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Arrupe Division

Arrupe Curriculum

Come to Grow

 

 

Grades 7 & 8

In the Arrupe Division, you learn by doing — by conducting experiments, working in groups, debating, role-playing, writing your own stories, and giving voice to your ideas. You learn to write and to read critically, and practice the skills necessary for working in groups, discussing ideas, and collaborating with others. Classwork is made meaningful by focusing courses around essential questions, and by encouraging connections between what you learn in school and what happens in your communities, and in the world at large.

With dedicated space, faculty, and an average class size of 20, you’ll receive the personalized attention so critical to academic, social, and personal development in these tender years.

To help you make a meaningful connection with the community and challenge you to be your best, we have a strong advisory program with a dedicated faculty/staff member. The advisor connects with you each morning during homeroom and at the end of the day with a handshake. They check in on you, keep tabs on academic progress, and encourage you to be involved in school activities.

Please use the drop-down menu below to view the Arrupe classes and curriculum:

  • Classical & Modern Language

    The Arrupe Division offers students a choice between Chinese, French, Latin, and Spanish. Seventh grade students begin a two-year course in the language of their choice with the goal of being prepared for the second year of high school course work in the ninth grade.

    In keeping with the Jesuit tradition, students studying Latin are introduced to the fundamentals of Latin grammar. Starting with simple sentences and working towards increasingly complex paragraphs, students learn the forms, syntax, and vocabulary of the Latin language in a reading-based system. The relationship of Latin words to English derivations and other languages will be highlighted throughout the course. The course pays special attention to all cultural, social, and scientific elements of the Roman Empire in the first century AD.

    Modern Language courses include Chinese, French, and Spanish. We seek to develop students’ skills in the five basic competencies of language learning: listening, speaking, reading, writing, and cultural awareness. Special emphasis is given to vocabulary building, pronunciation, the mechanics of grammar, the beginnings and development of original oral and written expression, and the formation and implementation of good study habits. Students also explore the rich cultural heritage of the many areas around the world and in the United States where the languages are spoken. Through classroom interaction in the target language, students will be well-prepared for the challenges of high school Modern Language courses. We offer Advanced French courses for students coming from French immersion programs as well as Accelerated Spanish courses for students who place into them.

  • English

    The English program aims to inspire boys to become lifelong readers and writers by actively engaging them in reading a wide variety of literature and writing about their own lives, the books they read, and the world around them. We hope to inspire in the boys a love of language so that they use words appropriately and correctly in crafting their own stories and reading with depth, insight, and meaning.

    In English 7, students focus on building basic skills in grammar by teaching the boys the parts of a sentence, different sentence structures and styles, the parts of speech, and how the parts of speech function in good writing. The boys learn how to write in a variety of styles, including expository paragraphs about literature and creative pieces about their own lives; attention is placed on crafting thoughtful pieces with strong leads or topic sentences with details to develop their main ideas. Students read and analyze short stories, a play, novels in various genres, and poetry. The boys are challenged to make connections between different texts, texts and their own lives, and texts and the world. Many discussions and assignments in English tie into the city project in social studies. Through literature they look at different communities and ask “What makes a community?” and “How do individuals contribute to communities?” and “Who are the outsiders or voiceless in a community?” The boys learn to articulate their opinions in speech and in writing through class discussions, literature circles, and individual as well as group projects. Study of vocabulary helps the boys expand their knowledge of words and how to use them to good effect.

    English 8 builds on the skills taught in seventh grade, as the boys use more complicated grammar and write more complex paragraphs and essays. Literature in 8th grade corresponds closely to the work in social studies, as the boys examine the systems of government and issues of social justice within classic and young adult novels. Texts may include classics such as Twelve Angry Men, Lord of the Flies, Night, and To Kill a Mockingbird as well as contemporary works. Students explore their own lives through personal narrative writing, which develops their skills in the steps of the writing process. Boys continue to master new vocabulary in order to enrich their understanding of the language, read with more depth and understanding, and articulate their thoughts and ideas with more clarity and cogency.

  • Fine and Performing Arts

    Art and Drama
    Seventh and eighth graders take six weeks of art and six weeks of drama each year. The goals of the Arrupe arts program are to enhance each student’s appreciation for the fine arts and to help him to develop confidence and self-expression as well as skills necessary for academic success. Students become better at observing, collaborating, reflecting, and taking risks. By connecting to the themes of the other courses, the art classes enhance student understanding of content in those courses. Many students also take advantage of the art and drama electives during Flex block.

