By Subject

Social Studies

Our social studies program is grounded in explorations of identity, culture, and global citizenship. At each grade level, students engage in thematic studies that are framed by essential questions. Our approach provides rich opportunities for in-depth investigations and for consideration of critical issues. Our curriculum is informed by the standards established by the National Council for the Social Studies as well as professional guidelines in history, civics, economics, and geography, the Common Core State Standards, and the resources and expertise of our faculty.


The Foote School’s developmental approach to teaching is visible in the topics and questions at the core of each grade’s social studies curriculum. Our youngest children explore issues related to themselves, their friendships, their families, local communities, the roles of individuals and groups, and the ways in which people are the same and different. As they get older, students expand their understanding of these notions to include the historical, social, geographic, political, and economic factors that have affected the experiences of people around the world. 


Our interdisciplinary Humanities courses nurture a love of literature and history while leading students to understand the world and its many cultures, past and present.  The program helps students to develop empathy for the full range of human experience and emotion and to refine the skills of communication and expression needed to engage as citizens of the global community.  We believe that students learn best through inquiry and practice of a critical and creative nature that encourages them to take personal and intellectual risks.


Sixth Grade Humanities

 

Essential Questions:

  • Why do people take journeys?  What effects do journeys have? 
  • How does the family you belong to impact your life?
  • What happens when people from different places meet? How does the place influence the story?

 

During the first week of school, every student in the sixth grade Humanities course embarks on a personal journey of discovery. Without looking, each person takes a turn touching a finger onto a spot on a spinning globe, revealing the country that will form the basis of a year-long research project. In addition to this individual geography study, sixth graders investigate journeys that change people and the world.  They explore the world’s diverse religions, geography and countries through literature, nonfiction, periodicals, films, interviews, presentations from guest speakers and field trips.  Creative projects and daily practice lead students to build their reading, writing, research, presentation and study skills. Students read for pleasure, discussion, fluency and information; they write to discover, develop and organize their ideas, to argue a point, and to move an audience. They study vocabulary, dictionary usage, parts of speech, and basic sentence structure. Students also build the skills basic to the study of history: understanding timelines and dates, recognizing cause-and-effect relationships, and thinking critically. 

 



Throughout the course of the year, every student constructs a hand-drawn map of the world. Their country studies and the world maps are shared in a magnificent Foote tradition in the spring, the Festival of the World. Along the way, our sixth graders learn about geography, migrations, religious pilgrimages, the impact of international trade, and the meaning of discovery.



Seventh Grade Humanities


Essential Questions:

  • What happens when people of different cultures meet?

  • What does it mean to come of age?

  • What is the role of power in society?

  • How do we know what happened long ago and far away?

  • Is there only one true story in history?

  • What do we learn about ourselves from listening to stories of others?


Seventh grade students explore the theme of change as it pertains to history, literature and themselves. We start by looking at what happens when different cultures meet, focusing in particular on American Indians, Europeans, and Africans. Coming-of-age stories form the backdrop for our study of the American Revolution, as students look at the issue of independence in literature, history, and our world. Finally, students explore the theme of conflict through examples from literature, the antebellum South, and contemporary society.

In Humanities, students develop reading, writing, thinking, speaking, and information skills. Through a variety of literary genres students build an understanding of theme, symbolism, and tone; they read primary and secondary historical sources for main ideas and supporting details. They are guided in organizing their study materials and in taking effective notes. Gaining map and geography proficiency, understanding time lines and dates, and learning the research process are central. Students work independently on long-range projects including Early America Day in the fall and a more formal research paper in the spring.




A highlight of the year occurs in the fall, when each student assumes the identity of an individual from the early days of European settlement. Early America Day offers seventh graders a chance to hone their skills in research, organization, and public speaking skills. Students, dressed in colonial garb, pay visits to classrooms and offices to address enthusiastic audiences and to share their knowledge about influential people from the past.



Primary source documents, strong literature connections, and personal narratives continue to illuminate the seventh graders’ studies of the Revolutionary War and the nineteenth century, including the Civil War and the Industrial Revolution.


Eighth Grade Modern U.S. History

 

Essential Questions:

  • What are the rights and responsibilities of citizens of the United States?
  • What are the challenges to those rights and responsibilities?
  • What events, individuals, or ideas impacted Americans’ideas about rights and responsibilities?

During the 8th grade year, students study the events, themes, political trends, influential people, social movements, and legislative acts that shaped our country from the Reconstruction era through the civil rights movement of the mid-20thcentury. Our course emphasizes central documents and primary sources in American history, including original texts of Supreme Court decisions, photographs, speeches, laws and declarations, correspondence, political cartoons, newspaper and magazine articles from historical events, and Constitutional amendments. The history comes alive and real through case studies of central events or people who exemplify the themes of each time period. Students also read and analyze the works of accomplished historians, whose writing offers models for linguistic style, organization of topics, presentation of opinions, and use of evidence to support ideas. Research and writing projects throughout the year offer opportunities for students to practice these techniques on their own and in groups.. At the end of the year they investigate and prepare their own case study related to rights and responsibilities.

