How we learn
Our SEL curriculum in action
Seattle School for Boys offers a balanced curriculum that prepares students for a variety of high school learning and social environments. Our qualified teachers ensure that our students are challenged in the standard core subjects of math, science, language arts and the humanities. Students also choose electives such as music, art, agriculture, cooking, and other endeavors.
A cross-curricular framework
Our integrated framework is designed specifically for active middle school boys, builds an educational ecosystem with our community, enacts our values and helps us guide scholars to be the best version of themselves.
Me | We | Them
About Social-Emotional Learning
Implemented in four thematic phases during each academic year, with themes building off of one another throughout the three middle school years, our curriculum centers around Social-Emotional-Learning (SEL):
Sixth Grade = Me
“Who am I? How do I learn”
Seventh Grade = We/Us
“How do I work with my peers? How do I create healthy relationships?”
Eighth Grade = Them
“How do we support our community? How do we create sustainable futures?”
Not only do our students gain a solid foundation in core competencies, but they develop skills to grow into compassionate leaders and trusted team members. And all the while, our students stay engaged and interested in joyful learning!
A key to the Seattle School for Boys is cross-curricular learning. Our teachers work together to develop an integrated approach for students across subjects and classrooms.
A balanced approach
Our cross-curricular framework thematically builds skills across each grade throughout the academic year. Classes are small and scholars are encouraged to move their bodies and minds. This year, students are helping build our Rain Garden across the street from the school, with the support of community partners Nurturing Roots, Dynamic Waters and the Community Day Center for Children. By 8th grade scholars complete their Keystone project through group design, internships, and community service projects, leaving their legacy for young scholars to come.
Contact us or plan a visit to learn more about how we are changing education for middle school boys and see if our innovative approach is right for your family.
SIXTH GRADE = Me
In four thematic phases over the year, our 6th graders learn how the brain works, how it changes during the learning process, and how it is impacted by nutrition, exercise, sleep, environment, and stress. Moreover, students learn “brain hacks” to optimize their learning as middle school students.
The SSB Learning Cycle is introduced. Students explore concepts of self-awareness and self-expression, with routine opportunities for personal reflections, realizations, and revised thoughts. Developing self-awareness evolves into thoughts and feelings around interpersonal awareness, and the study of and integration with various cultures and communities while making time for authentic connections. The year culminates with keystone projects that allow each student to creatively share their collective learning experiences from the year and how it has prepared them for next year.
September – November
Empathy and Understanding
Engaging the SSB Learning Cycle in relation to their understanding of bias, power dynamics, and responsibility.
Exploring the importance of seeking multiple perspectives.
Learning how to take action to support marginalized voices in local, national, and/or global issues.
November – January
Defining interpersonal awareness and intrapersonal awareness in their own words
Connecting inter- and intra-personal awareness to others from different racial, gender, socio economic backgrounds
Developing a deeper understanding of the world and how to advocate for justice
January – March
Exploring representation of gender in media and academics.
Understanding how heroes take on many different forms and learn to communicate that narrative.
Building from this understanding to further develop healthy masculinity.
March – June
Connecting the SSB Learning Cycle in relation to their understanding of bias, power dynamics, and responsibility.
The importance of seeking multiple perspectives.
How to take action to support marginalized voices in local, national, and/or global issues.
SEVENTH GRADE = We
Building from the previous year, our 7th graders begin the year learning to move beyond stereotypes and social messages around unhealthy masculinity, instead focusing on positive character development and a thorough understanding of respect and empathy. The next phase helps our students practice resiliency, manage stress, and overcome adversity, while teaching them appropriate language when met with unfavorable outcomes and allowing them to move away from stratifying labels.
The scholars cover their own and others’ culture and history, broadening their perspectives and helping to strengthen their intrinsic motivation and a sense of invested interest in the environment around them. Connecting character, resilience, and culture, our 7th graders close out the year by collectively setting goals to address the global challenges we face.
September – November
Exploring positive character traits such as respect, empathy, and how it relates themselves and others
How environments, words, and images can shape how people behave.
Developing language around their personal values and ethics
November – January
Solution Based Inquiry
Identifying challenges and make plans to address them
Understanding the value of not succeeding
Developing self-soothing techniques to use when met with challenges.
January – March
Studying the history of their own culture
Scholars broaden their worldview to appreciate the cultural roots of others
Discovering values and practices shared by groups of individuals
March – June
Scholars showcase all that they have learned about character, resilience, and culture to make the world a better place.
Scholars make plans to solve social issues
Critical assessments of the local, national, or global needs of others
EIGHTH GRADE = Them
Growing from the seeds planted and nourished in 6th and 7th grades, the 8th grade year has a strong community focus. Students grasp the importance of wellbeing through a sense of belonging to a greater community, fostered by empathy and compassion. Students become adept at building and sustaining healthy relationships inside and outside of the classroom.
As our students begin to think about high school, they strengthen their understanding of positive social circles, comparing and contrasting real-world versus virtual relationships.