    Music
    Students choose one course from an array of music electives. Courses include performing groups such as Band, Strings, Recorder Ensemble, Classic Rock Band, and the Youth Chorale. There are beginner instrumental classes such as Ukulele, Beginner, Recorder, and Percussion as well as foundation courses such as General Music and the Art of Singing. The courses meet twice per cycle, for one semester. More advanced students may elect to take a full year course and also have the opportunity to join the high school band, the high school orchestra, the concert choir and the liturgical choir.

  • Guidance

    We have two very talented guidance counselors in the Arrupe Division. Each guidance counselor is attached to one of the grades and stays with that class for the two years. The counselors run organizational workshops, anti-bullying programs, and other courses for all students. They work with the faculty and administration to plan the advisory program for the year. They spend most of their time with individual students who need more attention and support. Based on recommendations from the teachers, the counselors support students with declining grades, difficulty meeting behavioral or academic standards, or various social or emotional challenges. Click here to learn more about the Arrupe Guidance program:

  • Mathematics

    The Arrupe Division’s math courses are designed to strengthen math fundamentals and transition students into higher level math courses at the pace that is appropriate to their developmental readiness. Most seventh grade students take one of two Pre-algebra classes. Each provides a strong foundation in computational skills as well as the building blocks for the abstract thinking needed in future math courses. Students strengthen their skills in operations with decimals, fractions, percents, and integers. They work with and apply concepts in algebra, geometry, probability, and statistics. There is a focus throughout on problem-solving and reasoning skills, and students gain a greater appreciation of math by applying mathematical concepts to real-world situations.

    Students in the Pre-algebra course spend more time with each concept and continue with Pre-algebra in eighth grade. These students will be prepared to take Algebra I in ninth grade. Students in the Accelerated Pre-algebra course, work through the curriculum more rapidly and are prepared to take Algebra I in the eighth grade. A few students test into Algebra I in seventh grade.

    Most eighth grade students take either Algebra I or Advanced Pre-algebra depending on the math skills and developmental readiness of the student. Students in the latter course continue to broaden their arithmetic skills and move deeper into geometry, algebra, probability, and statistics while building a strong foundation for high school math courses. The Algebra I course is the same course as the high school course. The students move through the content at a faster pace and are challenged by factoring and other rigorous concepts. Those students who take Algebra I in seventh grade take Geometry Honors in eighth grade.

  • Religious Education

    As students begin their journey through adolescence, the Arrupe Division religious education program gives them a foundation for the further study of Catholic faith and traditions.

    Students in the seventh grade investigate the origins of Christianity within the context of the first millennium with special attention to major characters and their roles in early Christian communities. Beginning with select New Testament writings, special attention is given to the community’s experience of Jesus. Faith, worship, moral code, and social context are explored. Students study the growth and development of doctrine as well as the cultural expressions of Christian life such as art, music, and architecture. Students develop research skills such as using a variety of resources, outlining, and note taking. Students become familiar with both print and on-line resources.

    Students at the eighth grade level continue their journey into Christian origins beginning with the second millennium and investigating selected persons and ideas whose impact shaped the Church’s development. Selected contemporary issues are also examined in light of the Church’s Tradition. Over the course of the year students are able to explain the interplay of factors that influenced the Church’s growth and development in light of the core belief in Jesus and His Spirit enlivening the community of faith.

  • Science

    The Arrupe Science program uses an investigative approach to introduce students to the basic methods of scientific inquiry and to allow them not simply to study science but to become scientists themselves.

    In seventh-grade science students begin delving into the world of chemistry and the process of scientific investigation with topics in line with the American Chemical Society and the National Science Education Standards. All lessons are taught with an inquiry-based learning approach, with students performing hands-on experiments almost every day. Specific topics covered include (but are not limited to): states of matter, energy transfer, phase changes, density, the periodic table, structures, ionic and covalent bonding, polarity, chemical changes, and balancing chemical equations.

    This curriculum is then expanded to coordinate with the city project that students are working on in social studies. Students will take what they have learned about chemistry and then use it to see how their city is impacted by weather and climate. They will also learn about different means of energy production, building their own wind turbines and calculating the costs and benefits of different means of energy production available for their city.

    In eighth grade science, the year is split into two. In the first half of the year, students look at the diversity of life from an evolutionary perspective. They perform simulations and analyze data in order to see the effects evolution has had on life as we know it. They also learn about different evolutionary theories, evolutionary pressures, phylogenies, and cladogram construction and analysis, all while learning about different animal phyla and their unique characteristics. Students use their understanding of human evolution to challenge assumptions of race and society as they study racism in their social studies and English courses.

    The students learn basic principles of physics and the design process through engineering projects in the second semester. They learn about tension and compression, acceleration and velocity, hydraulics, and lift as they build bridges, vehicles, and structures. They design, test, fail, reflect, and redesign throughout the spring.

