We Focus on Middle School

Hyla Middle School


electivesMiddle school students thrive on choice and variety, so Hyla offers both PE and general elective classes, with diverse offerings every quarter. Our elective blocks bring cross-grade groupings together three times a week, and are led by our faculty, integrating their diverse interests and skills beyond the classroom.

PE electives feature physically active choices, while general electives span a wide range of activities and interests. For years, Hyla students cite elective classes as a favorite part of their Hyla experience, and it’s common for them to discover a life-long passion or interest during these classes as well.

The elective descriptions below are from the current session this year:


Disc Golf – Andrew Lovejoy

If you’re like me and you just can’t get enough time outdoors, or enough time with frisbee, let’s get out and play some disc golf! As you probably know, Hyla has its own course which we will play on. We may also invent our own course using any landmarks we choose, or come up with variations on the game to make it more (or less) challenging. This is also a great chance to sharpen up your disc skills. We will play rain or shine, so come prepared!

Fresh Friday Kimberley Gorman-Trick, Laura Jones, Noelle Perry & Owen Rector

Hyla’s first Fresh Friday meal was offered seven years ago on the heels of a mini-term examination of food.  Students put together an incredible salad bar using key ingredients from the Hyla garden. This year, we will host our luncheon on December 16th, 2016.  In this elective, we will design a menu to celebrate the holidays! We will spend time in the kitchen testing recipes.  Of course, the Fresh Friday team will make and serve the holiday meal. We need creative chefs to help orchestrate our efforts!

This is a community service elective. We expect that you will be here during the last days before break.  Please check your calendars; we will need everyone’s help!

Walking LabyrinthDavid Maron

Hyla is in need of a place of contemplation, and so it’s time to build a walking labyrinth.  In this elective, we will research, plan, build, and then use the labyrinth.  The sky’s the limit in this elective.  Where will we build it?  I’m not sure.  Come help decide! This is your opportunity to make a mark on the Hyla landscape! This is a community service elective.

Card GamesMike Fosmark

You may have played “Go Fish” or “War” or even “52 card pick-up”. But do you know how to play “Pounce” or “Rummy” or “Gin”? In this elective we’ll play a few classic card games as well as a few new ones sure to becomes favorites. We’ll develop our tactics, dexterity, and mental sharpness all with a deck of cards, some time, and a handful of friends.

Quiet Reading – Jennifer Haase

I love to read. I especially love to read historical fiction (although I adore The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings and the Harry Potter series). I especially love to read a good book when it is cold, rainy, and dark outside. It seems that our early winter elective rotation is the PERFECT time to get cozy and read! Sign up, bring a good book along with a snuggly blanket or pillow, and read with me.  

Fancy Napkin Folding – Colleen Carroll

I’m bringing back a classic Hyla elective that hasn’t been seen for years. In this class, we will learn how to fold napkins in all manner of fancy shapes and become acquainted with the finer points of fine dining and table settings. Imagine the possibilities for your family’s Thanksgiving table! We will culminate with a formal tea party (pinkies out, of course!) and then work furiously to provide fancy folded napkins for our Fresh Friday all-school meal before winter break.

Seafaring Adventure Studies- Cooper Rooks

Do you dream of sailing around the world, or being an explorer searching for new discoveries? Maybe you have always wondered how a sailboat works? In this elective we will examine life on the water from early explorers to current ocean racing celebrities and their boats. We will listen to music inspired by sailing tales, and watch videos examining the evolution of sailing vessels and navigation technology. We will learn the 7 most useful knots and some general terms so that when you climb aboard a vessel you can feel safe and helpful.

Team Games- Chris Soldevilla

Keeping the Hyla team-work spirit alive while keeping our competitive natures strong, we will form teams and play games where we need to depend on one another to succeed: Pictionary, Cranium, Trivial Pursuit, Balderdash, or whichever game we decide is next. There may even be prizes!

Beyond Elections Jeff Steele

I don’t remember a time in my life when an election expressed our collective identity in such a powerful way, than the one we are about to have. Yet, regardless of who we elect as president, our country has said something shocking to itself. People say that neither party seems to represent the governed in meaningful ways. Perhaps a better way of putting it would be to say that our singular description of ourselves as Democrat or Republican inevitably fails to reflect the complexity of our own beliefs.

This elective will start with a  documentary film called Beyond Elections, which tells the stories of several organizations around the world who are taking democracy beyond the vote, into advocacy work, community organizing, and even participatory budgeting. Beyond Elections inspires people to express their own democracy in ways that go beyond the election of public officials.

