During the eighth grade, students accept the challenge of being on the leadership side of things for the first time. Students in eighth grade are challenged to show the sixth and seventh graders the ropes on the fall trip and around campus. So much of Santa Barbara Middle School is based on tradition, and the eighth graders help to pass on stories and set examples that keep the school spirit the same year after year. Eighth grade is a pivotal year for most students in learning to speak from the heart and honor each other. During the 8th grade retreat, students participate in a quintessential part of the SBMS experience by recognizing what each member of the group has to offer.
In academic classes, students discover another level of their academic selves and prepare for high school and beyond. With passionate and dedicated teachers, students engage in projects that build on previous knowledge and skill sets. A few examples of eighth grade hands-on project-based learning include creating cooking movies in Spanish, reciting passionate poetry slams, reenacting the 1920s, and dissecting pigs to learn about anatomy. Projects are relevant and real for students, encouraging teamwork, rigor, and high academic standards.