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Middle School Academics



The Middle School at St. Norbert includes grades six through eight and features an accelerated curriculum grounded in faith. This means students fast track their learning and develop a common morality and drive to succeed that results in higher standards that students set for themselves.



Middle School student presenting



As students move into middle school, there is a shift in base level expectations. Students are expected to perform at a higher level with more personal accountability and ownership of work. To support them in this shift, 6th graders take Study Skills to learn how to stay organized and prioritize work, how to take notes independently, and how to study for tests. And as the internet plays such a large role in how students conduct research, emphasis is placed on how to find reputable sources, while staying safe, on the internet.


For 8th graders, students are beginning to prepare for life beyond St. Norbert. To help them in this transition, students take High School 101 where they learn advanced study skills, how to manage emotions in social situations and how to adjust from small class sizes to larger ones. Possible careers and different class options are covered.




At St. Norbert School, our kids enjoy smaller classes. These small class sizes allow for more differentiated learning based on skill level to challenge kids where they need to be as an individual.










Students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade take progressively advancing classes according to two tracks: advanced and on-level. The advanced track consists of pre-algebra, algebra and advanced algebra with the goal of placement into Geometry as a Freshman in High School. The on-level track consists of fundamentals, pre-algebra, and algebra. For those 7th and 8th graders in the advanced track, students also have the option to take high school level math at Loyola Academy.





Language Arts


Fundamental to all middle school grades is a focus on developing a student’s ability to read, comprehend, think critically and develop/defend a viewpoint.

Expectations are at a high school level by the way students write and perform literary analysis. Students in 6th grade focus on American Literature and books such as “Giver and the Outsiders.” In 7th grade, they focus on World Literature and read works such as “The Great Gatsby.” And in 8th grade, students read British Literature with classics such as “Lord of the Flies“ and “Romeo & Juliet.”









Our science program follows Next Generation Science Standards with instruction moving toward Phenomenon-based learning. This methodology mirrors the approach real scientists take to find answers through reasoning and inquiry. By observing natural phenomena, students can investigate why something occurs and examine problems from many different angles to truly understand why things exist in our world. Labs and activities are performed weekly. 6th grade focuses on Earth and Space Science. 7th grade focuses on Physical Science, and 8th Grade focuses on Life Science. All 7th graders compete in the Science Fair with at least half of the class moving on to compete at the regional and state level. 8th graders have the option to participate.






Central to the Middle School Spanish curriculum is a strong focus on culture. Students expand their knowledge of different cultures while learning basic reading, conjugation of verbs, present and future tense narration, connecting words, noun adjective agreement, recommendations using infinitives, comparisons and words of persuasion. Graduating eighth grade students are often placed into Spanish II their freshman year of high school.







Social Studies


In Middle School Social Studies students learn the where, the how, and the that order. 6th grade is devoted to Geography, starting with an extensive look at our home, Chicago.  From here students learn about places in an expanding arc; from Illinois to the United States, to North America, and then the world. There are lots of cultural activities and discussions, and lots of map-making. In 7th grade we turn our attention to Government. The first half of the year is given over to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. In the second half of the year we learn about the Presidents, all of them, before finishing the year with a unit on Criminal Justice which ties everything together. Finally, 8th grade is engrossed in the study of American History. Rather than linear history, students engage with several long mega-units: The Civil War, Rise of Industry, The World Wars, Mass Media and the Vietnam Era, and Causes and Effects of 9/11. 




Physical Education





Adolescence marks a pivotal time for preventing sedentary behavior in adulthood.  St. Norbert School, therefore, makes every effort to require regular physical education in each grade and to promote physical activities that can be enjoyed throughout life.


Our middle school physical education program helps students develop a lifelong commitment to their own physical well-being, health, and fitness. The St. Norbert middle school physical education program provides our students with a framework for learning in physical education aligned with the State of Illinois Learning Standards and the National Standards for Physical Education.






All St. Norbert School, students participate in a religion curriculum that follows standards and goals designed by the Archdiocese of Chicago.  During the middle school years, our St. Norbert School Religion program provides sacred space for our students to learn how to view their world with the eyes of faith. activities, readings and classroom experiences that are focused with the central message of the Gospel giving our students hope and purpose in life.







Each year we offer new course offerings based on student needs and interest. Students can elect to take one course per trimester. Examples of course options include:


Art (Painting, Sculpture, Collages), Music (Stomp, Music Makes a Movie, GarageBand), Nature Appreciation, Ancient Civilizations, History of Baseball, 3D printing, Programming, Web Design, Animation, and Graphic Design.