I think it’s interesting that although you are not old enough to vote, you are old enough to participate in our democracy in ways that are, perhaps, more influential than the vote. After watching and discussing this documentary together, we will devise individual, partner, or small group projects to “vote,” or express your own beliefs about what should happen at a local, state, regional, federal, or international level. If you sign up for this elective you may write letters, you may make phone calls, you may shoot videos, or you may simply become a more participatory citizen in your own democracy.

Zines Melissa Dempsey

Do you feel strongly about a topic? Anything from sports to music to art to poetry to fashion to social issues? Then zines are a creative way to express it. They’re small magazines on your favorite topic which include drawings or collages and writing. They can be in comic form or like a traditional magazine. They’re usually smaller in size and folded or bound in creative ways, or they can just be stapled together. They can even be “published” and passed around if you’d like. Use your imagination and create a one-of-a-kind zine



Disc Games Andrew Lovejoy

Ultimate is a great sport, but there are tons of other great games that can be played with a disc, and in this elective we’ll explore as many of them as we can. We’ll play PE favorites like Gold Rush and Schtick, as well as more obscure games. If you like throwing, catching and running, this is for you!

YogaKimberley Gorman-Trick

We will continue to build on postures we learned in the past few months, adding Dancing Warriors to our Sun Salutation practice.  We will spend more time investigating forward bends, backbends, and twists.  Of course, every class will end in Savasana.  You are welcome to join if you were not in the first elective class.  We will visit Hall’s Hill Labyrinth and maybe have the opportunity to enjoy our own labyrinth (see David’s GE). Our culminating activity will be a food meditation at Spice Route.  Please remember to bring a mat, blanket, water bottle, and journal to class.  

Rock Climbing – David Maron

Interested in learning how to gaston?  Want to develop a sweet heel hook?  Not sure how best to grip a sloper?  This climbing session is for those really wanting to push their climbing skills.  We’ll head to the Island Rock Gym for each session and spend most of our time in the bouldering area, working on increasing our skills, strength and stamina.  *If time permits, we may use the ropes/auto-belay as well.  

Ab Blaster or Hard Core or We’ve got guts!Mike Fosmark

What’s the big deal with abs? How come so many people suffer from back pain? Well, having a strong and healthy core is the foundation of movement of the human body. Sitting in chairs and couches is not really all that good for us. Let’s take a chance to stretch, exercise and develop the strength in our cores that helps us jump, run, climb, swim, twist and dance. We will experiment with yoga-style poses, stretches that loosen our muscles and ligaments, strength-building exercises, and balancing games. Who knows? You might just find that six-pack of yours.

Beach Clean-Up – Jennifer Haase

Our island beaches are beautiful places to play and relax. Unfortunately, they are also full of garbage that washes up from all over. Some of this beach garbage is clearly noticeable and some is not. If you have ever taken a moment to dig in the stones or look in the beachgrass, you may have been horrified by the amount of plastic and other garbage that is hidden there. Some of this garbage looks, at first glance, like stones or shells…but it is NOT! If this really bugs you, join me on our weekly beach crusade to clean up as much garbage as we possibly can. This is a community service elective.

Theater Games – Jeff Steele

This theater-games elective takes the fun twist of movement-based activities at every turn. This set of improvisation games will be based on environment, rhythm, status, and other ideas that affect the way we move and help us develop characters. One of the many jobs I have had in my past was being the director of an improvisational comedy troupe in Massachusetts. Come try this elective if you’re interested in playing, exploring new characters, and laughing most of the time.

Water Polo – Cooper Rooks and Colleen Carroll

Do you love being in the water? Do you love playing games? Even if you don’t know yet whether you love those things, come try water polo at the Bainbridge Aquatic Center. It is similar to soccer, ultimate frisbee, and basketball, but you get to swim! No experience necessary, but you need to be able to swim one length of the pool. We will be focusing on swimming and passing skills and work up to playing informal scrimmages and other fun pool games.

Tag Variations- Chris Soldevilla

Freeze Tag, Zombie, Flag, Flashlight, even new forms we create: we will use the campus as our arena and play different types of tag. Will you be the hunter or the hunted?

Archery Melissa Dempsey  

Whether you consider yourself an archer or you’ve just imagined yourself as one, you can join me for target practice down in the archery field.  We have compound bows for student use as well as arrows, targets, and a background curtain for safety.  If you have your own equipment you are welcome to bring it with you as long as it’s not for high-powered hunting. We observe all the NASP (National Archery in the Schools Program) safety rules and may even look at competition rules.  If you’ve never enjoyed the feeling of your arrow hitting a target, you may want to try this elective out.