6th graders at Willard rotate through “Wheel” courses (ranging from 8 to 16 week periods), these are typically:

Math Support
Skills for Adolescents*
*Teaching the “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens”, puberty, and sex education


At the end of 6th grade, Willard students choose one of the following elective courses to take during their 7th and 8th grade years:

Activism and Self Defense: In this class, we will study and practice real self-defense techniques based on Japanese karate and also learn how others have historically engaged in non-violent activism and won! This class will include lots of physical movement, video clips of freedom fighters and lots of time for personal reflection and partner activities.

ALD (Academic Language Development): A class designed to assist non-native English speaking students. Students are required to take this class if they are classified as an English Language Learner.

Ambassadors: A service learning leadership elective: Ambassadors support all students and staff by creating a welcoming environment for newly arriving students, organizing extracurricular activities, and schoolwide projects. See Mr. Pawlak for an application.

Art 7/8: Students study and explore a variety of art theory, mediums and techniques including drawing, painting, clay and printmaking. For each project, students study relevant examples from art history and today. Students have the opportunity to express themselves visually as well as learn about art from different cultures and time periods.

AVID: Advancement Via Individual Determination: AVID Assists students in preparing to attend a four-year university. Students learn organization skills, and how to take Cornell Notes. Philosophical Chairs and Socratic discussions allow students to think deeply about the world around them. Students attend field trips that highlight college opportunities. Students develop critical thinking, reading, and writing skills that help them in all their classes. Field trips may include: Stanford, Cal Basketball Game, UCSC and the Beach Boardwalk, Berkeley Rep, Hastings Law. See Jen Antonuccio for an Application.

Computers 7/8: This class is a fun, hands-on approach to learning technology. Creative lessons include web page design, film making, word processing, excel, and HTML. A variety of media, and sound are used in addition to computers.

Growing Leaders: The Growing Leaders elective program gives students real world experience in the foodservice industry. Students in the class plan, prepare, cook, and serve meals to the paying public. We are looking for students who are willing to work hard, who get along well with others, and who are independent learners that want to experience working in a production kitchen.

IWE (8th graders only): Independent Work Experience. Students gain work experience by working for a teacher or in the office. Tasks vary by teacher. Students must be in good academic and behavior standing to participate. Students must get permission from a teacher: the teacher’s signature is required on the back of this form.

Library Tech Squad: Independent Work Experience in the Library: Work in the library. Help students select and check-out books, support technology throughout the campus, and improve your own technology skills. See Ms. Lee for an application.

Multi Sport Elective: Students play the following sports during the year: badminton, soccer, handball, bowling, capture the flag, dodge ball and Frisbee.

Read 180: A year-long class focusing on improving students’ reading skills and comprehension. Some students will be required to take this course.

Spanish, Beginning (7th graders only): Introduction to the Spanish language, culture, and people. Students develop listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills through conversational situations. One-year of Middle School Spanish class is equivalent to one semester of high school work. It is expected that students taking Beginning Spanish will also take Intermediate Spanish the following year.

Spanish, Intermediate (8th graders only): This intermediate Spanish class is a continuation of the Beginning Spanish series with the utilization of more advanced materials and grammatical concepts. More projects, such as skits and presentations, are included in the curriculum to encourage further understanding of the Spanish language and culture.

Speech and Debate: This is a class in public speaking and debate. Our focus will be on American politics and economics. One former student remarked that she’d learned more in the class than in any other she’d taken, but beware: the work will at times be very challenging, and you will need to push yourself out of your comfort zone from time to time.

Yearbook and Publishing: Students will create the yearbook as well as a school newspaper. Students will express their views and opinions in a school published format while helping them strengthen their writing and language skills. Students will also report on issues and happenings here at Willard. Articles, photography, and cartooning will be the main vehicles for student expression.