Middle School Academics
MAS provides two, approximately 90-minute, blocked language arts periods daily for students in grades 5-8, approximately three times more instruction in reading and writing than at traditional middle schools. In both of those block periods, students read books of their choice from a variety of different genres within their independent reading range to enrich their reading experience. Following the independent reading, students receive rigorous standards-based instruction in reading and writing geared toward college preparation.
At MAS, we use the Achievement First Curriculum K-12. With Achievement First, our hope is to prepare students to be successful in the world after college. To do this, they must be able to make sense of the world through a mathematical lens. Therefore, we approach learning mathematics as more than learning facts and procedures for solving specific types of problems. At MAS, we know that a student is well prepared by developing their proficiency and expertise in a number of mathematical practices that have long standing importance in mathematics education.
We do this at MAS by focusing on conceptual understanding of mathematical concepts and making connections across math ideas. As we do this, students are simultaneously gaining procedural fluency. This allows students to focus their mental energy on how to approach and think through problems rather than know a specific algorithm. In our classrooms, you will see math instruction with teachers as the facilitators to guide student knowledge. As students engage in problem solving, they will learn to make sense of problems. Our students develop critical thinking skills and concepts to help plan and execute the best approach to solutions while reflecting on the process.
With the use of guided inquiry, students can develop conceptual mathematical understanding of topics and strengthen their perseverance. By increasing this, students will make connections to previously learned content and will be able to use its application to solve real work problems.
Students in 6th - 8th grade at MAS receive approximately three hours of math instruction per day. In the Math 180 class, students practice fundamental concepts in depth in preparation to be successful in Algebra. Students spend approximately 45 minutes in a small group of approximately 15 students engaged in direct instruction, plus 45 minutes on an individualized computer program. In the Achievement First Math Class, students work on grade level concepts aligned to the Common Core Standards through daily review of previously-learned skills and an interactive, direct-instruction format to learn and practice new concepts.
Beginning in 4th grade, students at MAS have a separate, daily class for science. This promotes a strong science background for students beginning early in their school career. Instruction is a combination of hands-on inquiry as well as guided and direct instruction.
In middle school at MAS, social studies concepts are embedded in literacy instruction.
At MAS, we introduce a variety of sports and other physical activities to provide students with the skills they need to improve their fitness, health, and fine and gross motor skills, all while having fun. The physical education curriculum provides students with the opportunity to learn active participation in group games, develop habits to maintain physical well-being, focus on conflict resolution and team-building skills, and provide fun mental and physical challenges. Fifth and sixth grade students have PE class daily.
Health topics are also addressed through the PE curriculum in middle school. The health curriculum focuses on providing students with information about their bodies, including healthy choices that will improve the quality of their lives. Performance-based and project-based learning activities are utilized for both physical and health education. In addition, the curriculum offers many opportunities to read and write, so students strengthen their reading comprehension and writing skills as they learn health content.