Personal Development

Most teachers in the Middle School are also advisors to students. Each student meets daily with his or her advisor. An advisor's support helps students navigate challenges, pressures, and choices that students face at school and sometimes beyond school. The school counselor oversees the advisor program, is a resource for advisors and parents, and another adult carefully overseeing the emotional wellbeing of our students. Advisors also keep an academic watch on their advisees so that students, who may meet with many different teachers through the course of their day, have someone with an eye on their overall performance. Advisors also act as a link between school and home. They reinforce and/or revisit many of following topics mentioned in the sixth, seventh, and eighth grade personal development program.

5th Grade Personal Development

In 5th grade personal development, students will focus on their physical and personal health, as well as their social and emotional well-being. Students will be introduced to a number of specific topics, including the relationship between nutrition and their health, the nature of positive interpersonal relationships, stress and stress management, and, more generally, the importance of physical activity, a healthy diet, and adequate rest. As 5th grade is an introduction to personal development, all of these topics will be explored more in depth in subsequent years.

6th Grade Health

In this class, students learn about the importance of developing habits and skills to enhance overall health and well-being.

Students will study age-appropriate health topics and practice skills to develop healthy habits and make the best choices for themselves now and in the future. By increasing healthy habits and reducing risk behaviors, we will work to promote strong bonds between students and among all members of the Thayer community. Topics include:

  • Health Triangle - Introduction and discussion of social, physical, and mental health with an emphasis on personal responsibility
  • Family Discussion & Activity
  • Friendship Discussion & Activity
  • Communication Skills/Activities
  • Introduction to the Food Plate
  • Introduction to Good Hygiene
  • Self-Esteem/Self-Confidence
  • Saying “No”/Group Role Play
  • Stress Management
  • Choices & Accountability
Throughout the year, we further reinforce and/or revisit many of these topics through the Middle School Advisory program in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades.

7th Grade Decisions

In Decisions class, students spend the year exploring a number of issues that concern them as individuals in society, be it as seventh graders at Thayer Academy, as members of their families, or as friends in their peer groups. The goal of this class is to help students develop skills around making decisions in all aspects of life, including peer pressure, personal health, relationships, and leadership. Activities and discussions in class will serve as a framework for learning about making decisions and talking about different issues. The class also includes adventure-based learning activities through Project Adventure that promote character growth, a sense of one's place within a group, and a greater understanding of responsibility for oneself and the group. Decisions class is an opportunity to participate in meaningful conversations about what students are thinking, what concerns them, and what they will encounter in the future. Topics include:

  • Understanding decision making
  • Good kids/bad decisions
  • Who influences our decisions?
  • How do decisions change with every new situation?
  • Six steps to making a decision
  • Technology
  • What does technology mean to you?
  • How important is technology to you?
  • Internet safety
  • Digital citizenship
  • Social networking
  • Technology tips for teens
  • Forgiveness
  • Cliques and Stereotypes
  • Community service
  • Equality
  • Bullying in Schools
  • Teenage drinking
  • Teen drinking and driving
  • Diversity, Discrimination, and Tolerance

8th Grade Contributing Citizens

This course begins with an analysis of the school's mission. From this analysis, students see how each grade theme is derived and how the mission applies to them. Students then generate ideas about leadership and identify areas within our community towards which they can make a significant contributions. Discovering ways they can bring about positive change and then acting upon that, students learn about the responsibilities of citizenship and work towards developing their sense of social and cultural awareness. The class is augmented by a four-day program run by Freedom from Chemical Dependency (FCD).