8th and 9th Grade students

The Social Animal

Students in the 8th & 9th grade band are known as the “Social Animals” and are represented in our school culture by the wolf, an iconic figure of the inter-mountain West, and like wolves, tend to run in packs and play hard. The 8/9 band is the fulcrum of our program as years three and four out of seven, and students are in the heart of adolescence.

8/9 students are intensely interested in their peer group and are marked by a desire to assert their independence and individuality. They are no longer children but not yet adults, a space of confusion as well as opportunity, as students begin in earnest to explore and shape who they want to be when they enter society as full (adult) members.

Developmentally, the chief preoccupation of 8th and 9th graders is relationships; they are defining and re-defining their self-identity in relation to other adolescents, to their families, teachers, and coaches, to their home and regional environment, and to themselves. We see them asking the questions: Who am I? and What will my role and impact be both in society and in the landscape? To meet our students at this stage, we have designed a two-year curriculum that is all about relationships—one year focuses on human relationships to the natural world, and one year focuses on human relationships to one another and how those are defined, organized, and regulated.