 



Ninth Grade Comparative Cultures


Essential Questions:


  • How do we look at and understand a people’s culture?
  • How does where we live influence how we live?
  • How do cultures change?
  • What happens when different cultures meet?
  • How do people who see the world differently share the world?
  • How does the past influence the present?
  • What is it like to live as a minority in a dominant culture?

 

This course aims to cultivate cross-cultural understanding through examination of and interaction with a variety of cultural groups, from our own multicultural community to several areas of the world, including China and selected countries in the Middle East and Africa. We study the complex cultural, political, and geographical forces that have shaped each region, and we follow the threads of continuity and change to examine these contemporary societies.  We begin the year with a study of the United Nations to give students a framework for thinking about international issues such as human rights and conflict resolution.  Throughout this project-based course, students use historical research and inquiry to view issues from multiple perspectives, using literature, films, nonfiction texts, periodicals and museum exhibits.  In addition, students practice taking notes, debating, writing critically and making oral presentations.  The centerpiece of the course is an optional two-week study tour in China, where students spend four nights with a host family from Yali, our sister school in Changsha.




 


In past years, text selections have included  Fires in the Mirror, Things Fall Apart, China A to Z, Red Scarf Girl, The Good Earth, In the Country of Men, and a variety of contemporary newspapers, periodicals and blogs, speeches, government documents, short stories, poems, films, historical and contemporary maps and other primary and secondary sources.

Science

The Foote science program seeks to promote and enhance the joy of exploring the natural and material world by guiding an inquiry-based educational experience for our students.  

Children are naturally curious and observant.  Our program encourages them to ask questions prompted by their direct observations and to arrive at answers using evidence they have generated. The experience values creativity and independent thinking.  Students have opportunities to design their own experiments
and to choose projects that match their interests. We also value collaboration and understand that science is a social enterprise.  Students learn from one another as they work together and share their findings. In addition, they learn to disagree productively, using empirical evidence to support their claims.   

Central to our philosophy is the idea that children learn by doing. At all levels we encourage interaction with the natural world as we also facilitate the manipulation of tools and materials. Rigorous experimental and analytical methods are developed over time. Our program builds on the children’s existing knowledge, incorporates emerging technologies and leads to new and more sophisticated questions.  It mirrors as closely as possible the enterprise of doing real science.

We emphasize the fundamentally human nature of science and its universal application.  The accomplishments of scientists from a variety of countries and cultures are featured, and restrictive notions of who can engage in scientific work are explored and challenged. We are confident in our students’ abilities and celebrate their differences. At Foote, each child, regardless of background, is empowered to be a scientist.

As with all other subjects in Middle School, science is taught by subject-area specialists. Students continue to practice and expand analytical and critical thinking skills. They increase their facility with laboratory tools and equipment, and engage in focused investigations in biology, chemistry, earth, and physical sciences. Discussions range from procedural instruction to thoughtful connections between classroom content and real-life phenomena. A common thread in the Middle School science program is the issue of our responsibility to know about, and participate in, scientific developments in the world.

Sixth Grade


Sixth grade life science aims to engage and excite students about the living world around them, expose them to fundamental concepts in biology, and develop critical scientific, academic and personal skills. The course focuses on living systems from macro- and micro-levels and from multiple perspectives. Topics include the effects of stress on the human body, the essential role of genetics and the origin of life, cellular structures and human body systems, as well as social and contemporary issues related to the life sciences. Within these area of study, students gain experience with classification, data collection and documentation, and language for communicating about scientific subjects. 

Seventh Grade


This course fosters students’ natural curiosity through a series of developmentally appropriate hands-on activities that allow them to practice laboratory skills and gain an appreciation for and working understanding of key energy concepts.  Using qualitative and quantitative methods, students make observations, record data, and write formal reports including spreadsheets and graphing programs.  During the fall study of meteorology student research topics of their choosing, prepare responses ranging from a model to a Power Point, and make presentations to the class.  They also investigate energy transformation and conservation by building generators powered by the wind, integrating engineering design and core science concepts.  This same integration occurs again during our investigation of astronomy when the students build robots and program them through our computers, and design and build rockets based on aerodynamic principles and Newton’s laws of motion.

