Middle School

HudsonWay provides a personalized middle school experience that challenges and supports students on their journey to becoming global citizens.  Students are encouraged to thoughtfully engage in a host of academic areas, from health and humanities to mathematics and music.

Students will become bilingual and biliterate, challenge themselves in solving interdisciplinary problems of a global nature, embark on service-learning and study trips abroad, and develop executive skills that support self-understanding and empowerment through participation in a weekly advisory group with a faculty member.

Middle school students receive 40% of instruction in the target language (Mandarin or Spanish) and 60% of instruction in English.

Subjects taught in the Target language:
• Mandarin or Spanish Language Arts
• Humanities/History
• Executive Skills Development

Subjects taught in English
• English Language Arts
• Sciences: Earth Science, Physical Science, & Life Science
• Mathematics
• Arts: Visual Arts & Music
• Physical and Health Education

There are two tracks for middle school students:

Immersion Track - for students who have completed the elementary immersion program

Middle School Entry - for students wanting to develop strong bilingual skills without prior target language exposure.

Middle School Entry Track

Students can join HWIS in 6 without prior experience in immersion or a second language. Students joining this track will be grouped in a separate language class with a dedicated language teacher and joined with existing immersion students for subjects taught in English. The goal of this program is for students to develop intermediate level of language proficiency by Grade 8, giving them an advantage in high school for further study and attainment of the Global Seal of Biliteracy.

Our middle school students benefit from small class sizes providing an intimate learning environment in which they are challenged yet supported to achieve their full potential.

Renzo starting at HWIS in Grade 6 with no prior Mandarin

Renzo graduated from HWIS in 8th grade fluent in Mandarin and attending Bronx Science in Fall 2022.

Middle School FAQs

1How are students who have come into the accelerated language track doing?
We have had several students come into Grade 6 with little or no prior exposure to the language. At first, they may only understand part of the subject matter, but they quickly learn since they are immersed in the language. Expectations for these students are different and over time they develop confidence in their abilities. English language arts, math and science are taught in English so integrating with current students in these subjects helps ease the transition. By the end of the 8th grade these students can be expected to be fluent and able to move into AP level classes in Grade 9 or 10 and earn a Global Seal of Biliteracy.
2How does the curriculum compare with that of other private or public middle schools?
The curriculum for grades 6-8 is developed in accordance with the same core content standards as used in other top tier independent schools. Students can move at an individualized pace in math with students often 1-2 years ahead of what is taught in traditional schools. For English language arts, students use the Socratic method to discuss and analyze literature across different genre and Readers and Writers workshop to develop writing skills in argument, informative and narrative writing.
3How does the schedule work and what topics are taught in English vs. The target language?
In middle school, students receive about 40% of instruction, which are language arts, and humanities in the target language. Some electives may also be taught in the target language. For example, Spanish students in grade 6 are taking a journalism elective in which they are learning about the journalistic process and creating their own bilingual newspaper.
4What clubs and other activities are helping students to develop interests?
In a typical school year, there are after school activities such as robotics, chess, third language, math club, spelling bee, karate taking place after school hours in which students can explore interests outside of subjects taught during the day. Though this year they have been put on hold due to the pandemic, we expect to resume these activities the following year.
5What level can they achieve in the second language and how can this help them?
Students who have completed the elementary program and assessed in the spring of their 5th grade year are typically scoring at intermediate mid to intermediate high levels for Mandarin and Spanish which may correlate to a 4 or 5 on the AP exam. We expect students who continue on through middle school to score at advanced low/mid by the end of Grade 8.
6What high schools and colleges have our students ex-missioned to?
Students who attend HWIS and choose to ex-missions after being in the program for 6-9 years typically get into their first-choice independent school. HWIS NJ students have been accepted to Newark Academy, Pingry, Kent Place, Morristown-Beard, and Montclair-Kimberly Academy as well as K-8 schools in the area. HWIS NY students have been accepted to Brearley, Chapin, Spence, Riverdale, Trinity, Horace Mann, UNIS, Speyer Legacy, Friends Seminary to name a few.
7How is being in a smaller social environment helpful to students?
We see that students in our program develop very strong friendships due to small class sizes. They develop strong teamwork skills because unlike that in a large classroom, students have to learn to work with each personality. There is training on communication, resolving conflict and accepting of others. We hear from students who have left HWIS that the transition to other environments have been smooth.
8How can curriculum be delivered in a mixed grade class?
In some of the classes, we have students from two grades together in one classroom such as Grade 4 and Grade 5. Teachers are able to differentiate by teaching the same unit such as Colonial America and applying a broad rubric of expectations which encompass the goals of each grade. The classroom variation we see may be similar across two grades that a large classroom may see in one grade where there are 16-18 students.
9What are the plans for the service learning projects?
A unique aspect of the HWIS experience is for students in Grades 7 and 8 to spend 10 days during spring break visiting the country where either Mandarin or Spanish is spoken as a native language. During this time students will work on a meaningful service project in which they will work with local, learning content and using the language.
10How will the school support ex-missions for students in middle school?
HWIS will provide a consultant to work with each student beginning in the spring of Grade 7 to identify a list of schools which would be a good fit for that child, provide information to parents on the process, and support the student individually with aspects of the application such as interview preparation etc. Our goal is to support students interested in continuing to either independent or public high schools.

