In an effort to help students pursue their passions, as well as to underscore the importance of learning beyond the classroom and traditional academic areas, the Middle School offers a weekly Electives class as a part of its daily Enrichment Period. Each trimester, faculty (and some students!) design an intellectually engaging experience to be taught outside of the typical grade-level curricula. Students sign up for an elective of their choice, which then meets approximately once per week through the trimester.
Some examples of current or past Middle School Electives include, Organic Gardening, Rocketry, and Design. To illustrate, the Organic Gardening elective is taught by a PCDS faculty member to approximately fifteen students interested in sustainable gardening and good food. They build, cultivate, and support an organic garden on the PCDS campus, and each trimester harvest its fruit and vegetables to be prepared and featured in our PCDS dining hall for a special meal. The students learn the values of our connectivity to the earth, healthy eating habits, biological processes, and hard work.
Often, the electives are project-based over the course of the trimester. Students have ample opportunity to dedicate themselves to pursuing these intellectual passions beyond their traditional coursework, while building independence and time-management skills. Additionally, the PCDS Middle School Electives Program offers opportunities for PCDS faculty to teach beyond their traditional subject-specific curricula, as well as foster relationships with students in other grade levels. The Electives Program is a cornerstone Middle School experience and vital to cultivating a student culture of lifelong learning.