Subject Curriculum

List of 6 items.

  • English

    English 5 – 6: The first two years of English in the Middle School continue to encourage students’ comfort with reading and writing. Quantity and quality are stressed since discovering their best writing typically comes from students producing a large volume of it. Similarly, exercises in silent, sustained reading support student interest in an independent reading life. Vocabulary, grammar, and mechanics are taught as part of the reading and writing curriculum, designed to support students’ growing awareness of and facility with language. Reading and writing assignments will stress personal narrative, myth, and storytelling, all of which provide inroads for students to discover a more intimate connection to literature and composition.

    English 7 – 8: In the latter years of Middle School, students are essentially introduced to the study of literature, especially the fundamental terms used in analysis. Helping to enhance reading comprehension across genres is the writing curriculum that stresses these rhetorical modes: realistic fiction, investigative journalism, literary analysis, and argument. Along with learning to adjust their writing for different academic purposes and audiences, students will experiment with perspective and position, two components of writing that get increasingly more demanding and nuanced as they move through the Upper School English curriculum. Vocabulary, grammar, and mechanics are taught as an integral and organic part of the writing process. In English 8, the English curriculum starts to align more deliberately with that of History so that students are guided by the essential questions of what it means to be an American and what it means to be a citizen. Readings for English 7 and 8 may include To Kill A Mockingbird, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Inherit the Wind, The House on Mango Street, and more.
  • Math

    O’Neal middle school math students expand their computational skills while focusing on the development of number sense and facility with problem-solving. In math, students learn how to approach problems from a variety of methods which increases their confidence and supports a growth mindset. The math department at O’Neal understands that students develop abstract thinking at different times. To that end, each student is individually assessed in order to determine developmentally appropriate placement that will challenge but not frustrate.

    Fifth grade students continue with The Bridges program which emphasizes number sense, application, and problem solving. The spiraling nature of the program ensures review of basic computational skills while introducing increasingly challenging content. Math 6 covers decimals and fractions, positive and negative integers, and equations. Geometry, ratios, and probability are also introduced.

    Pre-Algebra is a course designed to solidify the foundation for success in Algebra 1 and beyond. By the end of the year, students understand operations with integers, fractions, and decimals, and can solve multi-step equations and inequalities with them. The study of ratios, proportions, and percents continues as does Geometry with an exploration of two- and three-dimensional figures. Students also learn to write and graph linear equations and to understand slopes of lines.

    Algebra 1 builds on the skills and knowledge of Pre-Algebra. A solid understanding of Algebra is necessary for success in future math courses. After a review of operations, multi-step equations and inequalities with decimals, fractions, and integers as well as functions, students learn how to write and graph linear equations in standard, slope-intercept, and point-slope form. The course then delves into solving systems of equations followed by problems involving roots and exponents. Students finish the year with a study of quadratics which is explored with and without the graphing calculator.

    A few students advance to Geometry while in the Middle School. This course covers points, lines, and planes, as well as the angles formed by parallel lines and transversals. Students explore triangle congruence and similarity, quadrilaterals, and other polygons. The study of triangles expands into the Pythagorean Theorem and right-angle trigonometry. Geometry concludes with a study of two- and three-dimensional figures, an extensive investigation of circles, and a short unit on probability and transformations.
  • Science

    The goal of the science department is to create an immersive classroom setting where each student is given the opportunity to experience, examine, and work with content in a variety of ways.  Exploration, Creativity, Skepticism, Experimentation, and Analysis are fundamental to the development of a budding scientist.  Students in the Middle School learn how to think and operate like a scientist.  Through hands-on activities and projects, students solidify their understanding of scientific concepts.  In the fifth grade, science is closely integrated with the study of ancient civilizations in history.  Fifth grade students explore early technologies and engineering advancements while learning about the development of different ancient civilizations.  Sixth grade science focuses on geology, weather, and an introduction to astronomy.  In the seventh grade, students learn about life science from the study of plant and animal cells to human anatomy.  Eighth grade scientists are introduced to the study of physical science with a semester each of chemistry and physics.  Science at O’Neal involves the development of 21st Century skills: critical thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration.  Students are active and encouraged to follow through on their own inquiry as they encounter new ideas.
  • World Language

