6th grade students practice their Human Skills giving TED-style talks to their class.


Middle School Human Skills

Develop Personal, Social, and Emotional Skills

Human Skills is a comprehensive wellness curriculum that students take in all three years of Middle School.

During the Human Skills program, students learn skills that aim to develop their personal, social and emotional competencies. In addition, these classes provide a trusting environment for students to explore the pre-teen and teen experience. Topics over the three years may include effective communication, building self-esteem, digital citizenship, public speaking, managing anxiety, healthy relationships and gender identity.

  • Human Skills 6: Meets twice per rotation for a trimester. In this course, students explore personal development, emotional intelligence, and relationships with peers. Topics include new friendships, effective communication, self-esteem, bullying, and how to navigate the transition to middle school.
  • Human Skills 7: Meets twice per rotation for a trimester. The course centers on the theme of choices and consequences. Topics include identifying personal goals, digital citizenship, brain fitness, mindfulness-based stress reduction, diversity and inclusion, media literacy, drug education, and refusal skills.
  • Human Skills 8: Meets twice per rotation for a trimester. In this course, students learn about human sexuality. Topics include anatomy and physiology, healthy relationships, sexual health, contraceptive choices, gender/sexual identity, and setting limits.

Human Skills Faculty

Kaila Uniacke

Middle School Counselor and Human Skills Teacher

Course Offerings

Grade: 6

Human Skills 6

Sixth Graders explore the social and emotional aspects of strong communities and reflect on how their class can embody a strong community in order to support one another throughout their middle school experience. They practice communication skills such as active listening, perspective taking, and using an assertive voice. They reflect on their values in relation to one another and society. Students expand their ability to be introspective and reflective and learn concepts of positive psychology including optimism, growth mindset, and gratitude. Students practice identifying their own and others’ emotions and develop positive ways of managing feelings of disappointment, anger and frustration. They identify the characteristics of friendship and discuss positive strategies for handling conflict. Students review the difference between tattling and telling, in order to enlist adult support for a friend in certain circumstances. A variety of media is used to promote discussions around positive school climate and personal responsibility. Current film clips and ad campaigns are shown to teach media literacy and to explore stereotyping, prejudice and racism.

Grade: 7

Human Skills 7

In this semester-long course, students discuss their talents, passions and joys as well as the various stresses and challenges they may encounter. Students identify sources of strength in their lives and make action plans for self-care. Students learn about the adverse effects of various substances and the psychology of addiction. Portions of the documentary films Miss Representation and The Mask You Live In are used to spark thought and discussion related to stereotypes, prejudice, and critical consumption of media. Students explore concepts within social psychology such as “groupthink” and bystander intervention.

Grade: 8

Human Skills 8

In this course, students explore and discuss a wide range of topics under the broad area of human sexuality. Students identify aspects of healthy and unhealthy relationships and discuss personal values concerning dating and relationships, including the topic of consent and setting personal boundaries. They review the human reproductive systems and increase their knowledge and understanding of various methods of preventing sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy. Students further explore gender roles and stereotypes in our culture, and examine how these stereotypes affect human relationships, scrutinizing the effect of media. Students watch a variety of documentary films to expand their understanding of human sexuality. They learn the distinctions between sex, sexuality and gender and practice appropriate language in discussing these constructs. There is an ongoing focus on wellness and mental health in the course. Students review concepts about nutrition, sleep, managing stress, and identifying signs of anxiety and depression. As with Human Skills 6 and 7, students consider circumstances when enlisting adult support is warranted in order to take care of themselves and each other.

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