 

Eighth Grade

The IPS (Introductory Physical Science) course emphasizes the development of basic laboratory skills, the process of controlled experimentation, and an understanding of the principles of physical science, especially matter and its properties. Through a sequence of experiments, students learn appropriate ways to measure, describe and categorize matter. Specifically, the course covers the conservation of mass, characteristic properties (including density, melting and boiling points, solubility, crystal shape and spectra) atomic structure and the periodic chart. While students work on all labs as part of a team, each student keeps a lab notebook and writes lab reports. The analysis of class data is an important element of each investigation; graphing of data is often required and the use of computer software encouraged. Empirical evidence and concepts are then used to build a model of the atom as the basic unit of matter. The course includes a number of laboratory challenge assessments and culminates with each lab team devising and executing a multi-step procedure to identify the components of an unknown mixture.


 

Ninth Grade

This high school course is composed of three parts:
• Ecology and Comparative Anatomy (fall)
• Cellular Biology and Biochemistry (winter)
• Evolution and Genetics (spring term)

Lab and fieldwork are important aspects of this course, and students are encouraged to generate knowledge directly from their own observations of natural and experimental phenomena and to learn how such knowledge can be evaluated for precision, accuracy and reliability. Throughout the fall, the West River and Long Island Sound serve as living laboratories. Students evaluate the watershed using topographic maps, Google Earth software, and site visits. From their data, students assess potential and actual human impacts on water quality. In teams, they carry out physical, chemical, and biological sampling at selected locations on the river and New Haven Harbor. The anatomy of an invertebrate (crayfish) and a vertebrate (perch) are compared. Dissections of each organism are carried out to establish the elegant connections between form and function of animal organ systems, tissues and cells. Comparisons to human biology are also explored.

During the winter term, the focus is on the form and function of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. Representative cells and some organelles (chloroplasts, nuclei, cell walls) are observed directly using compound microscopes. Other samples are studied using electron photomicrographs and computer animation. The spring term is devoted to the study of evolution by natural selection and the principles of heredity. Mitosis, meiosis and classical genetics are studied in depth, and the structure and function of DNA is introduced.

 

Mathematics

Our math program is grounded in a strong set of foundational skills, which provide the necessary tools for students to engage in complex mathematical thinking and abstract reasoning. Instruction is designed for students to achieve computational fluency, efficiency and clarity in approaching mathematical challenges, and accuracy in solutions to problems. Our curriculum is informed by the standards established by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the Common Core State Standards, and the resources and expertise of our faculty.

From the earliest grades, students are challenged to solve problems, apply concepts, and consider multiple strategies. Individual needs are recognized and accommodated through in-class enrichment, additional out-of-class support and instruction, and uniquely designed provisions. Mathematical experiences at the Foote School help students gain self-confidence, independence, and competence in communicating their understanding through vocabulary, language, representations, and symbols. Technology tools, simulations, and data-gathering exercises are integrated throughout the curriculum. These experiences offer additional opportunities for students to apply their knowledge and to participate in authentic mathematical practice.

Our Middle School program immerses students in the higher-order mathematical disciplines of algebra and geometry. The Middle School course of study begins with a review of basic mathematics and progresses through with Pre-Algebra Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II. All students complete Algebra I by the end of 9th Grade; most students also complete Geometry. An accelerated track allows us to offer an appropriately challenging program for our most advanced students, when appropriate. Students in the upper grades proceed through a sequence of courses that best suits their learning styles.

Sixth Grade


In order to guide each student in the most appropriate way, our teachers carefully consider the best placement for levels and sections as they move from Lower School to Middle School. In Sixth Grade, students’ thinking is stretched through an extension of the foundational skills they began to acquire in the Lower School. Through explorations of rates, ratios, and proportions as well as a significant unit about probability, students begin to engage in complex applications of a wide range of operations. Two-and three-dimensional geometry, the coordinate plane, positive and negative integers, two-step equations and an introduction to inequalities round out the year. A highlight of the year is the casino project, in which students create their own games of probability and chance to demonstrate the math behind dice, cards, and calculating risks.



Seventh Grade


In Seventh Grade, students are placed in either Pre-Algebra or Algebra I, in sections that best match their needs. Teachers guide students to hone their procedural skills as they move beyond operations involving whole numbers, decimals, and fractions and transition into algebraic reasoning. All seventh grade
mathematics classes focus on equations and mathematical reasoning as expressed through many types of numeric, geometric, and conceptual forms. Our classes emphasize the meaning and concepts of math, often engaging students in ways that are both challenging and fun. One of the highlights of the year is an independent research project in statistics. Every student chooses a focus question and formulates a hypothesis. After collecting and analyzing data, the students prepare presentations and a written summaries of their results, using mathematical language to explain the proof of their hypotheses.

