Why Sixth Grade at Friends Academy?

Sixth grade is when students move from Lower School to Middle School, making it an excellent entry point into Friends Academy. Whether they are new to Friends or have risen up from Lower School, all sixth grade students spend their first days of Middle School in a thoughtful orientation, where they get to know their new teachers, classrooms, and subjects and bond with each other during Outside the Classroom Week. Faculty provide a guiding hand throughout the year to help students navigate their schedules and transition between classes.

Although students have separate teachers for each academic subject for the first time in sixth grade, faculty frequently work together to provide interdisciplinary learning experiences – such as using the evolution of jazz in America as a natural meeting point between music, history, and language arts. Students dive deep into the history of the United States’ first century in social studies, while accelerated math classes help students prepare to take algebra in eighth grade.

Beyond the classroom, sixth grade positions students as school leaders through service learning. Sixth grade students volunteer around the school each Friday morning: supporting Lower School students and teachers in their classes, planting and harvesting crops in the garden, and even picking up recycling from classrooms around the school.

“Friends doesn’t just teach academics — they support and uplift mind, body, and soul. That’s why we love them.”

Parent of a sixth grade student

Features of the Sixth Grade Experience

  • Sixth grade students sit in a circle during advisory and orientation.

    Morning Advisory

    In sixth grade, students graduate from Lower School homerooms to daily morning advisories: small groups of students with a teacher. Students continue to use Ripple Journals to facilitate advisory conversations and reflections.

  • Two sixth grade students work together at a desk in class.

    Introduction to Letter Grading

    Sixth grade students receive letter grades as well as narrative comments for each subject. Feedback is provided on a regular basis so students and parents/guardians know what is going well and what skills need attention.

  • Sixth grade students present during an interdisciplinary unit.

    Interdisciplinary Units With Specials

    Specials are a major player in the sixth grade schedule, and many teachers work together to create interdisciplinary units to connect topics across subjects.

  • A sixth grade student holds up a leek grown in the Friends Academy garden.

    Leadership Through Service

    Weekly service learning positions sixth graders as leaders in the school community, helping out around the school with Lower School classrooms, the campus garden, and more.

  • Sixth grade students take part in an outdoor teambuilding activity during Outside the Classroom Week.

    Outside the Classroom Week

    Sixth graders spend the first full week of school exploring campus and getting to know their teachers and each other during Outside the Classroom Week. There’s even an overnight campout!

Meet the Sixth Grade Team

The sixth 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

    Sixth Grade Language Arts Teacher/Advisor
  • Kassidy Cestodio

    Kassidy Cestodio

    Sixth Grade Science Teacher/Advisor
  • Ben Currotto

    Ben Currotto

    Sixth Grade Social Studies Teacher
  • David Lobato

    David Lobato

    Sixth Grade Math Teacher
  • Patty Palmer

    Patty Palmer

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

    Lauren Wheaton

    Sixth Grade Sally Borden Program Math Teacher
  • John Borowicz, Middle School Art Teacher

    John Borowicz

    Middle School Art Teacher
  • Erik Kenyon

    Erik Kenyon

    Latin Teacher
  • Kelly Matias

    Kelly Matias

    Spanish Teacher
  • Putnam Murdock, Middle School Music Teacher

    Putnam Murdock

    Middle School Music and Drama Teacher/Sixth Grade Advisor
  • Megan O'Brien, Learning Specialist

    Megan O’Brien

    Learning Specialist
  • Michael Williams, Middle School Physical Education Teacher

    Michael Williams

    Middle School Physical Education Teacher
  • Tim Cleary

    Tim Cleary

    Head of Middle School

Submit an Application for Sixth Grade

Are you interested in sixth grade at Friends Academy for your child? Submit an inquiry or an application today!

Sixth Grade Curriculum

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


Language Arts

  • Delve into a diverse selection of texts that highlight a variety of different voices, developing the ability to analyze, interpret, and draw conclusions from text.
  • Engage in regular class discussions, fostering the ability to express ideas confidently and respectfully while simultaneously learning to actively listen.
  • Craft narratives, persuasive essays, and informative compositions to improve writing mechanics while honing their voice.


  • Develop a foundation in more advanced, abstract math topics such as algebra and geometry.
  • Explore concepts related to area, percentage, rate, ratio, proportional relationships, and rational numbers through hands-on activities and real-world problems.
  • Differentiate equations from expressions, learning to solve and simplify everything from exponential functions to single-variable equations.
  • Analyze data to make predictions in everyday scenarios.

Social Studies

  • Explore key events, significant figures, and major transformations that shaped the United States’ first 100 years as a nation, from the American Revolution to the Civil War. Students examine the ideas that shaped the birth of the United States, the impacts of westward expansion, and the challenges that led to the Civil War.
  • Make connections between past events and the present, fostering a sense of civic responsibility and an appreciation for the diverse and evolving nature of the United States.


  • Delve into the captivating world of life science, including ecology, trees and plants, adaptations, genetics, birds, beaches, and anatomy.
  • Hone data recording and observation skills through hands-on labs, field studies, group projects, and nature journaling.
  • Spark curiosity and instill a passion for lifelong scientific exploration and environmental understanding.

World Languages

  • Spanish: Build a strong Spanish vocabulary and establish functional language skills through reading, writing, and speaking; Engage with the vibrant cultures of the Spanish-speaking world through interactive lessons and activities.
  • Latin: Learn Latin root words and grammatical structures that underlie English and other modern languages; Explore the cultures, religions, and arts of the ancient and medieval Mediterranean, including economics, city planning, colonialism, and mythology.


  • 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.


  • Focus on a number of musical leaders and how they used their influence to inspire nations, create change, and become part of the fabric of history.
  • Write and perform melodies and study motifs and themes to understand how the melody of a song tells a story.
  • Maintain music reading and piano skills.
  • Introduce GarageBand as a means to write, record, and document musical learning.

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

  • Take part in a rotation of on-campus service opportunities to expose students to different ways they can contribute to the school community.
  • On-campus service opportunities include volunteering in Lower School classes and working on the campus garden and trails.