Middle School

Sheridan’s Middle School is a community where students are challenged to learn and to lead. Our supportive culture allows students to feel comfortable taking intellectual risks and empowers them to advocate for themselves and for others as creative, forward-thinking, socially-aware individuals. Sheridan students graduate more than prepared for the complexities of the future — they are leaders prepared to make meaningful change.

Highlights of a typical day at Sheridan

ADVISORY: Our Middle School students start and end each day in Advisory, the Middle School version of Responsive Classroom Morning Meeting. They form strong connections with their adult advisor and a small group of peers. Our Advisory program provides students with individual academic and social-emotional mentorship and support as they navigate the often-challenging space between lower school and high school.

ACADEMICS: After Advisory, students follow a dynamic schedule of subjects led by subject-area specialists. Language Arts, Social Studies, and Math are interspersed with specials, including Science, Spanish, Physical Education, Art, and Music. The menu below provides a more detailed overview of each academic subject. 

LUNCH, BREAK, and QUIET TIME / MINDFULNESS: The school day prioritizes time for two breaks, a lunch period, and numerous breaks or mindfulness sessions scheduled by teachers as needed.

Social AND Emotional Learning: We provide ample time and space for students to explore their identities and beliefs in the middle school years. Affinity groups and clubs provide small spaces to meet with peers and explore interests. Our school counselor works closely with Middle School faculty and staff to respond to individual needs, work with classes as a whole, and incorporate healthy strategies into the school day. In our Middle School, social justice moves far beyond awareness. Instead of simply identifying where injustice occurs, our students are empowered to address critical social issues by taking action to make the world a more equitable place.

Our varied curriculum

List of 10 items.

  • Language Arts

    Our Middle School Language Arts curriculum at Sheridan is designed to support our students in approaching the written and spoken word with excitement, engagement, and creativity. We provide a balanced focus on helping students develop as readers, writers, and speakers. Sheridan students understand and use the power of words/images in order to provide insight into their experiences and those of others, and to create change in the world around them.

    The goals of reading are to develop active readers who ask questions, make connections, and develop bigger ideas. Our students read and discuss a wide variety of categories, styles, and genres of writing, including both classical and contemporary works. The texts our students read feature diverse voices and stories. We also provide time and space for our students to read for pleasure and offer book clubs, small groups, and other discussion spaces to establish this lifelong practice.

    As writers, our students work within a variety of genres – creative fiction, autobiographical essays, and non-fiction texts – with the goal of becoming active, confident writers and effective communicators in a variety of genres. Because proper conventions are important in making ourselves understood, Sheridan students also learn to write with clear structure and to recognize and apply standard grammar, spelling and punctuation. Students also practice strategies for note-taking, jotting ideas, and preparation for discussions, which benefits their work in all subjects.
  • Social Studies

    In Social Studies, Sheridan students examine historical events through a critical lens, and, over the course of their middle school experience, they explore concepts of identity, democracy, power, conflict, economy, and change. Students learn about historical events within a larger theme, which allows them to connect ideas and think critically.

    For example, through the overarching themes of progress and change, students investigate the consequences of the Industrial Revolution, critique the 20th century revolutions in Latin America, and compare the Scramble for Africa with the modern-day US territories. Grouping events like these by common themes allows students to dig deeper into questions like, “does progress always imply positive change?” or “how can societies become more equitable and just?” When learning about governments around the world, including monarchies, dictatorships, theocracies, and democracies, students learn about the purposes and functions of these governments. Students think critically and analyze the ways in which these institutions have impacted the lives of various groups and communities, all while exploring power and who has access to it. When studying American history, students pay special attention to issues related to identity and citizenship in a democratic society and to the value of seeking a variety of perspectives on historical topics. Students explore how and why the experience of being an American has been different for different groups, and how and why diverse Americans come together over the course of American history.

    Throughout their work in social studies, students are able to work with primary and secondary sources, acquire and apply new vocabulary, and draw conclusions based on evidence. They also express ideas using oral, written and visual presentations, analyze geographic information, and demonstrate knowledge of contemporary issues.
  • Math

    Mathematics is a beautiful subject, with reasoning at its core. In addition to solidifying a strong foundation of mathematical skills, students at Sheridan are taught to think critically and to demand proof for the work they and their classmates are doing. This pushes them to deeper levels of understanding and encourages them to reason clearly.

