Middle School

Overview

The Discovery School’s Middle School program is designed to support and nurture students’ innate curiosity while helping them develop strong academic and social skills that will ensure a successful transition to high school. Middle School students experience authentic, active learning while working toward mastering skills that will lead them to think independently and achieve SMART goals that they set and in which they are personally invested. The Middle School program is comprised of multiple class periods throughout the school day from 8:15 am - 3:10 pm. 
Our Middle School program grants students the freedom to learn to manage their time effectively and experiment with essential academic and social skills while providing them with the necessary scaffolding and differentiation to remain productive, engaged, and increasingly able to actualize their goals throughout their Middle School experience. Learning from mistakes, overcoming challenges, and solving problems creatively are celebrated as vital steps in the learning process. Study skills and self-advocacy strategies are integrated throughout the program in order to prepare students for the demands of future high school courses.

The Middle School curriculum includes core instruction in math, science, and English, Enrichments, and Flex Time. Math lessons are project-based and focus on real-world application of concepts and innovative problem solving, while science instruction enables students to examine the past, explain the present, and imagine the future through the framework of the Big History Project. In English, literature studies focus on student-led, inquiry-based discussions and introduce students to close reading strategies and critical analysis techniques. In addition, students write across genres, master new vocabulary, and practice grammar and mechanics within the context of their own writing. Enrichments, including Spanish, Art, Music, STEM, Physical Education and Library, offer students exciting opportunities to develop talents, discover and explore new interests, enhance confidence, and broaden perspectives. Finally, Flex Time provides students with the opportunity to exercise agency and develop time management strategies by choosing to meet with teachers, complete assignments, read independently, or pursue topics of individual interest.

By asking thoughtful questions, taking intellectual risks, being unafraid of failure, and exploring their passions, Middle School students learn that they can be change agents who impact something larger than themselves.

 

Best Practices

The Middle School program strives to offer developmentally appropriate experiential and inquiry-based learning opportunities, emphasize social skill building, encourage peer collaboration, demonstrate a variety of study skills, and provide students with time to exercise agency and explore personal interests. We use formative and summative assessments to guide and evaluate classroom instruction. Standardized reading and math assessments are administered throughout the year to monitor learner progress. These scores, in conjunction with informal assessments, anecdotal records, and daily observations, create a comprehensive portrait of each middle school learner. Students use metacognitive skills by generating and maintaining plans to record and reflect upon their work. This enables them to set realistic goals and monitor their progress toward achieving them.

We continually strive to bring authentic experiences into our classrooms as well as extend them beyond our doors. Field trips, performances, service learning, local and international partnerships, philanthropy and community involvement enable Middle School students to understand that they are important members of a larger learning community. 

Middle School is a time for gaining independence and furthering self-reliance. Student-led conferences, performances, and project presentations empower students to own their learning and share their progress with others. Middle School teachers attend local and national conferences and read professional journals to integrate best practices and current trends into a robust, always evolving Middle School curriculum.