Eighth and Ninth Grade


The Eighth and Ninth Grade classes delve more deeply into algebraic and linear functions, complex operations, and applications of mathematical thinking. Our program emphasizes Algebra I in eighth grade, either as the first half of a two-year course, as a one-year Algebra I class, or in combination with Geometry for students who began Algebra I in seventh grade. Students at these upper grades also learn and practice higher-level thinking in analytical reasoning and logical deduction, and apply these skills to mathematical proofs. Ninth grade students have the opportunity to engage in more complex and sophisticated mathematical reasoning. Some students complete the two-year Algebra I program; others are enrolled in Geometry. An Algebra II course is also offered when appropriate.

 

English

The Foote School English/Language Arts curriculum is designed to nurture a love of literature while leading students to understand the world. The program helps students develop empathy for a full range of human experiences and refine the skills of communication, expression, and critical thinking needed by citizens of a global community. 

The language arts consist of skills in four broad areas: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Although these skills develop gradually, we also know that even our youngest children can participate in rich experiences with language, stories, and texts. We provide a learning environment that is focused on building that students’ proficiency in all aspects of the language through

• Sufficient opportunities to practice their craft over time
• Common language, explicit instruction, and guided practice
• Authentic experiences that are mindful of purpose and audience
• Engagement in a writing process that involves direct instruction, modeling, a clear sequence, and thorough feedback
• Thoughtful exchanges with peers and teachers
• Purposeful integration of technology
• Focused research and inquiry.

In the first years of Middle School, reading and language arts are integrated into the humanities program. Literature choices support the themes of instruction in seventh and eighth grades through historical, social, and cultural topics. Writing projects, research, and presentations are designed to encourage students to be critical consumers and producers of information. In eighth and ninth grades, separate English classes offer the time for students to hone their skills in analysis, composition, and a variety of writing formats.

Sixth Grade


During the first week of school, every student in the sixth grade Humanities course embarks on a personal journey of discovery. Without looking, each person takes a turn touching a finger onto a spot on a spinning globe, revealing the country that will form the basis of a year-long research project. In addition to this individual geography study, sixth graders investigate journeys that change people and the world.  They explore the world’s diverse religions, geography and countries through literature, nonfiction, periodicals, films, interviews, presentations from guest speakers and field trips.  Creative projects and daily practice lead students to build their reading, writing, research, presentation and study skills. Students read for pleasure, discussion, fluency and information; they write to discover, develop and organize their ideas, to argue a point, and to move an audience. They study vocabulary, dictionary usage, parts of speech, and basic sentence structure. Students also build the skills basic to the study of history: understanding timelines and dates, recognizing cause-and-effect relationships, and thinking critically. 

Literature selections in the past years have included Rules of the Road, The Watsons Go To Birmingham, 1963, The Canterbury Tales, Shadow Spinner, Adventures on the Ancient Silk Road, The Real Vikings, Habibi, A Long Walk to Water, Zlata the Goat, Beowulf, To the Edge of the World, selected poems, folk tales, and short stories


Seventh Grade


Seventh grade students explore the theme of change as it pertains to history, literature and themselves. We start by looking at what happens when different cultures meet, focusing in particular on American Indians, Europeans, and Africans. Coming-of-age stories form the backdrop for our study of the American Revolution, as students look at the issue of independence in literature, history, and our world. Finally, focus is given to the theme of conflict in literature, the Civil War and in contemporary society.

In Humanities, students develop reading, writing, thinking, speaking, and information skills. Through a variety of literary genres students build an understanding of theme, symbolism, and tone; they read primary and secondary historical sources for main ideas and supporting details. They are guided in organizing their study materials and in taking effective notes. Gaining map and geography proficiency, understanding time lines and dates, and learning the research process are central. Students work independently on long-range projects including Early America Day in the fall and a more formal research paper in the spring.

In past years, literature selections have included April Morning, Sees Behind Trees, The Light in the Forest, The Crucible, Seedfolk, To Kill a Mockingbird, To Be a Slave, and a Shakespeare play. 


Eighth Grade


This course introduces students to the vocabulary of literature and sharpens their skills as readers, interpreters, writers, speakers, and listeners. The year is loosely divided into units of study that examine the short story, the play, nonfiction (essay and argument), poetry, and the novel.  In each unit students read and analyze works by a variety of writers to uncover their meanings and to use as models for writing strategies. In written reading responses and through class discussions, students engage in a dialogue with the literature and their classmates. The course subscribes to the beliefs that we develop our best ideas through writing and that writers get feedback before publication; the writing practice focuses on conferencing and revision. Students do exercises in vocabulary and syntax. Through our reading and writing, we ask--and hope to answer--personal and national questions of identity:  “Who are we?” “What do we believe?” “What shapes our lives?” “What do we hope for?” “What is the role of writing and art in our world?”

