Eighth Grade

During the eighth-grade year, students enroll in language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, as well as exploratory or elective courses. Exploratory courses include classes such as art, music, exploratory world languages, exploratory teen living and technology education. Elective courses include world languages and keyboarding.


Eighth-grade students take the state-mandated Standards of Learning (SOL) assessments in reading, mathematics, social studies and science. In addition, eighth-grade students take the PSAT 8/9, a standardized, multiple-choice test that establishes a baseline for college and career readiness before students enter high school.

Eighth-grade students continue to work with their school counselor on their academic and career plan (ACP) to help guide course and program selections throughout the remainder of their middle school years and into high school. Learn More

Eighth-grade students who may be interested in enrolling in an academy, an advanced academic program, the Green Run Collegiate Charter, or the Advanced Technology Center in high school should plan to attend, with their parents, the citywide information night or academy specific information nights held in the fall. Applications for these programs are typically due in January or February.

English Language Arts

Students are enrolled in one of two English courses in eighth grade:

  • English 8 or
  • Advanced English 8.

Throughout the year, students read and examine a variety of genres (e.g., nonfiction, drama, poetry, etc.) and learn to prioritize, organize, and retain important concepts and information. Students are given many opportunities to write in for a variety of purposes and audiences. They continually revise and edit their writing as they build their writing portfolios. These courses provide students with the opportunity to examine and analyze a variety of texts: fiction, nonfiction, poetry and drama. Students will take a deep dive into literary texts to explore universal themes. Learn More


Students are enrolled in one of four mathematics courses in eighth grade:

  • Mathematics 8 - This course builds on the skills learned in seventh grade and prepares students for more abstract concepts in algebra. Students enrolled in Mathematics 8 take the Grade 8 Mathematics Standards of Learning (SOL) assessment.
  • Algebra Parts 1 and 2 - These classes are a two-semester course sequence designed to help students understand the basic structure of algebra and learn how to apply it in authentic situations. Students enrolled in Algebra I Parts 1 and 2 take the Algebra SOL assessment and earn a verified credit toward graduation if they pass the course and the SOL assessment.
  • Algebra I Honors - This course focuses on the development of problem-solving skills and the acquisition of mathematical vocabulary and symbols. It is designed for students who exhibit high mathematical ability and achievement and is designed to prepare them for Scientific, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. Students enrolled in Algebra I Honors take the Algebra SOL assessment and earn a verified credit toward graduation if they pass the course and the SOL assessment.
  • Geometry Honors - This course focuses on the development of problem-solving skills and the acquisition of mathematical vocabulary and symbols specific to geometric principles. It is designed for students who exhibit high mathematical ability and achievement and is designed to prepare them for Scientific, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. Students who successfully complete Geometry Honors and pass the course and the Geometry SOL assessment earn a verified credit towards graduation.

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Students are enrolled in one of two science courses in eighth grade:

  • Science Grade 8 - This course focuses on the physical sciences (e.g., matter, energy, sound, electricity, magnetism, etc.) Students enrolled in Science Grade 8 take the Grade 8 Science Standards of Learning (SOL).
  • Earth Science - This course focuses on the features and forces of our planet and addresses topics such as astronomy, geology, meteorology, oceanography and physical science. Students enrolled in Earth Science take the End-of-Course Earth Science SOL assessment and may earn a verified credit if they successfully complete the course and pass the SOL assessment.

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Social Studies

All eighth-grade students are enrolled in Social Studies Grade 8 Civics and Economics. This course focuses on the U.S. and Virginia constitutions and students study governments at the national, state, and local levels as well as basic concepts related to economics, types of economies, and the government�s role in the economy. Students enrolled in this course take the Grade 8 Civics and Economics Standards of Learning (SOL) assessment. Learn More

Planning Ahead

What you should know about:

  • Transitioning to high school
    This is a critical time in the life of students. Each of the high schools offer students programs and activities to help ease the transition so that it is as smooth as possible. Students and parents should research the transition programs available at their upcoming high school.
  • Creating and using the Academic and Career Plan
    To make the most of the opportunities available in high school and help prepare students for their chosen area of interest, a series of course sequences have been identified that map on to various career clusters. The course sequences are meant to serve as a guide for scheduling courses that support students� future endeavors. To aid in this process, rising ninth-graders and their parents, have an opportunity to work with their assigned middle school counselor in developing a four-year academic and career plan (ACP) for high school that includes graduation requirements for each diploma option. Once in high school the ACP is reviewed and updated on a regular basis to reflect the needs and interests of the student based on the diploma option. Learn More
  • Pursuing a specific area of student through an Academy, Advanced Academic, or Specialty Program
    The school division offers eight different academy and advanced academic programs that provide students with skills and experiences aligned with specific career areas such as legal studies; health sciences; mathematics and science� visual and performing arts; global studies and world languages; science, technology, engineering and math (STEM); and technology, as well as entrepreneurship and business. These programs typically require that students apply during their eighth-grade year, though students may also apply during their ninth-grade year. Learn More

    In addition, students in grades nine through 12 are eligible to attend the Governor's School for the Arts in Norfolk, Virginia. Students must complete an application and audition for the intensive programs in dance, music, musical theatre, theatre and visual arts. The applications are available from the school all year and are typically due in December with the adjudication process taking place in January. Students take academic classes at their regular high schools in the morning and attend the Governor�s School for the Arts for three hours every afternoon during the regular school year. For each year they attend, students may earn three credits. Learn More
  • Enrolling in online courses
    In addition, beginning in ninth grade, students have the option of enrolling in an online course to fulfill credit requirements. Online courses are available over the summer for a fee or during the regular school year free of charge. Taking an online course can potentially create more space in a student�s schedule and can be a great way to practice time management skills. All online courses address the same content as their traditional face-to-face versions but are delivered over the internet through a learning management system. This requires daily access to a computer and a high-speed internet connection. Learn More
  • Participating in the Naval Junior Reserve Officers� Training Corps (NJROTC)
    The school division offers NJROTC programs and naval science as an elective course at several of our high schools for students in grades 9 through 12. The program emphasizes self-discipline, citizenship, patriotism, followership, leadership and orientation in Naval subjects. Each NJROTC unit has its own organizational structure that is administered and operated by student cadets and supervised by certified Naval Science instructors. Students successfully completing two to four years of the program may enter the military at an advanced enlisted pay grade. Opportunities for being accepted in the various service academies and earning ROTC scholarships are enhanced by participation in the NJROTC program. Students enrolled at a school that does not offer the program may be eligible to enroll in the program at another high school as a special NJROTC cadet. Learn More