Sixth Grade

This is an important transitional year for students as they move from the elementary to the middle school level. During the sixth-grade year, students enroll in language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, health and physical education as well as exploratory courses such as art, music, exploratory world languages, exploratory teen living and technology education.


Sixth-grade students take the state-mandated Standards of Learning (SOL) assessments in reading and will also take one in the area of mathematics depending on the course they take.

Sixth-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 middle and high school years. Learn More

At the discretion of their parents and guardians, sixth-grade students may also participate in Family Life Education (FLE), a state-endorsed program that includes age-appropriate instruction in family living and community relationships as well as how to cope with peer pressure and the stresses of modern living. Learn More

English Language Arts

Students take one of two English courses in sixth grade:

  • English 6 or
  • Advanced English 6.

These courses provide students with the opportunity to examine and analyze a variety of texts and in doing so they learn to prioritize, organize, and retain important concepts and information. Students are given many opportunities to write in response to what they are reading and 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. Focusing on the components of literacy, reading, writing, speaking and listening, they will begin to analyze and interpret literature. Learn More


Students are enrolled in one of three mathematics courses in sixth grade:

  • Mathematics 6 - This course builds on the skills learned in fifth grade and aims to provide students with the preliminary foundations of algebra.
  • Advanced Mathematics 6 - This course builds on the skills learned in fifth-grade and is designed to address the foundations of algebra.
  • Pre-Algebra - This course is ideal for sixth-grade students who exhibit high mathematical ability and achievement and is designed to prepare them for Algebra I Honors in seventh grade. Learn More


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

  • Science Grade 6 - This course focuses on the study of the life, physical and earth sciences (e.g., sources of energy, matter, the earth�s atmosphere).
  • Advanced Science Grade 6 - This course focuses on the exploration of chemistry and physics and is recommended for highly motivated students with strong mathematics, reading and writing skills.

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Social Studies

All sixth-grade students are enrolled in the Social Studies Grade 6 course. In this course, students study the beginnings of the United States through the Civil War era. Students expand on their earlier studies of Virginia and American History through in-depth study of political, economic, social, and cultural development of the nation. Learn More

Planning Ahead

What you should know about:

  • Selecting Middle School Courses
    Middle school counselors work with students to review and update their Academic and Career plan to help guide course selection for seventh grade. The seventh-grade year is the year when most students have their first opportunity to take high school credit courses (also known as credit bearing courses) which count towards their grade point average (GPA). Courses that can be used to earn high school credit in seventh grade include World Language I (Level I) and Algebra I. Taking these courses early can set students up for more rigorous coursework in high school and can also provide students with more flexibility in their high school schedule.

    Students who take a credit bearing course in middle school but for whatever reason do not wish to have it included on their transcript may have their parents submit a request to purge the course. This request must be made no later than July 15 after the student�s eighth-grade year. Learn More
  • Taking Advantage of Advanced Courses in Middle School
    Taking advanced courses in middle school has many potential benefits for students. Some of the advanced courses allow students to earn high school credit while still in middle school. Taking advanced courses in middle school allows students to take more advanced courses in high school that may receive weighted credit that is averaged when class rank is calculated. In addition, taking more rigorous courses throughout middle and high school also helps to better prepare students for college.

    Students who were not enrolled in advanced courses in sixth grade still can do so in English, mathematics, and science in seventh grade. This is advisable for students interested in the advanced academic programs available in high school as some require students to complete Algebra I by eighth grade. Students who completed Science Grade 6 and are interested in enrolling in Advanced Science 7 may do so by meeting with their counselor and completing online modules to ensure they are adequately prepared for the advanced coursework. Successfully completing Advanced Science 7 will position students to enroll in Earth Science or Environmental Science in eighth grade, which is a high school credit bearing course. Several factors should be considered when moving up into advanced classes including prior performance, teacher recommendation, and parent input.
  • Applying for Advanced Academic Programs in High School
    The school division offers eight unique academy and advanced academic programs that provide students with skills and experience aligned with specific career areas such as legal studies, health sciences, mathematics and science, visual and performing arts, global studies and world languages, 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. Students who may be interested in enrolling in an academy or advanced academic program in high school, and their parents, should plan to attend Navigating the Journey a K-12 resource fair or academy-specific information nights held in the fall of each school year. Learn More