  • Service and Justice

    In addition to requiring the students to wrestle with complex academic material, we also challenge them to be open to growth, religious and loving. All Students are welcome to be part of a faith community, participating in liturgies and other prayer services, praying at the beginning of class and the school day, and thinking about their own relationship with God. Through the Manresa Program, each student chooses at least one Ignition Experience, one spiritual activity, and one worship experience each semester. All students participate in an on-campus retreat each year. In seventh grade, they focus on “finding God in all things.” In either grade, they look at issues of injustice that children face around the world. In November, the entire school spends a fay focusing on one of the elements of the Graduate at Graduation.

    Service and ministry opportunities are also available each year.

  • Social Studies

    The Arrupe Division social studies program aims to provide students with a deeper understanding of the United States and the world.

    The seventh-grade course is an investigative geography course. Students explore essential questions and analyze information presented in texts, maps, charts, tables, and pictures. They begin by mastering the basic geography concepts, skills, and tools that they will apply throughout the rest of the year.

    From that foundation, the students explore regions around the world through case studies that focus on important global issues. Students investigate smart growth, consumption patterns, climate change, population density, and globalization. They analyze these challenges faced by communities around the world and evaluate solutions to those challenges. At the same time, the students design their own cities, applying understandings and perspectives developed in social studies as well as English and science. They use their iPads to create various graphs, tables, reports, and multi-media presentations about their cities.

    In the eighth grade, students study themes of power, justice, and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship as they reflect on the question: What are the conditions that create a just society? Students study the theory and reasons for government as well as the American system of government through an extensive simulation of government and economics. The boys create a country, adapt the US Constitution, elect officials, create laws and taxes, and tackle the economic and political challenges of running a country. Later in the year, the boys explore ideas of identity, power, justice, and rights through themes that are tied closely to books they are reading in English. Topics may include the Holocaust, immigration in the United States, Native Americans, the Civil Rights Movement, the Cold War, and the Judicial System. They look at historical incidents, challenges, and injustices and reflect on how individuals have the power to combat prejudice and genocide. The course requires the students to question, to conduct research, to reflect on events and issues, and to express their ideas in writing and in conversation. Students gain extensive experience in analyzing and evaluation primary sources.

  • Specials

    HEALTH AND WELLNESS
    All students in the Arrupe Division take Wellness classes twice per cycle for one semester. These classes introduce students to lifelong conditioning skills. Students may choose between three different courses – strength training, aerobic training, and team games. The goal of the courses is to help the boys to develop a lifelong habit of fitness and sportsmanship.

    In addition to Wellness, the Arrupe students take a six-week health course with a focus on exploring the relationship between behaviors and healthy development. Topics of study include nutrition, hygiene, disease prevention and control, emotional health (including stress and anxiety), and healthy and unhealthy relationships. Seventh graders will study puberty while eighth graders study human sexuality. Throughout the courses, discussions include personally and socially responsible decision-making, respect for oneself and others, and the development of healthy habits.

    FLEX BLOCK
    A few times per week, students have a Flex block right after lunch. The Flex Block provides students with opportunities for academic support in Richmond, spiritual formation, emotional growth, and leadership. At the same time, the block allows students to develop a more independence by allowing them to choose where they will go and what they will do. Many boys find a comfortable place to begin their homework. Others meet with teachers, work on group projects, attend enrichment classes, use tools and resources in the Maker Space, or join clubs such as Leadership, Admission Ambassadors, Debate, and Coding.

     

Our Method: Teaching in Teams


Each student in the Arrupe Division is placed into a team with three teachers (English, Science, and Social Studies). You’ll remain with your team half the day, which enables flexible class times and sizes that facilitate project-based learning and a wider range of teaching methods. This structure also permits flexible groupings based on individual interests and needs.

Teachers on each team work together to design and implement the curriculum, fostering explicit interdisciplinary connections and guiding you in a broader and deeper exploration of the topic and the world. This collaboration enables the teachers to be more innovative in the curriculum design and instructional methods.

Arrupe Advisory

Grades seven and eight are critical years for boys as they face the physical, emotional, and academic transition into adolescence. The Arrupe advisory program provides whole-hearted support needed to develop academically, emotionally, and socially.

Working alongside your advisor, you’ll develop and implement a personalized program. You will explore strategies for handling the rigorous workload as well as general adolescent challenges. You’ll find your way to becoming a young man “of competence, conscience, and compassion.”

Groups meet daily in homeroom and for longer periods every other week. The weekly advisory period allows for a wide range of activities including:

  • Individual meetings of the student and advisor
  • Discussions of school and adolescent issues
  • Digital citizenship lessons
  • Explorations of Ignatian values
  • Activities designed to build stronger ties among students and between the students and their advisors