sports and generally make sure everything is going smoothly for each child.
Students attend an English/Language Arts class, Math, Science, Social Studies, and a World Language class that introduces French and Spanish.
Recess is still an integral part of the day, as are enrichment programs including Music, Drama, Visual Arts, Library, Technology, and Religious Education. Students also participate in Physical Education daily.
Outdoor Day, Field Day, B.E.A.R. (Be Enthusiastic About Reading) Night, writing and delivering of books to Crosstown Learning Center, Living Museum, Bird Festival, trips to the Oklahoma Science Museum (OKC) and Tulsa Zoo, America Day, the Sakawa/Wanata Track Meets, Engineering Fair, Field Day, School Out of Doors, the Brain Fair, and multiple service learning trips.
This critical year is a bridge between the self-contained pods of fourth and fifth grades and the "upper hall" where seventh- and eighth-graders start preparing for the freedoms of Upper School.
Students choose more electives, see different friends in each class and start digging deep into research methods.
Students continue to take the core subjects. Math starts preparing students to choose Pre-Algebra or Algebra 1 in seventh grade. In English, students read a variety of genres, expanding students' ability to grasp both literal and interpretive meaning. Often, assignments in English cross over into Social Studies. Students are constantly reading and talking about related events and similar periods of time.
In Science, sixth-graders dissect a sheep's brain — a much anticipated assignment. Students also choose Spanish or French in sixth grade, giving them a solid foundation to continue their language study through Middle School and into their Upper School years.
The last two middle school years start preparing students for life in the Upper School. Students move to the upper hall in the building, moving between classes instead of being in a self-contained wing. Students begin taking the lead in clubs and student government, developing those critical thinking and leadership skills. They can also choose between more electives and start playing team sports.
In math, students can choose to take Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1 or Geometry Honors after a discussion with their sixth-grade math teacher. In social studies, students concentrate on history from 600 C.E. to 1400 C.E., and in eighth grade, they return to the study of U.S. history from the birth of the U.S. Constitution to the Vietnam War and Civil Rights era.
Students begin taking dedicated Religious Education courses in the Middle School.
The Bible is a book of faith for many, but it is also literature, poetry, and history. Therefore, the aim of our religious education program is to provide some Biblical literacy. For sixth grade, the students are exposed to a nine-week survey of the Old Testament, spanning the creation story to the exile of the nation of Israel into the Babylonian Captivity.
For seventh grade, students have a similar nine-week survey of the New Testament, beginning with a review of I & II Chronicles, which lays out messianic expectations, and then moves through the life of Jesus through the Gospel writers and the Letters of Paul.
Because Holland Hall is an ecumenical community that includes and embraces many different faiths and beliefs, none of the courses are offered with the intent of proselytizing. Again, the aim is literacy, not conversion. All questions, opinions, and perspectives are encouraged and valued. Class is facilitated through videos and discussions and are Pass/Fail.
4th-5th Grade Fine Arts
The arts program lays the foundation for an appreciation of the arts through drama, music, and visual arts. Students are exposed to a variety of methods and they learn skills that will carry through to their future fine arts studies.
6th-8th Grade Fine Arts
Beginning in sixth grade, all students participate in either band, orchestra, or choir. These classes focus on skill development and they build to public performances. In addition, each year, students choose a semester of an elective in the fine arts in which they learn technical skills while exploring a variety of media in visual arts and acting techniques in drama.
Students are introduced to acting through improvisation, theater etiquette, theater history, and the basic elements of theater production. Students can participate in the Middle School musical production or play every year.
All fourth- and fifth-grade students receive music instruction. Curricular ties to language arts, math, and history are made by exploring literature, historical music, and music from many different cultures.
In sixth, seventh and eighth grades, students must choose between vocal music, orchestra or band with two required performances through the year.
The Middle School Art program at Holland Hall builds the foundation for self-expression and art appreciation through the use and understanding of the elements and principles of art and design.
The visual art program helps students to establish a lifelong appreciation of the arts by exposing students to a variety of media, such as drawing, painting, printmaking, ceramics, and sculpture, as well as cultural and historical styles of art.
The Middle School course is intended to give students the opportunity to explore the fundamentals of creative 2D composition through the use of a simple digital point and shoot camera, while helping them to establish a foundation in some of the principles of image making.
P.E. is a mandatory class for all students. These years incorporate the skills learned in primary school into a curriculum filled with games, sports, and activities. Games help students learn teamwork and strategy skills while sports units build skills and competency for the sport. Students compete in the historical Sakawa vs. Wanata Track Meet in the spring.
The primary emphasis is continuing to develop a passion for a sport. Along with that, students will learn to win and lose with integrity. We ask for them to be dedicated and committed to all team events and practices. Students will begin to learn the appropriate ways to train their bodies for competition. They will continue to build a strong sport based fundamental background with an understanding of the importance of skill development through independent practice.
Students may choose to take a competitive sport — cross country, football, volleyball, basketball, wrestling, soccer, tennis, golf, baseball or track and field — or continue to take P.E. in each of the three sports seasons.
Clubs are initiated by students each year and meet during unscheduled time, before or after school or on the weekend. Each club has at least one faculty sponsor and are overseen by student government.
Two learning specialists teach classes with an emphasis on executive functioning and direct academic support. Some classes are taken in lieu of world language exploration classes, while some study skills classes are built into the curriculum.
Both learning specialists help provide the necessary tools for success in the Middle School.
Homeroom teachers serve as advisors to facilitate students’ academic and social/emotional growth. As the expectations for homework increase, teachers emphasize organization and management of time and materials. But our learning specialists are there for any additional support needed, and help implement any learning accommodations students qualify for.