 

In past years, literature selections have included The House on Mango Street, Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, Lord of the Flies, Raisin in the Sun, Maus, Of Mice and Men, Night, selected short stories (Ray Bradbury, Sherman Alexie, Edgar Allen Poe, Gina Berriault, Shirley Jackson, Roald Dahl, Toni Cade Bambara, and Gary Soto), contemporary American poetry, speeches, memoirs, essays, and op-ed pieces.


Ninth Grade

 

Ninth Grade


The ninth grade writing and literature program continues to develop the students' ability to analyze literature critically, both orally and in writing. The curriculum focuses on autobiography and fiction, both in complete books and excerpts. Poetry is read and written throughout the year, culminating in a "poetry cabaret" conceived and performed by the students in June. Multi-draft critical essays, as well as personal narrative essays and creative compositions and projects related to the reading are assigned throughout the year, allowing students to work on skills such as forming and supporting a thesis as they work on developing a strong personal voice. Mechanics and grammar are taught based on the individual needs found in students' work. The month of May is devoted to discussing the poems that we have covered during the year and selecting and rehearsing material to be performed in the year-end cabaret.

In recent years, texts for this course have included This Boy’s Life, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, Looking for Alaska, and The Book Thief.

 

 

Fine Arts

The Foote School’s arts programs provide students with an understanding of the beauty and range of the human experience. One of the primary goals of arts instruction at the Foote School is to develop and expand children's natural abilities of perception, interpretation, and appreciation of the forms, sounds, and language of creativity. Our curriculum is designed to encourage a positive attitude and, perhaps, a lifelong interest in the arts. By participating in active experiences, working collaboratively with classmates and teachers, and presenting their work to the larger community, our students gain the technical and aesthetic foundation to be culturally literate citizens of the world.

All the arts disciplines--visual, musical, and dramatic--take a hands-on approach to learning; it is the nature of art to learn as one goes along. There is a performance component as well: sometimes in class with small projects, sometimes in public settings. Visual art teaches children to make good judgements about qualitative relationships. Students are presented with a set of “tools”- technique, examples, history and supplies. They create an art product that expresses what they have learned and who they are. In drama, small performances in class and larger roles in school plays give the students the opportunity to explore by acting, working on the “running crew,” and operating the lighting and sound boards. In music, the children are given the opportunity to sing alone and in small groups. 


Drama


The Foote School’s Drama Program provides students with an understanding of the importance of drama as an expression of the human experience, as well as with an appreciation of the role of the many forms of theater in cultural literacy.Drama fosters creativity, giving students the opportunity to improvise, act on a stage and write plays, as well as participate in the technical aspects of the theater. Learning the discipline and craft necessary for this constructive creation builds numerous skills, among those the crucial abilities to reason, make important decisions, and solve problems.

The drama program provides students with tools for critical assessment of what they read, see, and hear, with models and standards of excellence, and with a sense of the emotional power of theater — its ability to stir and inspire an audience. Finally, and of paramount importance, because theater illuminates the constancy of the human condition, its study furthers the students’ understanding of themselves.

In Middle School, drama classes include improvisation, playwriting, and many opportunities for performance. Students explore ethical dilemmas, dramatic plots, and methods for conveying complicated ideas. Monologues, dramatic literature, critique, and the technical components of theater are also included in the curriculum. The use of the stage--entrances, exits, sets, and production techniques are all incorporated into a variety of performances. In seventh and eighth grade, students have the opportunity to participate as actors or members of the stage crew for a major production that is performed in our black box theater in December. Ninth graders all take part their own play, which is prepared through the fall and winter and performed in March.


Visual Art


The Foote School Art Department strives to cultivate within its students a lifelong love and appreciation for art. The K-9 curriculum is designed to teach students developmentally appropriate skills and techniques that build on one another to enhance aesthetic sensibilities, deepen critical thinking, and instill confidence to create works of art that are true representations of their ideas and their talent.

The process begins by creating an inviting and inspiring classroom environment designed to spark students’ imaginations and put their creativity to work through hands-on lessons that build confidence and skills and cater to their individual learning styles. Students are encouraged to ask questions, engage in positive dialogue about their work and the work of their peers. Students also learn the forms, techniques and languages of art by being exposed to art history and the work of renowned artists the world over and apply these lessons to their own work. Many projects are designed to be interdisciplinary, tied to the curricula of other learning departments, from math and science to language arts and history. The Art Department is proud to display all or our students’ artwork on a regular basis through exhibitions as well as through publication in print and online.

