The middle school curriculum is designed to build on the skills and concepts in the elementary school. However, we do have students who join us just for middle school, so we do create opportunities to expose students to foundational concepts and skills.
We introduce homework at the middle school level, as we understand that managing this is an essential piece of making the transition to high school. However, we are extremely thoughtful about what is sent home, and expect that it be able to be completed independently, that it be tied directly to what is happening in the classroom - either by reinforcing something from a previous class or previewing something for an upcoming class.
In the 2016-2017 school year we implemented the use of the Summit Personalized Learning Platform, which is a technology tool designed to help students take more control of their learning, practice goal setting, and reflecting on what is working and what needs to change in their work habits in order to find success. This tool is integrated into the Language Arts, Math, and Integrated Science/Social Studies course work.
Our middle school language arts curriculum is designed to help fill in gaps that students may have with regards to spelling and comprehension strategies, while pushing the students to write well researched essays and thoughtful responses to literature. This is done through the use of Structured Word Inquiry, incorporation of visual supports such as graphic organizers, and increased use of technology. The students are exposed to literature circles and discussions, often around books and topics of their choosing, as they work to build their literacy and prepare for high school.
Our middle school math curriculum utilizes the Common Core Standards as a guideline for curriculum creation, and aims to engage students in practical uses for higher level math concepts. Students are instructed in strategies for successfully using a textbook, mathematical note taking, and get used to taking more formal tests as they prepare for a transition to high school. These classes continue to have a strong emphasis on the deeper understanding of the mathematical concepts.
Integrated Science/Social Studies:
Our integrated science and social studies program is created on a rotating three year cycle that addresses major themes in these disciplines. For the current year, the curriculum is designed around the ideas of interdependence and global awareness. The teachers have created enduring questions with these themes in mind and the students will be completing activities and projects throughout the year that will help them have a deeper understanding of things such as “What does it mean to be local?” This project-based approach allows the students to investigate applicable aspects of their world while building lifelong skills, such as evaluating information sources, asking good questions, planning and carrying out a project, and self-advocacy.
Social Emotional Learning (SEL):
The application of social and emotional learning takes on new meaning for our middle school students. As students mature and become more capable of managing complex social dynamics, they are encouraged to apply prior SEL knowledge and experiences as they step into leadership roles on campus. Through a variety of venues from podcasting to community impact projects, students are encouraged to share their perspectives, embrace their individuality and imagine their best selves. As Changemakers, students are encouraged to explore their character strengths and unique purpose as they discover how they might leave their mark on the world—and make it a better place.
At the middle school level the student choose an arts elective for each semester of the year. We offer a variety of different options for the students in all three disciplines - drama, fine art, and music. The offerings are more specialized, such as percussion and drumming, scenes and monologues, and drawing from real life and imagination, and allow the students to delve deeper into areas of interest to them and to further develop areas of passion.