Curriculum Overview

1English
The middle school English and world literature curriculum fosters critical reading and expression using the Socratic seminar format. Exploring a variety of genres and literary forms, students analyze classic literary works to reflect on identity, perspective, culture, and community.

Students also develop powerful and analytical writing using the Writer’s Workshop approach with its focus on writing mechanics, exposure to various writing styles and supporting written statements with persuasive arguments.

Literature will include such works as:

• “A Long Walk to Water” by Linda Sue Park
• “Wonder” by R. J. Palacio
• “The Giver” by Louis Lowry
• “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller
• “The Odyssey” by Homer
• “The Canterbury Tales” by Geoffrey Chaucer
2Humanities & History
Taught in the target language, students continue to develop strong skills in listening, reading, writing, and speaking by discussing topics organized around themes.

Themes vary by grade.

Grade 5: Ancient World
Grade 6: Geography – Religions and People
Grade 7: Medieval World
Grade 8: The United States through Modern Times

HWIS strengthens the global perspectives of our students by incorporating authentic resources from around the world as well as using documents supporting multiple viewpoints.

At times, there will be combined units with English language arts and history that encompass the review of documentation from Stanford History Education Group’s “Reading Like a Historian.” Critical review and analysis are the focus rather than the memorization of facts.
3Target Language Arts
Mandarin learning will continue in middle school through the use of Better Immersion materials as well as authentic materials and literature.

Spanish learning in middle school will continue with Journeys as well as local literature and well-known works, For example, “I am Malala” is read and analyzed as part of the Grade 5 Spanish curriculum. The target will be to continue students’ progress in reading, writing, speaking and listening to the intermediate high and advanced low levels.
4Math
HWIS has the ability to put students into small flexible groups to challenge and support students at various math levels. Due to the effectiveness of this approach, our students are typically on a one to two year accelerated track for mathematics.

We use Singapore Math as a resource, and math is taught in English.

Here is an example of a students’ experience on a one-year acceleration math sequence:

Grade 6: General math
Grade 7: Pre-algebra
Grade 8: Algebra


Those on a two-year acceleration would complete Geometry in Grade 8.
5Science
Middle school science has an integrated curriculum involving earth, live and physical science with different aspects taught each grade. HWIS uses hands-on projects designed to help students experience science through the Five E Model: Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate and Evaluate.

The goal of the HWIS middle school science program is to provide a basic understanding of scientific principles followed by an understanding of the skills used in scientific discovery and exploration.

Science fairs are organized each year, and students are encouraged to deepen their knowledge and practice in developing hypotheses. The science curriculum also challenges students to design experiments, construct data, and analyze results.
6Music
HWIS has a music artist-in-residence who supports each child’s learning of an instrument such as the recorder or the guitar, music reading, and the appreciation for different types of music. Students also develop skills in vocal arts and participate in concerts.
7Art
Students have an opportunity to continue deepening their enjoyment of art through experience drawing, painting, 3D ceramics, and photography. They are encouraged to draw comparisons between their work and historical or contemporary works of art. Students develop creativity, and self-expression through these studies.
8Physical Education
Students continue to develop well-rounded physical fitness skills and team sports experiences through the coaching of our resident physical education (PE) teacher. Each season, HWIS focuses on different sports—a building-block approach to skill development.

Fall: soccer, track/fitness
Winter: basketball, volleyball, dance, karate
Spring: baseball/softball, track
9Health
For a six-week unit every year, the HWIS health curriculum covers aspects of nutrition, reproductive health, and substance abuse (tobacco, vaping, drugs) as part of an ongoing discussion of what it means to be healthy.
10Electives
Each year, students can select from a list of electives. The electives are taught three times per week. Examples of electives include: robotics/coding, drama, world language, debate, and Model United Nations.