In our middle school visual arts classes, students explore global and historical themes. The sixth grade program reflects the global nature of the year-long study of the world through graphic design, travel posters, carving, print-making, and explorations of influential artists from around the globe. Seventh grade concentrates on black-and-white design elements, with projects ranging from Pop art to photography, optical design, and portraiture. The culminating project in seventh grade is a realistic self-portrait rendered in pencil. Eighth graders spend their year in art with explorations of three-dimensional techniques. Clay, metal, wire, plaster, wood, cardboard, and stone are all incorporated into the curriculum, which ends with the experience of carving a soapstone sculpture using hammer and chisel. Ninth graders engage in a comprehensive overview of art history, starting with prehistoric times and ending with contemporary expression. They make Gothic gargoyles from clay, draw and paint in the style of the Renaissance, and examine the architecture of Greek, Roman, Romanesque, and Gothic periods.


Music


One of the primary goals of music education at the Foote School is to foster a love of music in each student. By participating in active music-making experiences, children are led to discover musical elements and develop musical skills, leading to another primary goal: musical literacy. During large assemblies, children perform with their classes in singing, playing instruments and showing their compositions as appropriate. The students also have many impromptu chances to present their forays into musical expressions: Jazz rock ensemble, Chorus, morning meeting presentations, the yearbook assembly and May Day. Movement and traditional dance are woven throughout our program at all levels. There is also an after-school program for private lessons (fee-based), in which students can study violin, guitar, bass, drums, piano, and voice. 

Middle School music emphasizes the "hands on" musical experience and introduces students to new instruments and ways of accessing music. There is a Festival of the World celebrating the 6th graders' explorations of global cultures in the spring. The students' repertoire is expanded to include material from many continents. All 6th graders learn to play the alto recorder; 7th graders learn to play the mountain dulcimer. In 7th grade, students have an opportunity to learn about Opera, culminating in a field trip to the Metropolitan Opera. All 8th graders will study some basic guitar. Eighth and ninth graders might play in a steel pan band or and English handbell ensemble. There are units in learning blues form and instrumental improvisation, and a pop colloquium in which students bring favorite recordings in order to analyze genre and musical preference. 

 

Physical Education

At Foote, we believe in nurturing our students’ physical health and growth as well as their academic progress. With that philosophy as a guiding force, our physical education program is designed to support students’ self-image, build sportsmanship, and provide a basis for a healthy lifelong attitude toward fitness. Our curriculum is carefully sequenced to match the stages of physical, social, and emotional development from year to year. In addition to athletic skills, our program encourages creative expression, builds social concepts such as sportsmanship, cooperation, and fair play, offers opportunities for leadership, encourages children to take risks, and fosters a sense of well-being in a non-competitive setting.

All children at Foote School are members of either the Maroon or Grey sports teams. Spirit is high on our annual Field Day, when students participate in a variety of fun and competitive events between the Maroon and the Grey. Kindergarteners take part only in the morning, competing in a fun run, a scoop  relay, and a shuttle relay. All the other students participate in a full day of events, culminating in an all-school relay race around the entire field, featuring the day’s winners of the 60-yard dash from each grade.



Sixth through Ninth Physical Education


In middle school, our physical education program is designed to provide appropriately strenuous exercise, develop athletic skills, and promote team cooperation. Specific skills in a wide variety of games are incorporated into the curriculum, including all of the sports offered through the athletics program as well as Frisbee, juggling, football, floor hockey, volleyball, gymnastics, badminton, and distance running. In eighth grade, students participate in a double period of outdoor education each cycle in addition to their regular twice-per-cycle PE class. 

 

Sports Teams


All students in grades 7-9 are encouraged to take part in the after-school sports program. Sixth graders are invited to participate in team sports if there are spaces available. Team sports are an extension of the physical education program. Our interscholastic athletics program shares many of the goals as our PE program. The sports program at Foote provides an opportunity for all students in 7th, 8th, and 9th grades to participate voluntarily in a number of seasonal sports. Foote is a member of the New England Preparatory Schools Athletic Council.

Fall sports: Boys’ Soccer, Girls’ Soccer, Field Hockey, Co-Ed Cross-Country
Winter sports: Boys’ Basketball, Girls’ Basketball, Co-ed Swimming, Co-Ed Squash
Spring sports: Boys’ Lacrosse, Girls’ Lacrosse, Baseball, Softball, Co-ed Tennis

 

 

World Languages

Language study is at the heart of the Foote School’s mission to value difference and challenge prejudice, and to explore the world with joy and purpose. Our curriculum includes both modern and classical language through a rigorous program that in many ways distinguishes the Foote experience from any other.

Our language program is designed to extend well beyond our students’ capacity to understand vocabulary and grammar. We prepare students to engage i the global community; to make sense of their own language, culture, and perceptions; and to consider the meaning and context of communication in many forms. Language study enhances academic performance as well as abstract and creative thinking skills. It is no wonder, then, that the Foote community values language study so highly. 

