Middle School Program

The Discovery School’s Middle School program is designed to pique and develop students’ innate curiosity. The dynamic, learner-centered curriculum prepares adolescents for the next steps in their educational journeys by encouraging thoughtful decision-making, promoting critical thinking, and fostering greater independence. Lessons encouraging positive habit development and supporting executive functioning skills are woven throughout the curriculum to maximize each student’s potential for academic success and well-being.. 
 

Day in the Life of a Middle School Student

 

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 consists of multiple class periods throughout the school day. 

Our Middle School program grants students the freedom to experiment with essential academic and social skills while providing them with the necessary scaffolding and differentiating to remain productive, engaged, and increasingly able to actualize their goals. 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 is divided into four components: core instruction in math, science/history, and English, Enrichments, Community Time, and Independent Study Time. Math lessons are project-based and focus on real-world application of concepts and innovative problem solving, while science/history 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, and Library, offer students exciting opportunities to develop talents, discover and explore new interests, enhance confidence, and broaden perspectives. Community Time is designed to provide Middle School students with opportunities to develop leadership skills and give back to the Discovery community. Finally, Independent Study 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 offers developmentally appropriate experiential and inquiry-based learning opportunities, emphasizes social skill building, encourages peer collaboration, encompasses a variety of study skills, and provides students with time to exercise agency and explore personal interests. Standardized reading and math assessments are administered twice each year to monitor learner progress. These scores, in conjunction with formative and summative assessments, anecdotal records, and daily observations, create a comprehensive portrait of each middle school learner. Student-led conferences and presentations empower students to own their learning and share their progress with others. 

Field trips, performances, service learning, local partnerships, and community involvement enable Middle School students to understand that they are important members of a larger learning community. 

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.