    Students study either French or Spanish for most of their middle school career. In fifth grade, students take a semester of each class in order to experience both languages before deciding to study one for the remaining three years. By the end of eighth grade, most students will have completed level one of their chosen language and are ready to progress to level two in the Upper School. At O’Neal, the focus of language study is direct application and cultural understanding. Students best learn a second language when comprehensible input is used in a meaningful way with authentic resources when possible. The class sessions are deliberately designed to give students communication tasks that they can successfully carry out. Much of the communication is interpersonal as it provides maximum time for them to use the target language. Students speak the target language daily through partner interviews, partner and small group authentic games with vocabulary, reading to one another, re-telling stories to each other, singing songs, and reciting poetry. Repetition is a cornerstone of success. Students must hear structures repeated before they can then produce the same structure on demand. Students repeat correct answers when minor mistakes in pronunciation or grammar have been made. It is a natural way to correct mistakes without explaining (or talking about) the language in the moment. O’Neal Middle School students develop a comfort in taking academic risks in order to learn a new language and develop a high level of confidence when speaking.
  • History

    History courses in the O'Neal Middle School seek to impart students with age-appropriate study and learning skills, introduce them to the historian's craft, and offer them opportunities to reflect on, and engage with, the larger world around them.  Courses are focused on helping students sharpen the skills they will need to be critical thinkers, as well as set them up for success in middle school while establishing a firm foundation upon which they may build future successes in the Upper School.  Teachers introduce students to historical texts (primary and secondary) in order to develop their analytical and interpretive skills.  A variety of historical artifacts (documents, material objects, illustrations, maps) are used to help students understand that history is a narrative, constructed by historians.  Students will be able to undertake small research projects which engage them in this narrative building.  Fifth grade students develop note-taking skills using textbook accounts of ancient civilizations in order to build a proper base for the introduction of primary sources in the sixth grade as they begin studying the Renaissance and Enlightenment eras.  Seventh and eighth graders study US History with a deep dive into civics and research skills.  Geography is emphasized throughout the curriculum.
  • Arts

    Students in the Middle School take classes in the fine and performing arts. The arts are not simply an “extra” at O’Neal; rather, they are an integral part of teaching the whole child. Our students learn collaboration, creativity, problem solving, communication, and critical thinking skills. Beyond that, our arts program fosters students’ development of individual points of view and creative voices.
    In fifth grade, students take a semester of art and a semester of music. In sixth and seventh grades, art, music, and theater run on a trimester system so that students can participate in each discipline. As eighth graders, students can choose two of the three subjects to study each semester.
    In art, students complete a variety of projects using different media in order to become comfortable with different styles and materials. The principals of art and elements of design guide the curriculum. In theater, students study both the onstage and offstage elements of performance. They learn how to use voice and movement to communicate with an audience. In music, students perform and compose. They utilize a computer program to create their own songs which solidifies their understanding of music theory. Along with singing as a chorus, students are also introduced to the guitar.
    Students have the opportunity to perform in concerts, the one act, the musical, and for the larger community. Student artwork is displayed throughout the school and several pieces are submitted annually to local art shows.
Middle School is an exciting time in a student’s life.  Our middle school faculty understand the specific needs of the young adolescent and are passionate about guiding students through this terrific time of intellectual and social-emotional growth. 
Strong academics, arts, athletics, extra-curricular activities, and community events support the development of the whole child at O’Neal.  In addition to aengaging middle school curriculum, the O’Neal School emphasizes character education which is based in our advisory program and permeates all aspects of the student experience.  O’Neal students are kind, inclusive, and respectful.   
The O’Neal faculty provide engaging instruction that enables students to stretch their abilities and to reach their potential. To help students meet these goals, teachers work to know and understand them as individuals.  O’Neal teachers provide students with challenges, encouragement, and personalized attention in order to foster curiosity and life-long learning. 
O’Neal students are active in extracurricular activitiescompetitive athletics, and artistic performances and shows.  The Middle School offers many opportunities for individuals to develop special interests and talents, to hone student skills, and to work cooperatively and effectively with others. 

List of 1 items.

  • Miryah Walters

    Head of Middle School
Serving Pinehurst, Southern Pines, Whispering Pines, Sanford, West End, Aberdeen, and areas surrounding Moore County, NC.

The O’Neal School
3300 Airport Road
Southern Pines, NC 28387

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