The Rivers Middle School has a long-standing commitment to teaching students about Rivers’ definition of leadership—to “be your best self and positively influence others”—so it is fitting that the first few days of school are dedicated to those values in the form of Leadership Lab.
Seventh and eighth graders are placed in "family groups" with fellow middle schoolers and take part in several icebreaker activities led by the eighth graders. These groups help students make connections across the grades and gives new students the opportunity to ask questions of those who have been through the Rivers Middle School before.
These families remain intact throughout the year and students meet with their families on several other occasions.
The Middle School Program
Grade 7 Science: Life Science and Sustainability
Seventh grade science students are introduced to the study of ecology, the environment, and the human body. The year involves investigation of the complex interactions between all types of organisms and their environments. Students learn that ecosystems consist of communities of plants, animals, and various microorganisms that are dependent on each other as well as on the non-living parts of the environment.
Emphasis is placed on experiments, both in and out of the classroom. Projects with hands-on involvement, independent thinking, and innovative solutions are important components of the course. Topics covered include ecological, life, and nutrient cycles, introduction to viruses, bacteria, protists, plants, and animals, human influence on the environment, renewable and non-renewable energies, sustainable living, and human anatomy and physiology.
Grade 8: Introductory Physical Science
This course focuses on the scientific method as it applies to chemistry. The course takes students through experiments that allow them to gather data suggesting the existence of the atom. Discovery is an essential part of this laboratory-based course, and students gain extensive experience working with laboratory equipment. The course also places great emphasis on analytical and independent thinking skills, requiring students to come up with explanations and solutions to problems not previously considered.
At the completion of the course, students have a solid background in physical science, allowing them to continue in biology, chemistry, and physics.
Visual and Performing Arts
The arts program at Rivers offers students opportunities to explore a broad range of artistic disciplines and then to pursue one or more areas in depth. The Middle School arts program follows a pre-foundation curriculum in the visual arts and the performing arts.
Athletics in the Middle School
Middle School students are required to participate in the athletic program for three seasons during each academic year. Rivers believes that involvement in athletics is a meaningful and integral part of each student’s overall education, and that there is inherent value in teamwork, sportsmanship, self-discipline, community involvement, physical development, and individual responsibility as experienced through athletics.
The Fall celebration of Homecoming includes a great community night for Middle Schoolers with a football game under the lights on Waterman Field. The game is the first of several special events on Homecoming weekend and sets a great tone of school spirit and excitement.