Learn here. Lead anywhere. We intentionally view each Middle School student as a leader-in-progress. Shaping character and developing a desire to express faith in thought and action are key aspects of our culture. Teachers work to cultivate students into leaders of wisdom, compassion, and courage, identifying leadership in the Middle School as students grow in relationship with one another and a greater understanding of who they are in Christ. Recognizing leadership speaks truth into the lives of students.
Leadership takes on many forms. It could be the student helping to lead worship in Chapel or the student who sits and eats lunch with someone he doesn’t know as well. It may be the student who starts a food drive or the student who creates fun spaces during recess or activity period. Students in grade 5 develop mentoring and leadership skills through the Big Buddies program, in which they are paired with a grade 2 student for the year. Validating the different ways one can lead gives students the authority to practice serving and contributing while continuing to grow in virtuous leadership.
A healthy peer culture is a core focus at Bear Creek. When students feel safe and secure, they excel with confidence.
Students in grades 5 and 6 enjoy their own recess time three times daily. The opportunity to get fresh air, practice social skills, and simply have fun is an important complement to the academic program. In addition, grades 5 and 6 have regular social events outside the school day throughout the year, some of them with just the students and others with their families. Students also participate in fun activities such as Fall Carnival, Mothers Tea, and Field Day.
Grades 7 and 8 students and faculty begin the school year with a day of fun-filled activities and adventure called Icebreaker. This event sets a positive tone for the entire school year. This much-anticipated tradition emphasizes games and activities that encourage friendships and bonding, spiritual growth, teamwork, and leadership development.
Our character program, Rooted, utilizes instruction, discussion, and activities to equip students to become rooted in Christ and bear the fruits of wisdom, compassion, and courage. In each session, students explore principles and skills vital to virtue formation. Our faculty advisors facilitate Rooted sessions with our students and provide incredible mentorship, coaching, and shepherding throughout.
Our year-long advisory program for grades 7 and 8 builds character, develops leadership, and fosters relationships. Students meet weekly in small groups with a teacher or staff leader who gets to know them, helps them feel connected, and nurtures their relationships with God and the student community. Each advisory group is led by a teacher or staff member who gets to know each student, helps him or her feel connected, and nurtures his or her relationships with God and the student community.
Students in grades 7 and 8 organize interest-based clubs which meet regularly each week. These clubs allow students to dive deeper into areas of passion, find others who share their interests, and explore ways to share their activities or serve other students through the club. In the 2021 – 2022 school year, students organized clubs included architecture, arts and crafts, board games, book club, card design, chess, drama support and design, football film, Bible study, knitting, creating with Minecraft, outdoor sports, and “The Press,” which will aim to produce a Middle School newspaper. ⠀
Students in grades 5 – 8 gather each week for a time of worship, praise, teaching, and reflection during chapel service. The service includes a student-led worship team and a variety of speakers and topics to help students better understand and live the Christian faith in thought and action.
Students put their faith into action through community service projects. Each year Middle School students participate in several school-wide community service projects, such as food and clothing drives or hands-on classroom projects to benefit those in need.
Field trips play an important role in extending the curriculum beyond the walls of campus and are eagerly anticipated by our students.
Grades 5 and 6 students participate in regular field trips tied to the curriculum. In the spring, grade 5 students enjoy an overnight Outdoor Education experience while grade 6 students travel to Mt. St. Helens as part of their study of volcanos.
Grades 7 and 8 take three field trips each year. During fall semester, our field trip is focused on service and community building. In the morning, students get their hands dirty working on a project to improve the greater Eastside community and then get the afternoon to play and connect. In the spring, students first focus on Washington State history, either taking a civic tour of the Capitol building in Olympia or journeying through an early historical era at Tacoma's Ft. Nisqually Living History Museum. Later in the spring semester, students take science-based field trips. Grade 7 travels to Bell Harbor Marina for a marine biology experience, while grade 8 travels to Mukilteo for Boeing's Future of Flight tour and then stops by DigiPen on the way home for robotics and digital gaming classes.
Bear Creek offers academic teams for grades 5 – 8 in math, coding, and improvisation. Teams meet after school with a subject-area coach one afternoon each week during the school year. The math team participates in regional and national competitions.
Just for Fun
Middle School socials and special events are energetic and fun. They provide an opportunity for students and faculty to enjoy each other outside of the classroom and to connect at a different level. Grades 5 and 6 participate in grade-level socials. Grades 7 and 8 combine for socials.
Ski & Snowboard Program
During JanTerm, Bear Creek kicks off the annual Ski & Snowboard Program. “Ski Fridays” allow beginning skiers to learn how to ski, advanced skiers to develop their skills, and all skiers to have a great time together. The program runs for three weeks and is open to all students in grades 7 through 12. No prior ski/snowboard experience is necessary.