Middle School Academics
Tara Nappi: Middle SchoolTara Nappi, Director of Teacher Education and Curriculum Development, speaks at the International Dyslexia Conference about C/A's reading, writing, technology, and study skills in Middle School.
C/A middle schoolers enjoy a progressively challenging curriculum that emphasizes project-based learning, thematic units, and cross-curricular design to enhance comprehension. Numerous field trips and at-school experiential lessons, such as simulating scaling Mt. Everest or depicting a book in a wall mural, bring textbook learning to life and help students internalize learning and demonstrate their knowledge in a variety of modalities. Both class structure and the school day are designed to provide exciting, grade-level lessons and teach the skills and academic foundations needed to be successful in high school. Accommodations are embedded and directly taught throughout the curriculum. Remediation of basic skills is also continued on an as-needed basis through our Writing and Language program and Visual Learning Lab. And all students meet with their advisors twice a day, once mid-morning to stay on top of grades and homework assignments, and again at the end of the day to monitor packing of study materials and assignments to finish at home. Advisory time is designed to teach and help build executive functioning skills.
The Director of Academic & Student Programs collaborates with High School department chairs to enhance curriculum development to ensure continuity from Middle to High School. Other highlights include:
Students use a textbook, novels, and a variety of primary and secondary sources to master content and learn to draw inferences and conclusions. A lecture format is not used in class. More commonly, students are presented with a ten-minute mini-lesson, then expected to apply information during an interactive activity. Class discussion is a regular part each lesson. Middle schoolers are regularly assigned homework, quizzes, tests, and projects and enjoy frequent hands-on and interactive learning opportunities. Individual learning differences are taken into account when planning coursework; lessons may be differentiated either for enrichment or to accommodate a student who needs support in a particular area. Just as important, Middle School students are introduced to a variety of tools and learning strategies so that they can eventually make an informed choice as to what works best for them.