Academic Guidelines

Our Middle School Academic Curriculum Guide outlines course requirements, grading systems, continuing enrollment requirements, course selection and more.

List of 6 items.

  • Course Requirements

    • The full Middle School academic program consists of required courses in mathematics, English, science, and history and the student's choice of French, Latin, Language Arts, Mandarin, or Spanish.
    • A daily period of on-campus physical education or interscholastic team practice.
    • An elected music course (Band, Guitar, Strings, or Chorus)
    • Art offerings, to include the broadest range of the following courses over the three-year Middle School experience: Art 6-8; Digital Theater 7; Drama 6-8; Ceramics 6-8; Photography 8; Speech 6-7; Woodworking 6-8; Yearbook 8
  • Course Selection

    The course selection process is conducted in the spring for the following academic year. Advisors review course description materials with students who then review the options and requirements with their parents. While most of the Middle School program is prescribed, students elect foreign language and music courses. They also elect arts classes in Grade 8.
  • Grades

    Grades are mailed to parents at regular intervals, with teachers evaluating student work according to a traditional system of letter grades:
    Letter GradeNumerical Value
    Citizenship in all classes and effort in physical education classes are evaluated within a range of E (excellent) to U (unsatisfactory). Some variation of the following citizenship rubric is used by all teachers.
    Progressive Citizenship Scale:
    E = Outstanding                                   
    • frequently provides positive leadership
    • actively takes part in and adds to class activities
    • volunteers to help others
    • practices a high level of self-discipline
    • demonstrates high level accountability and responsibility
    • assignments are always turned in on time and completed with integrity
    • never talks out in class inappropriately
    • keeps on task without monitoring
    • consistently follows classroom standards
    G = Good
    • occasionally provides positive leadership
    • consistently takes part in class activities
    • helps others
    • maintains positive relationship with peers
    • keeps on task
    • works well in groups and independently
    • works without disturbing others
    • consistently turns in assignments on time and with high level of integrity
    • developing responsibility in all areas
    • follows classroom standards
    S = Satisfactory                                   
    • usually practices self discipline
    • participates in class activities
    • helps others when/if asked
    • does not talk out inappropriately
    • keeps on task most of the time
    • usually works independently without disruptions to others or to self
    • emerging responsibility in all areas      
    N = Needs Improvement                     
    • occasionally talks out inappropriately
    • seldom participates in class activities
    • occasionally distracts others
    • often off task
    • has difficulty following classroom standards
    • monitoring required during independent work
    • engages in negative peer behavior
    • needs improvement on self-awareness (responsibility, integrity, and self-discipline)
    • integrity of work needs improvement
    • does not always follow teacher redirection
    U = Unsatisfactory                   
    • frequently talks out and needs teacher intervention
    • rarely participates in class activities
    • distracts others
    • often makes disruptive remarks in class
    • rarely on task
    • lack of adherence to classroom standards
    • initiates negative peer behavior
    • lacks self-discipline                                                            
  • Continuing Enrollment Requirements

    Students who complete the required course of study at a grade level with no grade below a C- (in arts and academic courses) or Satisfactory (in physical education courses and citizenship marks) are eligible for continuing enrollment in the following academic year.
  • Year-end Honor Rolls

    Year-end honors are determined by student performance in all three trimesters.  Students who earn the same number of A’s as B’s in all courses, including arts and physical education, and citizenship grades at or above Satisfactory, qualify for the Honor Roll.  The added designation of “With Distinction” is granted when all academic and arts work is at the A level.
  • Writing Across the Middle School

    “We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are. Sheep lice do not seem to share this longing, which is one reason why they write so little.” - Anne Lamott
    As a Middle School we believe strongly that writing is important not only to demonstrate learning, but as a tool for learning.  We also believe that writing is hard.  In fact, teaching writing is hard.  In an effort to create the best writing instruction for each student here at Parker, we strive to utilize common language, structure and rubrics across the curriculum. Below you will see our learning expectations at each grade level. Additional information about our approach to writing can be found by visiting our writing team website that is connected to the Middle School home page.
    By the end of sixth grade, Parker students are expected to...
    • Demonstrate an understanding of grammar, usage, and mechanics appropriate to the sixth grade instruction in the Daily Grammar Practice (DGP) program.
    • Recognize and write a variety of simple, compound, and complex sentences.
    • Embrace a process approach to paragraph writing.
    • Recognize and use the narrative structure – storytelling with a beginning, middle and end – in order to compose various creative works.
    • Use the Basic Unit of Thought structure - Key Idea/Evidence/Evidence - to compose a variety of expository paragraphs.
    • Use summarizing tools to identify main ideas, select important details and create accurate notes and paraphrases.
    • Develop an introductory understanding of the research process: posing authentic questions, narrowing scope, finding, evaluating, and using varied sources, composing a research paper, and creating a works cited in MLA format.
    • Revise multiple drafts using a rubric for self-editing.
    Building on sixth grade learning, by the end of seventh grade, Parker students are expected to...
    • Demonstrate an understanding of grammar, usage, and mechanics appropriate to the seventh grade instruction in the Daily Grammar Practice (DGP) program.
    • Recognize and write a variety of simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences.
    • Transition from writing paragraphs to writing multi-paragraph expository essays that include a formal thesis statement and further explanation of key ideas and evidence.
    • Revise multiple drafts using a rubric for both self-editing and peer editing.
    • Use research skills to compose the interdisciplinary Renaissance Paper.
    • Demonstrate flexibility with structure depending on purpose, audience, task, and voice.
    Building on seventh grade learning, by the end of eighth grade, Parker students are expected to...
    • Demonstrate an understanding of grammar, usage, and mechanics appropriate to the eighth grade instruction in the Daily Grammar Practice (DGP) program.
    • Use the narrative form to explore the significance of the individual within a global context by telling their own story and the stories of others.
    • Use the multi-paragraph expository form with a level of skill that demonstrates flexibility in structure in order to effectively develop and present evidence in support of a thesis.
    • Use the multi-paragraph expository form in a scientific context.
    • Use research skills to compose and present an original paper and speech on a contemporary global issue.
    • Demonstrate originality of thought and movement toward a mature voice and style.
Francis Parker School is a private, independent, coeducational, college preparatory day school for students in Junior Kindergarten through Grade 12 from across San Diego County. Founded in 1912, the Lower School is located on the Mission Hills Campus with the Upper and Middle Schools on the Linda Vista Campus. Parker's mission is to inspire a diverse community of independent thinkers whose academic excellence, global perspective and strength of character prepare them to make a meaningful difference in the world.

Mission Hills Campus Lower School

4201 Randolph Street
San Diego, CA 92103

Linda Vista Campus Middle/Upper School

6501 Linda Vista Road
San Diego, CA 92111
858 / 569-7900