Why Eighth Grade at Friends Academy?

Eighth grade is the culmination of the Friends Academy experience; as such, our oldest students naturally step into the role of school leaders. Over the course of the year, students reflect on the growth they’ve made while preparing for life after graduation. Even as their responsibilities and academic rigor increase, students are still guided by caring faculty who know them well and help them succeed.

The eighth grade curriculum is crafted to align with the skills that our region’s leading independent secondary schools are looking for in their students. This includes the study of algebra and geometry in math, lab-based physical science classes, and deep investigations of historical, social, political, and artistic movements in the humanities and arts. Teachers frequently work together to connect topics across subjects – such as how art, music, literature, and social studies influenced one another in the late 19th and 20th centuries of the U.S.

Where eighth grade shines is in its community – from the relationships between students, faculty, and families to the many opportunities for reflection, exploration, and giving back. In morning advisory, students take time to think about their progress and accomplishments so they can discover their potential. Families partner with teachers and administrators to discover and apply to good-fit secondary schools. And through service learning, eighth graders become school and community leaders. These and other experiences help our graduating students build the confidence to take risks, the focus to prepare for their next steps, and the gratitude for the strong foundation they built at Friends.

“Thank you for caring for and teaching our children over the past 10 years. We are beyond grateful for all the faculty and staff that have shaped their lives daily and helped to instill caring, kindness, curiosity, and joy. Thank you for building the foundation of their education in such a strong and compassionate way.”

Parents of an eighth grade student and an alum

Features of the Eighth Grade Experience

  • Alumni graduation tiles at Friends Academy.

    Graduation Tiles

    In the spring of eighth grade, each student designs a 12” x 12” tile that expresses themselves. These alumni tiles permanently decorate the walls of the school, dating back to the 1950s.

  • A teacher works one on one with an eighth grade student.

    Support with the Secondary School Process

    Whether you plan for public or private high school after FA, families get one-on-one support to find great-fit schools, prep students for interviews, and successfully complete applications.

  • A Middle School student teaches an elderly person how to use a computer during off-campus service learning.

    Leadership Through Service

    Weekly service learning positions eighth graders as campus and community leaders. Students design service projects that help fill a need, either at school or with a local organization.

  • Eighth grade students take part in the sword dance during the Revels holiday concert.

    Special Eighth Grade Events

    Eighth graders take part in special activities to honor their final year at FA, including Chewonki in Maine for Outside the Classroom Week, the winter concert sword dance, and running an end-of-year car wash and carnival.

  • A graduating student shakes hands with the Head of School during Class Day.

    Class Day Ceremony

    On graduation day in June, the eighth grade Class Day ceremony is filled with special traditions – from the ringing of the Morgan Street Bell to individual faculty speeches about each student.

Meet the Eighth Grade Team

The eighth grade team at Friends Academy includes classroom teachers, specialists, and administrators. They work together to get to know each child personally and create a comprehensive, interdisciplinary education.

  • Michael Britt

    Michael Britt

    Eighth Grade Social Studies Teacher
  • Jenn DiPietro

    Jenn DiPietro

    Eighth Grade Science Teacher/Advisor
  • Erik Kenyon

    Erik Kenyon

    Eighth Grade Language Arts Teacher/Advisor, Latin Teacher
  • David Lobato

    David Lobato

    Eighth Grade Math Teacher/Advisor
  • Lindsey Baillargeron

    Lindsey Baillargeron

    Eighth Grade Sally Borden Program Humanities Teacher/Advisor
  • Lauren Wheaton

    Lauren Wheaton

    Eighth Grade Sally Borden Program Math Teacher/Advisor
  • John Borowicz, Middle School Art Teacher

    John Borowicz

    Middle School Art Teacher
  • Putnam Murdock, Middle School Music Teacher

    Putnam Murdock

    Middle School Music and Drama Teacher
  • Tisha McGonigle

    Kitashia McGonigle

    Learning Specialist
  • Michael Williams, Middle School Physical Education Teacher

    Michael Williams

    Middle School Physical Education Teacher
  • Tim Cleary

    Tim Cleary

    Head of Middle School/Eighth Grade Advisor

It’s Not Too Late to Enter in Eighth Grade!

Submit an inquiry or an application today for your child to finish Middle School strong at Friends Academy.

Eighth Grade Curriculum

Families can keep track of their child’s academic progress and assignments in eighth grade via regular online updates from teachers. (See an example.)


Language Arts

  • Through interdisciplinary studies with social studies, music, and art, explore the interconnection of literary, artistic, technological, and philosophical movements from the Industrial Revolution to today, including the Classical, Romantic, and Modernist periods and World War II.
  • Develop essays, write poems and songs, and practice analytic writing.
  • Investigate ethical reasoning through futuristic works of fiction and modern media and political debates.


  • In First Year Algebra, students learn about different types of equations and functions, with the goal of discovering how math can be applied in real-world situations to make generalizations and predictions.
  • Carry out operations using linear equations and real numbers (rational, radical, and irrational).
  • Introduce exponential, quadratic, and rational functions, exploring the properties of each function and their value in analyzing data.

Social Studies

  • Examine key figures, pivotal events, and landmark legislation of the past 150 years of U.S. history, including the World Wars, Civil Rights Movement, the Cold War, and 9/11.
  • Explore more recent issues that have shaped our nation, from foreign relations and immigration policies to environmental concerns and income inequality.
  • Recognize connections between the past and present, empowering students to think critically and become responsible global citizens.


  • Focus on physical science, with an emphasis on chemistry, including topics such as mass and volume, water quality, and how to separate mixtures.
  • Strengthen scientific documentation, observation, and data collection skills through hands-on laboratory projects.
  • Learn how to safely design and conduct lab experiments from start to finish, including properly handling materials, the use of protective equipment, and the importance of safety protocols.

World Languages

  • Spanish: Focus on mastering present tenses of verbs, with an introduction to past and simple future tenses; Explore the diverse perspectives and experiences of Spanish-speaking countries, with a focus on Guatemala.
  • Latin: Continue to learn Latin root words and grammatical structures; Examine philosophical foundations of Rome and Greece through works by Arabic and medieval writers as well as ancient poems and modern Latin novellas.


  • Use and develop powers of observation, memory, and imagination as springboards to create artwork.
  • Introduce general concepts and basic techniques of drawing and design through units on still life, landscape, and portraiture.
  • Develop personal narratives and sequential artwork, including long-form comics and graphic novels.
  • Learn about the concepts of realism, abstraction, non-representation, and collaboration.


  • Investigate how music can generate impact in a global society by researching a protest-oriented song and recording an informational podcast about it.
  • Explore the significance of music, both as a standalone art form and through fusion with other media, using GarageBand to compose a film score that imparts emotion.
  • Learn the art of stating, repeating, and developing motifs, from constructing bass lines to writing verses to creating captivating melodies.

Physical Education & Health

  • Promote physical movement and motor skill competency through activities including soccer, handball, basketball, volleyball, kickball, and ultimate frisbee.
  • Practice skills such as communication, following the rules of the game, proper form and technique, spacing and body positioning, and team strategizing.

Service Learning

  • Building upon service learning experiences of prior years, students build their own capstone service project, individually or with a group.
  • Students identify a community need, develop their idea, execute their project, and reflect on the experience.