The faculty and administration have designed the Junior High grades (seven and eight) to be a time of transition from self-contained elementary classrooms to a more departmental approach. Students change classrooms following a High School bell schedule. Responsibilities and independent work increase as the faculty intentionally challenge the students with a demanding academic program. As in all the grades, Junior High students enjoy a sense of community that encourages self-discovery, transparency, and Christian civility. By the time the students reach ninth grade, they should feel comfortable with the demands of the upper school.
The WCA Junior High curriculum includes mathematics, with placement by ability into general math, pre-algebra or algebra, literature and composition, science (both physical and life), world history, American history and the Constitution, Bible, music, and physical education. Junior High electives include art, choir, and computer technology.
Our athletic director, gymnasium and playing fields enhance the WCA after school sports program offered at the Junior High level. Competent coaches and mentors encourage the young athletes at all ability levels. Even the unskilled but eager athletes can develop into valuable members of a chosen team.
Consistent with the Academy’s aim to prepare students both spiritually and intellectually, the Junior High academic program stresses a rigorous curriculum couched in a biblical world view which challenges students to think about their learning informs their perspectives and choices. Critical thinking, vigorous classroom interaction, and creativity are encouraged. Experienced, qualified, and compassionate faculty guide the students in the learning process.
Preparing students for the challenges of high school involves the development of personal responsibility, independence, and sustained effort. Purposeful homework assignments normally take Junior High students about an hour and a half to two hours daily outside of class.
Students in Junior High study the same material in both grades each year. The plan is a survey of the Bible, examining the historical and theological scope of the Old Testament one year and the New Testament the next.
Junior High students study literature from unit themes—courage, nature and man, generosity, our
land, humility, family, friends, choices, heroes, discoveries, adventurers, and viewpoints. Students are taught to interpret, analyze, evaluate, and appreciate authors, works, themes, and terms in light of Scripture. Literature selections are multicultural and include a wide variety of genre. Students also study a selection of appropriate novels.
English and Writing
Few skills are more essential today than effective communication. Since words are the tools we use to speak to God and to others, students must learn to use those tools effectively and correctly. In writing classes, Westlake seeks to encourage students to develop into Christlike communicators. Students are reminded how the grammar they studied in the elementary grades continues to be relevant to their present lives. They apply grammar concepts in their writing assignments, which not only prepares them for high school, but for college and their future careers as well. In writing, students are provided models, grading rubrics for each assignment, and step-by-step guidance through a consistent five step writing process. Students practice grade-appropriate research skills using electronic and print resources such as websites, dictionaries, periodicals, and concordances.
Depending upon background, preparation, and abilities, students are placed into an appropriate mathematics track. Junior High students usually find themselves in general math, pre-algebra, or first year algebra. Teaching for understanding, Westlake emphasizes careful development of critical thinking and conceptualization in mathematics. Students see greater purpose and value as mathematics is presented from a Christian worldview. Teachers use real-life applications to promote interest, and students are encouraged to use technology, including graphing calculators, spreadsheets, programming projects, and specific Internet keyword searches.
General math focuses on problem solving and real-life uses of math. Teachers reinforce computational skills and build a solid math foundation for future success. Content strands include whole numbers decimals, number theory, fractions, rational numbers, using percents, measurements, geometry, area and volume, probability and statistics, integers, algebra, relations and functions, and logic and set theory.
In pre-algebra, algebraic expressions and linear equations are applied throughout a comprehensive review of operations on integers, fractions, decimals, percents, and radicals. Students explore relations and functions using equations, tables, and graphs. Units on statistics and geometry extend foundational concepts in preparation for high school courses. Problem solving and real-life uses of math are important components.
First year algebra focuses on the integration of algebraic concepts in technology and real-life applications. Students explore the simplification, solving, graphing, and interpretation of linear, exponential, radical, quadratic, and rational functions both manually and with technology. This course is identical to the one offered to WCA high school students.
Junior High students study the same science subject in both grades but in separate classes. The subjects alternate between earth and life science each year. Genesis 1:28 is the foundation of scientific inquiry at Westlake. We teach students that science is a powerful tool for obeying the command to “subdue [the earth], and have dominion over . . . every living thing that moves on the earth.” Students are taught that through modeling our world, we are better able to love our neighbors and glorify God. We teach students to evaluate evolutionary models in light of Scripture and to construct new models that are responsible with the scientific data and faithful to the Bible. Students are encouraged to think about modern scientific issues, such as cancer, pollution, and renewable energy, and to practice creative problem solving skills.
In Life Science, students study cell biology, genetics, the history of life, microbiology, botany, zoology, ecology, and human anatomy and physiology, all within a biblical framework. Laboratory skills are an important part of this course.
As Junior High students study the earth, its processes, its design, and its wondrous details, they gain a vision for exercising biblical dominion for God’s glory and for loving their fellow human beings. Major topics include mapping, geology, rocks and minerals, oceanography, meteorology, climate, astronomy, and space exploration.
Junior High students study the same social studies subject in both grades but in separate classes. The subjects alternate between world and American history each year. For students to understand the past, they must have a biblical perspective. In the Junior High social studies program, events are taught from a Christian worldview to provide clarity and accuracy. This perspective allows the students to see God’s ultimate purpose and His hand at work. Students are challenged with higher order thinking questions and are encouraged to develop deeper learning skills using timelines, maps, web research, and other projects.
World history begins with a brief review of history from Creation to the coming of Christ. The course progresses in a chronological journey around the world as students study the ebb and flow of empires, cultures, Christianity, and world religions, concluding with an examination of the trends of the emerging 21st century.
United States history is a survey of the history and heritage of the United States taught from a Christian worldview, exploring its foundational principles, characteristics, major contributors, and common values. Students develop an understanding of how and why America became what it is today. Integral to the course is a study of the US Constitution with a mandatory test that must be passed by each student.
Discipling Students Beyond the Classroom at WCA
Junior High Retreat
ASMA Math Contest
Museum of Science and Industry Field Trip (Gr 8)
Shedd Aquarium Field Trip (Gr 7)
Spiritual Emphasis Week
Westlake’s Got Talent
ACSI Math Olympics