At the middle school level, teachers continue to remediate skill deficits in reading, writing, and math, while providing exposure to more advanced concepts and skills. Our focus is on direct instruction of important content-related information through the use of a multisensory approach. Structure and routine are emphasized and organizational and time management skills are taught with the same emphasis as is devoted to the core content areas.
A day in middle school is made up of a designated intervention period and four 60-minute courses. During the first 50 minutes of each class, our teachers review content, present new concepts, facilitate multisensory activities, and engage all students in the learning process. The final 10 minutes of class are designed by each teacher based on classroom need. For example, time may be set aside to begin a homework assignment, so students can benefit from immediate teacher feedback. Teachers may also use this time to teach study habits, organizational skills, and more.
Students are ability-grouped in each subject area, including math, English, science, and social studies. This allows them to receive intervention in areas of difficulty while exploring advanced concepts in areas where they excel.
The middle school language arts curriculum focuses on oral reading techniques, which continuously enhance reading fluency and reading comprehension. Students who are decoding at grade level are introduced to novels where guided reading techniques help them develop independent reading skills. Students with significant deficits in reading skills benefit from our CodeBreakers curriculum. CodeBreakers is an Orton-Gillingham-based, structured, systematic approach to language instruction. This intensive form of language intervention has consistently shown to lead to marked improvement for struggling readers. All of our students benefit from a guided writing process, so a multi-disciplinary, sequential approach to writing is in place to successfully move students from writing a simple paragraph to developing a multi-paragraph response.
The middle school math curriculum consists of ability-groupings, including foundational, grade level, and advanced. Students are taught to better understand and interpret the processes needed in order to become successful mathematicians. Teachers incorporate individualized instruction, as well as cooperative learning into their classrooms. We use multisensory math in all classes to ensure students understand both what the math means and how to do it. The program places an emphasis on direct language instruction in math as well as the concrete-representational-abstract (CRA) model for teaching. This approach helps students learn to solve problems using different techniques, while giving them the opportunity to “experience” math hands-on. Our goal is to prepare middle schoolers for Algebra I in ninth grade.
The middle school science curriculum is based on the philosophy that students learn through experimentation, exploration, discussion, and hands-on application. Seventh graders study life science, while the eighth graders study earth science. Students complete many projects throughout the year, and progress is carefully monitored by constant teacher guidance and instruction.
Through the careful study of history and culture, middle school students are challenged to consider how the actions of the past may impact current events. The goal is for every student to become an active and responsible participant in his/her civic and social system. Seventh graders are exposed to world history, hosting our annual Greek Olympics event for their peers and parents to enjoy. The eighth graders study American history, completing many projects throughout the year. As part of the social studies experience, students develop note-taking skills, organizational skills, and study skills.
Middle schoolers have an elective period at the end of each school day. This time is designed for students to explore areas of interest in a less academic setting. Courses are ungraded and do not assign homework. Electives run quarterly and students must participate in music, art, and physical education at least once during seventh or eighth grade. Some popular electives include fit & fun, crafting explorations, cooking, art, choir, outdoor connections, STEM, and more!
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