The focus in Middle school is developing strong foundational knowledge in the core subjects of Maths, Science and English. Key concepts in Math, Science and English are taught to mastery. Students must demonstrate a conceptual understanding of at least 80% of these concepts in order to move on to new units. Guided questioning, verbalization and, if required, repeated learning, is used to help students reach the 80% knowledge goal of those concepts. Assessment of key concepts is repeated in each grade to ensure students are retaining knowledge critical for their success in STEM when in High School.
PBL: Collaborative Problem Solving
Middle school PBL projects are designed to provide students with opportunities to engage in critical thinking, collaboration and problem-solving, and to also reinforce their curricular learning through hands-on application of the concepts learnt in their core subject classes. Additionally, hands-on lab activities are an important part of the curriculum and students start keeping lab notebooks for recording observations and analysis. The objective is to lay the groundwork necessary for developing the skill of critical inquiry in the higher years.
Testing: Statistical measure of Education
Testing becomes more formal in the Middle School years However, performance in tests is not the primary factor for grading, but rather the student’s participation and performance though out the year in both academic and co-curricular activities. Middle School grading includes Traits of a Successful Learner (Responsibility, Perseverance, Participation, Timeliness, Participation, and Interpersonal Skills). Importance of taking tasks to completion is stressed. These traits are coached and graded in multiple activities, including homework, academics, presentations, lab work and co-curricular work.
Articulation and Communication Skills
Middle Schoolers have a year-round calendar of oracy and public speaking activities, including debates, role plays and group discussions. Middle school public speaking activities require more preparation from the student, and students have to research and present evidence-based analysis in different formats. Middle School students are also encouraged to participate in academically rigorous co-curricular including Science/Math Olympiads and Robotics/STEM competitions.
Healthy Life Style and Going Beyond Curriculum
The requirements and benefits of a Healthy lifestyle are reinforced. Participation in co/extra-curricular activities is encouraged and sometimes required to ensure that in addition to academic success, the child experiences social, emotional, and physical well-being. Our Middle School curriculum is structured to be a bridge between the primary and high school. Levels of competitiveness, both in curricular and co-curricular activities, are increased to prepare students for the real world. However, the Middle Years are still kept relatively test free, to ensure students do not constantly live under the Damocles sword of tests, and focus on learning for understanding and not just for tests.
Both in primary and middle school, we encourage family to be a close part of the learning process by supporting their child in literacy and PBL activities.