The goal of the Middle School modern language program is for our students to achieve proficiency in reading, writing, listening and speaking. Students continue with their modern language selection through their middle school years, building comfort and familiarity with the structure and features of the language and gaining experience with expression and conversation. Many of our graduates complete the third level of high school study by the end of ninth grade. Foote students add Latin to their studies in seventh grade, gaining insights into the roots of Romance languages and Roman culture. Latin focuses on literacy, history and the analytical study of a classical language. Both modern language and Latin are required disciplines and are integral parts of the Foote educational experience.

 

Sixth Grade: Chinese


In sixth-grade Chinese class, students learn to converse about topics in their everyday life, such as names, ages, nationalities, schools, families, pets, friends, languages, sports, and foods. While all of the lesson contents are initiated through listening and speaking, students are expected to read all of the text, while writing only a subset of characters per thematic unit. Students’ reading and writing fluencies increase considerably in the sixth grade.

A major portion of each class period is spent on engaging interactive oral and aural practices. As students learn about each topic, they make cultural and linguistic comparisons between Chinese and their own lives and expressions. As in the lower school, students constantly help each other learn through paired or group activities.

 

  

 

Sixth Grade: French


A lively, youth-oriented text motivates students to use French in situations that focus on meaningful, daily-life topics. The skills of reading, writing, listening, and speaking are studied more formally. Students are introduced to elementary French grammar: the present tense of many regular verbs, some irregular verbs, and adjectives. Francophone culture and civilization around the world are emphasized, and the use of CDs, DVDs and computer games encourages active communication skills. Students memorize a short poem and short roles in self-designed skits during the year. Other special projects may include reading a simple book, creating a family tree, and a “personality” crest.

Sixth Grade: Spanish


Within the context of the contemporary Spanish-speaking world, students continue to work toward proficiency in the four language skills. Lessons include the present tense of regular and certain commonly used irregular verbs as well as stem-changing verbs, possessive and descriptive adjectives, noun-adjective agreement, comparatives, interrogatives and contractions. These grammatical concepts are presented within the context of situational dialogues and DVDs that depict the daily activities of young people from a variety of Spanish-speaking countries and cultures. Vocabulary exercises expand students' fluency as they facilitate the gradual transition toward reading and writing. Special projects may include creating a family tree, making a clothing catalog, presenting short skits, and preparing a researched cooking project.

 

Seventh Grade: Chinese


Chinese will expand to 7th grade during the 2015-2016 school year.
 

Seventh Grade: Latin


Students become familiar with the basic grammatical concepts of the Latin language, early Roman history and various cultural topics such as family, slavery and travel. Their interest in, and awareness of, Roman culture and civilization are enhanced by reading the continuous narrative about the lives and adventures of the Cornelius family in the Ecce Romani IA textbook. Students become quickly proficient in reading lengthy stories in Latin and in inducing the general grammatical and syntactical rules from the specifics found in the passages. Attention is also paid to modern influences from the Roman world, such as English words derived from Latin, Latin sayings, and the vestiges of Roman culture in our own. During their first year of study, students master three declensions of nouns, first and second declension adjectives, the present and imperfect tenses for all four conjugations and numerous irregular verbs, prepositions, adverbs, and many elementary syntactical rules. Special projects may include poetry recitation, creation of a Latin game, making of Roman lamps, and story bags of Roman Kings and early Republican heroes.


 

Seventh Grade: French


After extensive review and reinforcement of previously learned material, students continue to enlarge their knowledge of French vocabulary and grammar. They are introduced to a new set of regular verbs, many more irregular verbs and the "passé composé". Francophone culture throughout the world continues to be emphasized. Special projects may include poetry memorization for the COLT Poetry Contest, DVDs, French cuisine, and a short reader. Students may be grouped by ability.

 

Seventh Grade: Spanish


After a thorough review of the previous year's material, students continue to expand their knowledge of Spanish grammar and vocabulary. They are introduced to reflexive verbs, indirect object pronouns, familiar commands, comparative and superlative forms of adjectives, and the preterite tense. Projects, readings, videos and discussions heighten their appreciation of Hispanic culture. Special activities may include participating in the COLT Poetry Contest, creating a Day of the Dead craft, researching and sampling Hispanic cuisine, hosting guest speakers and planning fiestas. Students may be grouped by ability.

 

Eighth Grade: Chinese


Chinese will expand to 8th grade during the 2016-2017 school year. 