Additionally, students tackle serious societal issues and current events, designing solutions and partnering closely with community groups to see solutions in action. The year culminates with the concept of personal choice and sound decision-making. 8th graders reflect on their middle school experience and collectively create a Keystone Project — leaving a legacy for incoming 6th graders that celebrates healthy communication, a balanced confidence, and a genuine commitment to community.
September – November
SCIENCE / SOCIAL STUDIES
Sharing the importance of belonging
Scholars make community contracts with 6th, 7th, and 8th grade classes
Collaborating and working with community partners while learning
November – January
SOCIAL STUDIES / LANGUAGE ARTS
Scholars find authentic purpose to learning
Using SSB Learning Cycle to teach others about their passions
Developing ways to contribute to community in long-lasting and meaningful ways
January – March
SOCIAL STUDIES / MATH
An in-depth look into the positive and negative effects of virtual social circles
Exploring diverse social circles and explain how they inform one’s interpersonal relationships
Scholars work together to reinforce positive social circles at SSB
March – June
SOCIAL STUDIES / SCIENCE / MATH / LANGUAGE ARTS
Scholars reflect on their middle school experience and decide upon a legacy project that for incoming scholars the next year
Scholars make a personal decision-making flowchart
Completing the design and execution of a community-driven keystone project
Scholars have four academic periods every day, maximizing deep learning opportunities and minimizing cognitive overload.
All scholars engage in a weekly Wellness and Community Period to focus on individual SEL development and community civil engagement. These times boost healthy socialization with teachers and peers.
Instead of sitting on the sidelines of their education, each SSB student takes an active role in the progress of their academic journey. We use standards-based grading (1-4 system) with narrative assesments.
Core subjects are centered around critical thinking, checkpoints, and creative solutions, which include lots of binary, factual information. Plenty of quizzes and tests are administered to provide teachers with accurate assessments of learning that align with individualized student growth goals. For the benefit of our students, however, our teachers go beyond the quantifiable, carefully articulating in narrative form the skills mastered, concept understood, and outcomes achieved for each student.
These narrative assessments are generated three times during the school year, following the culmination of each phase of the SSB Curricular Framework, with three mid-quarter check-ins between narrative assessments.
Connected with the three narrative assessments are student-led conferences. Each student prepares in advance for their conference, celebrating academic achievements, social and emotional growth, and intangible progress. Moreover, students weave their learning to mid-term and long-term goals.
Many teens have become more connected to their screens than their natural environment. We believe human interaction is key to building compassionate behaviors. At SSB phones are stored away until the end of the day and technology is used to acquire and extend academic knowledge.
Transition time & support
Throughout the year we offer advisory groups and highlight strategies intended to support organization and executive function. These include discussions of various “isms” and social/emotional support and guidance.
Athletics & After School Activities
Scholars are encouraged to have plenty of active movement and our physical education programs rotate throughout the year. Our Fall Trimester offers Cross Country and Ultimate, Winter Trimester is Basketball and ESports, and Spring Trimester is Student Choice. We coordinate with community partners throughout the school year, addressing both physical and psychological components.
Example of SSB’s daily schedule
A day in the life…
See how an SSB Sixth Grader spends a typical Green Day!
1st Period — Advisory
At the beginning of each day, students participates in a check-in with their Advisor. With their advisor, students review their daily planner and schedule for the day.
2nd Period — Wellness
In their grade level wellness groups, students are discussing relationships. Exploring what positive and negative relationships look like. Students learn tools for identifying these relationships and how to work with peers to forest relationships and interactions they desire.
3rd Period — Math
Students are working with statistics. They are introduced to mean, average, and deviation. Using real world data, the class is looking at weather temperatures to determine averages in specific months and counting candy from five different companies to identify deviation in favor offers per package.
4th Period — Language Arts
Students are working on non-fiction text structures, as well as focusing their text structures around the human body and its functions. This supports their work in science as they are learning about the brain.
5th Period — Lunch
Students eat lunch in the commons together, then choose from indoor and outdoor activities ranging from ping pong, board games, or a trip to the park.
6th Period — Physical Education
In Cross Country, students ran a course around Pratt Park. After running, students sit and take in the sun’s energy during a mindfulness exercise prior to walking back to campus.
7th Period — Social Studies
Faculty has the class going through their day-two observations of their mummified apples. As part of their S.T.E.A.M. project, students also designed a sarcophagus to connect with the their work in the study of Egyptian culture.
8th Period — Science
Students are learning about the heart and circulatory system. The students are utilizing their digital notebooks and practicing the Cornell note taking method.
2100 E Spruce Street, Seattle WA 98122
SSB uses the word “boys” to include any child who identifies as or who has been socialized as a boy.
The school does not discriminate on the basis of race, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, or family composition in administration of its educational policies, admission policies, scholarship programs, athletic and other school-administered programs. We admit students who identify as boys from any race, national or ethnic origin, or family composition to all rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school.
Seattle School for Boys is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, citizenship, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual identity, marital status, gender identity, or any other categories protected by federal, state, or local law.