    To achieve this, math class is frequently structured around “low-floor, high-ceiling” tasks. These are large questions that have easy entry points that are accessible to all students (low-floor) while also allowing students to explore advanced mathematical concepts (high-ceiling). Through our work with these tasks, students learn to work together, build connections between the fields of mathematics, and engage in challenges that are appropriate for their learning. These tasks lend themselves to differentiation, because students can get the additional support they need with earlier concepts and skills, while other students are being pushed to consider topics that they might not have normally had any exposure to until high school. Learning this way also emphasizes conceptual understanding over memorization and deepens students’ mathematical thinking, reasoning, and convincing skills.

    To support this work, we utilize TERC Investigations in Grades K-5, and Desmos Math in Grades 5-8. Math at Sheridan is visual; it’s fun; it’s investigative. We build a community of strong mathematicians who can think, reason, and engage in mathematics in meaningful ways.
  • Science

    The Middle School Science curriculum is grounded in the Next Generation Science Standards, and is designed with opportunities for students to engage in hands-on investigations and engineering. In each unit, students will be formulating questions, investigating concepts, designing experiments and engineering solutions to problems. To support this work, we use STEMScopes Science as our primary resource.
  • Spanish

    Sheridan’s Middle School Spanish classes are rigorous and engaging; they are thought-provoking and language-immersing. They focus on giving students the skills and confidence to communicate effectively and comfortably across cultures. The themes in sixth grade Spanish class include a variety of topics, such as education, health, environment, technology and culture. Students will develop their presentational, interpretive, and interpersonal communication skills while deepening their knowledge and understanding of the relationship between products, practices, and perspectives within Spanish culture. Students will identify, describe, compare, explain, ask questions, and give opinions on the different topics while growing their communication skills from using memorized phrases to expressing themselves in emerging sentences to expressing themselves in simple and complete sentences to begin to express in strings of sentences.
  • Music

    The philosophy of the Music program is to develop in every student a love of music, an awakening of musical creativity, and an appreciation and deep respect for a variety of music from all genres and cultures. We aim to inspire creativity, develop emotional intelligence, and enhance artistic awareness. Through our hands-on approach to music, we embrace and facilitate student learning and personal growth through both individual expression and cooperative collaboration.

    Our music program creates an environment that encourages and supports students in taking risks, discovering their talents, and pursuing their individual musical interests. We strive to enable students to think of themselves as musicians who will actively participate in the arts, engage in lifelong involvement in the arts, and respect and appreciate musical beauty and sensitivity.
  • Art

    Sheridan School believes that all our students are artists. Our program supports students as they develop an individual artistic vision that is informed by their own experiences, ideas, and understandings, as well as being grounded in the fundamental elements and principles of art.

    Each step of the process, from conception to creation, is valued and encouraged. In collaboration with the teachers and their classmates, students seek to comprehend and communicate visual ideas in their own unique manner through a process of observation, discussion, exploration, revision, and reflection.

    Students consider the role of art and of the artist in a variety of cultures, from ancient to contemporary, as part of their investigation into artistic techniques and media. The art classroom is rich with opportunities for exploration, innovation, and reflection, encouraging a respect for the materials, tools, and ideas the community shares. This learning environment facilitates students' inquisitive and open journey through the world of art.
  • Physical Education

    Sheridan's physical education program is committed to preparing children to be physically active and to make healthy choices throughout their lives. Our curriculum is designed so that students learn to: 
    • Develop and maintain a suitable level of physical fitness. 
    • Become competent in management of the body and acquire useful physical skills. 
    • Apply teamwork and sportsmanship in competitive and noncompetitive situations. 
    • Acquire needed safety skills and habits. 
    • Build self-confidence.
  • Technology

    Technology enhances the Sheridan curriculum and is integrated into our courses. We assign students a Chromebook in third grade and scaffold their learning with time for typing practice and direct instruction in using various applications they will need in class. Sheridan students experience visual programming using Scratch, and 3D design using Tinkercad and 3d printing. Digital tools available on student Chromebooks allow students to use podcasting and videos to create projects that showcase their learning.
  • Outdoor Education

    Outdoor education is central to our program at Sheridan. At each grade level, our overarching goals are to:
    • Foster risk taking, a sense of adventure, independence and teamwork in order to promote personal growth and development
    • Provide students with opportunities to explore their own identities
    • Develop a sense of place and an appreciation for the outdoors 
    • Build up adventure/wilderness skills: climbing, hiking, canoeing and survival skills.
4400 36th Street, NW  |  Washington, DC 20008  |  (202) 362-7900
Founded in 1927, we are a vibrant K-8 progressive school with no more than 230 students, an engaged community, and a fierce commitment to both equity and diversity.