students writing and discussing topic in classroom environment

The health curriculum emphasizes social and emotional connections to current health-related learning.  The goal is to help students understand how their feelings and emotions impact their daily decisions.

The health curriculum is designed to help students establish skills and a sense of self-worth that will lead to safe and healthy decision-making practices. The program teaches a progression of information and learning that meets the needs of the age group being taught.

The focus is primarily based upon the philosophy that when students have accurate information and self-advocacy skills, they will make better choices for themselves and be more responsible members of the community. Students in health class can expect to learn about adolescent development, natural life experiences, and risks inherent to growing up in today’s world. When they leave Middle School, they will be better able to assess risky situations, identify coping strategies, and employ these skills as needed. 

By the end of eighth grade, students will have developed proficiency in the following:

  • Identifying healthy relationships vs. unhealthy/toxic relationships
  • Understanding the impact of substance use and its relationship to addiction and brain impact
  • Understanding physical, social, emotional, and sexual well-being along with self-advocacy
  • Accessing and utilizing resources to maintain health and well-being
  • Communicating feelings and emotions while regulating them at an appropriate developmental level
  • Growing and developing empathy skills and strong citizenship to strengthen the community


Sixth-grade Health focuses on developing strategies and resources for staying well. The developmental theme is Changes. The curricular feature is Independent Learning.

Students use these lenses to answer essential guiding questions, including:

  • What am I doing to stay well?
  • How do I take care of my changing body?
  • How do I make healthy choices around substances?

The transition from Lower School to Middle School makes this an ideal time for students to learn about managing stress. This is also a time when student use of technology increases, so a key objective this year is helping students understand the impact of media and its influence, as well as the pitfalls and dangers of social media and inaccurate information.

Students also focus on better understanding themselves and others. This includes taking care of changing bodies, learning about the impact of dopamine on the brain, what are nicotine products and their impact on the systems of the body, understanding reproduction, conceptualizing gender differences, LGBTQ orientation, and gender fluidity. These topics provide a starting point for discussion about bullying and teasing, and recognizing discrimination and harassment.

Finally, students learn to recognize the signs of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse and how to report it. They also learn a variety of refusal skills and self-advocacy skills to enable them to self-advocate and maintain a safe and healthy lifestyle. 


In seventh-grade Health, students use research on lifestyle choices in areas of the world with the longest lifespans to determine what similar ways of eating, exercising, and being they could make in their own lives. The developmental theme is Relationships. The curricular feature is Healthy Choices.

Students use these lenses to answer essential guiding questions, including:

  • What are my current lifestyle habits?
  • How do my emotions and physical well-being impact my relationships?
  • How do my choices today effect my future?
  • What is power and who has it?

Students are asked to determine what healthy things they already do to support themselves and what habits they could change to improve their health. They learn how various substances impact the developing teenage brain and how to use substance abuse information to make healthy and informed decisions for themselves.

In looking at how reproduction works, students learn how to care for their reproductive systems. They examine ways to prevent sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy, and how to understand the emotional aspects of becoming intimate. Students also study non-communicable diseases and learn how to differentiate between bacterial and viral infections.


Eighth-grade students become more competent and confident in speaking up for themselves and others. The developmental theme is Advocating. The curricular feature is Recognizing the Signs.

Students use these lenses to answer essential guiding questions that include:

  • Where can I access assistance for drug-related problems?
  • How does my mental wellness impact my overall well-being?
  • How does society react to mental illness?
  • What is a healthy relationship?

By being inclusive and empathetic to all, students learn to recognize the warning signs of an abusive or toxic relationship, their own and others. They gain understanding about the various types of mental illness, how to recognize someone in distress, and what resources are available to support those with mental illness.

Students learn how to maintain safe sexual and emotional relationships and how to communicate with partners around sexual consent and explicit permission. They learn about birth control options and how to protect themselves from disease.

Finally, they study the short- and long-term effects of various drugs on the brain. They learn about dependence, tolerance, and addiction. Students also examine the legal consequences of using drugs as minors and develop effective refusal skills for substance use.