The Importance of Voice and Choice
Middle School students need to have both voice and choice in their educational program. THS students have the opportunity to make choices about language and arts courses.
Our students learn both Mandarin and Spanish beginning in Kindergarten. Our Middle School students choose to focus on either language. Our goal is for our graduates to enter high school in either Level 2 or 3 language placement. In Middle School, language study becomes a core academic course. In addition, we will implement an arts electives program for Sixth – Eighth grades. These enhancements to our strong Middle School program effectively match this developmental stage when adolescents crave more autonomy in their school experience.
The Middle School Language Arts program is designed to hone students’ reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. Students read both nonfiction and fiction. They develop the ability to analyze increasingly complex texts and make connections to ideas studied in other disciplines. Language Arts provides students the understanding necessary to view the world through the stories and experiences of others, which is critical as our world faces the challenges of the 21st century.
THS uses a workshop framework for reading and writing. Students engage in mini-lessons to learn specific strategies or concepts and then apply them either independently or in groups. Students share their understanding or writing regularly and learn to apply feedback from both teachers and peers. Students develop their ability to craft powerful arguments and to create original fiction and poetry. They also engage in vocabulary study and learn and apply critical grammar rules and concepts.
Students gain a deep understanding of math through participation in engaging activities that provide inductive reasoning opportunities and builds on previous knowledge.
Middle School classes are split for math allowing for more student support and differentiation. THS teachers utilize a workshop model for math instruction which allows students to develop deeper conceptual understanding and strong problem-solving skills. Our Eighth Grade math program employs a flipped-classroom approach in which students are introduced to concepts through viewing videos at home, and then use class time to work with teachers to apply what they have learned. This approach enables students to move through the more abstract concepts of algebra at their own pace, and either accelerate or slow down based on their mastery of topics.
Sixth through Eighth Grade students participate in a three-year comprehensive Science Education for Public Understanding Program (SEPUP) developed specifically for middle school students. Science concepts are investigated through interesting, current societal issues and problems that allow students to make personal connections to the material about which they can develop and articulate an opinion.
All units build upon adolescents’ need for peer interaction and support by enhancing individual learning through cooperative group work. Learning experiences build concepts through a spiral approach, building key ideas and vocabulary over various units and incorporating the following components in each unit: laboratory investigation, modeling, reading, role-playing, talking it over, reflecting, projecting and problem-solving.
Conceptually, the program is designed to help students, “Understand the past, put the present in context, and imagine a better future.” Grounded in the five elements of social studies – history, culture and society, geography, economics, and government – each grade focuses on a major period, views it through a global lens, and connects learning to current events.
- Sixth Grade focuses on The Ancient World
- Seventh Grade focuses on The Medieval Period
- Eighth Grade focuses on US History
Middle School World Language courses build on the foundational skills developed in Lower School to acquire proficiency in the target language. Students must listen to and use the target language throughout class and increase their ability to read and write using correct grammar constructs. Students also dive into the culture and make connections with other subjects.
Middle School students have a choice of arts electives. All students are required to take at least one session of art and music, yet they will have an array of other options as well. These electives meet two times per week for a semester.
Classes may include but are not limited to:
- 2D Design, 3D Design, Chorus, Band, Songwriting, Dance, Coding, Design Thinking, Drama, Garden, French,and others.