Middle School

5th – 8th Grade

The Girls’ School begins middle school in fifth grade because of the significant transition in girls’ development at this time. By age 10, girls are shifting from “learning to” — read, write and calculate – and beginning to apply their communication and problem-solving skills. Our environment encourages intellectual risk-taking, fosters collaboration without shying away from competition, and enables students to deepen their understanding of themselves and the world around them.

  • One class per grade
  • Small class size
  • School day 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Below you will find an overview of each subject in middle school. 



In Middle School, students continue their study of literature, history and culture in an integrated humanities curriculum.  Literature units and writing assignments allow for deeper understanding and analysis of historical events.  Students build skills in reporting, analyzing and synthesizing information. Spelling, vocabulary, writing mechanics are strengthened as they expand their writing toolkit with literary devices, and a deeper understanding of forms and genres. Essential questions examining the human experience tie historical topics to current events. Each grade produces and performs a play and enters creative writing competitions. Themes for the year are as follow: 5th grade – US History, 6th grade – World Cultures and Literature, 7th grade – US History: “Theirstory”, 8th grade – Literature in Context, and Current Events: Representation, Interrelation and Media Literacy.


GSA’s math program uses the Desmos curriculum, which is designed to put students’ ideas at its center and allows students of all ability levels to engage meaningfully in mathematical thinking. 

Desmos applies expertise in technology, pedagogy, and design to enhance their curriculum. They offer learning experiences on computers that are dynamic and interactive as well as experiences on paper that are flexible and creative. At the GSA, we utilize these blended learning resources to foster an environment where all students participate at a high level of engagement. Accompanying resources include guided notes, additional challenge problems, and family support resources for each unit of instruction.


The Middle School science program at GSA covers a wide range of topics throughout the four years, including environmental science, astronomy, geology, life science, chemistry, and physics. Students participate in labs, scientific discovery, and benefit from hands-on involvement in the subject. Those students who have completed all four science courses have several advantages that will serve them well in high school and beyond. These include a strong foundational base in the sciences, critical thinking and analytical skills, and the knowledge that women can and indeed have always contributed to scientific thought.  

Science, Engineering, and Technology

SET is a semester long class that allows students to explore STEM topics in an alternative academic setting such as math or science class. 

Our students are given the opportunity to: 

  • Familiarize themselves with technology and computer skills
  • Explore engineering topics such as simple machines and bridges
  • Embark on or continue their coding journey
  • Research special topics within the world of technology

Starting in 5th grade our students begin the transition into high school Spanish I. Middle school classes intensify their focus on grammar, present and past tense, writing skills, and cultural education through Spanish novels and project based work to understand and discuss the different cultures of Spanish speaking countries. Courses are taught 100% in Spanish and students attain low to mid-level fluency. Most GSA students complete high school Spanish I, while some complete Spanish II.

The GSA art curriculum is designed to develop each girl’s individual creativity and self-expression through a well-rounded study of art. Students are exposed to a wide variety of art forms and mediums, which are introduced in an historical context and exemplified in the work of notable artists. Artistic mediums/processes covered during the year include pastels, drawing, grayscale, acrylic painting on canvas, printmaking, pen & ink, and clay.  Middle school students are encouraged to enter their work in various local/regional/national competitions and work on their choice of multi-media independent study projects.
GSA students are required to take music lessons – either strings or piano. Music classes meet three times a week in grades 5-6 and twice a week in grades 7 and 8.

Middle School Strings

The middle school strings classes promote a refined approach to the instrument while developing a deeper appreciation of music. Students tackle a wide variety of musical styles, including pop songs, world music, and unedited classical pieces, and are introduced to jazz improvisation techniques. Units on musical analysis, theory, history, and counterpoint introduce musical concepts through playing and lay the foundation for a broader level of musicianship.  Dedicated students are encouraged to take private lessons, audition for All-Region Orchestra, and play in Chamber Orchestra. School-wide performances take place twice a year.


The piano program is individualized and developed to build applied skills in notation reading, posture, and expression. Student composition assignments and multi-media projects are designed to improve musical and creative ability and increase comfort level with experimentation, musical exploration, and performance.

PE & Health
The GSA embraces a holistic approach to health and wellness education, engaging the mind as well as the body. From fifth through eighth grade, students learn to maintain physical fitness and flexibility, as well as cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength and endurance; they also may participate in individual and team sports. They continue to practice dribbling, volleying, throwing, catching, shooting, rhythms, dance and yoga. Throughout the program, sportsmanship and teamwork are emphasized. Sex education called GET REAL Comprehensive Sex Education That Works is taught as a comprehensive program in sixth through eighth grades.
Social Emotional Learning

In Middle School social emotional learning is taught through our advisory program and integrated into the curriculum. Each grade has an advisor and an advisory class once a week. Through council, mindfulness, class meeting and small group work students explore the themes of: study skills and organization, respect for self and others, environmental stewardship, body image, integrity, , communication, identity, empathy, independence, friendships, tolerance, diversity and citizenship. You can read more here.

Service Learning
Our Service Learning Program connects our students to  the wider Austin community where they work  develop the knowledge and skills to become capable and responsible participants in the world. Each grade participates in at least one partnership with a local not-for-profit organization or charity where they have hands on experience supporting that organization. Recent local partnerships for middle school include: Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, The Gazelle Foundation, The Goodwill Resource Center and Green Gate Farms.