Eighth Grade: French


Students continue their formal study of French with a thorough review of all the grammar introduced in seventh grade. New grammar such as relative and object pronouns, negation, adverbs, and the comparison of adjectives, reflexive verbs, and more verb tenses such as passé composé, regular and irregular verbs and future proche are taught within the specific context of French daily life and culture. Reading skills are increased, vocabulary expanded, and a greater emphasis is placed on writing. Viewing of several original French films is an important component of the program. Students are required to memorize several poems during the year and participate in the COLT Poetry Contest and will read an elementary reader in French. Additional special projects may include the creation of a short, videotaped play. Students are grouped by ability.


Eighth Grade: Latin


Students expand their knowledge of the Latin language and the world in which it was spoken, completing the Ecce Romani IB textbook by the end of the year. In addition to studying more uses of cases and vocabulary, the students practice noun-adjective agreement, the future, perfect, pluperfect and future perfect tenses, the fourth and fifth declensions, the dative case, demonstrative adjectives and pronouns, and personal and reflexive pronouns. Upon completion of the standard curriculum, the students often proceed to learn the relative pronouns and the passive voice of verbs using the Ecce Romani II textbook. Historical and cultural topics explored include the Roman Republic, travel, the city of Rome, chariot racing, and Roman elections. The study of English derivatives, Latin sayings and our inheritance from the Roman world continues. Special projects may include poetry recitation, creative presentations of the story of a mythological monster, topography and monuments of the city of Rome, and the use of calligraphy in the transmission of manuscripts. A unit on rhetoric includes the study of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, as well as composition of their own speeches complete with use of rhetorical devices for a mock Roman trial. 

Eighth Grade: Spanish


The program builds on the established foundation, introducing more complex grammatical structures and expanding cultural themes. New material may include irregular verbs in the preterite tense; the imperfect tense;a comparison of the preterite vs. imperfect tenses; and more. Grammar and vocabulary are introduced and practiced with native speakers on DVDs, audio CDs, and online support. For any given grammar point, activities begin with guided practice and move progressively toward freer self-expression, with numerous opportunities for both written and oral expression. Special projects may include writing and illustrating a children’s story, an oral presentation using photographs to describe one’s childhood, a researched cooking project, the creation of a filmed short play, a fashion show, creation of a marketplace, and participation in the COLT Poetry Contest. Students may read and analyze various literary selections in Spanish. They may also take a trip off campus to eat at an authentic Hispanic restaurant. Students may be grouped by ability.

 

 

Ninth Grade: Chinese


Chinese will expand to 9th grade during the 2018-2019 school year.


 

Ninth Grade: French


The program builds on the established foundation, introducing more complex grammatical structures (relative pronouns, ordinal numbers, comparisons with adjectives, superlative constructions, indefinite and demonstrative pronouns, adverbs, present participle constructions), additional verb tenses, (including the imperfect, the conditional, the future, and an introduction to the subjunctive) expanding vocabulary and cultural themes in order to develop the students' abilities to express themselves more fluently. Students continue to build upon and strengthen their aural and oral skills through daily conversations and the viewing of French films. Special projects may include the study of a French reader, oral presentations and participation in the COLT Poetry Contest. Students may be grouped by ability.


 

Ninth Grade: Latin


Reading fluency and advanced topics of grammar and syntax are the focus of the ninth grade year. In addition to learning the passive voice, comparisons of adjectives, participles, indirect statements, and the forms and uses of the subjunctive, students regularly translate increasingly lengthy and complex stories. Students acquire knowledge of the political, cultural and literary history of the Romans and their contributions to Western civilization. The events of the Roman Empire are studied as well as Roman food, education, baths, gladiators, weddings, and religion. Students develop independent research skills through an in-depth study of an emperor of their choice. Emphasis is placed on preparation for reading original Latin texts. Enrichment of the students' English vocabulary and methodical thinking are also stressed. Special projects may include poetry recitation, a Roman banquet, and a Roman artifact project based on an object in the Yale University Art Gallery’s collection. An accelerated honors level course is offered. Students are grouped by ability.

Ninth Grade: Spanish


The program builds on the established foundation, introducing more complex grammatical structures and expanding the cultural themes. After a thorough review of the preterite vs. imperfect tenses, new material is introduced. This includes formal commands; the use of double object pronouns; the present subjunctive with "ojalá" and impersonal expressions; "por" vs. "para"; and the future tense. Grammar and vocabulary are introduced and practiced with native speakers on DVDs, audio CDs, and online support. For any given grammar point, activities begin with guided practice and move progressively toward freer self-expression, with numerous opportunities for both written and oral expression. Special projects may include researching, and presenting an ancient Mayan or Aztec city or creating their own, a researched presentation about a famous Hispanic figure, the creation of an illustrated children's book or short story, and participation in the COLT Poetry Contest. Students may read and analyze various literary selections by authors from Spain and Latin America. Students may also visit the local museums to discuss art in a variety of ways. Students may be grouped by ability.