Middle School Academics
MAS provides two 90-minute blocked periods daily for students in grades 6-12, approximately three times more instruction in reading and writing than at traditional middle and high schools. In one of those 90-minute 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 developed our mathematics curriculum using Larry Ainsworth's Five Steps to a Balanced Math Program, which in turn was based on the recommendations of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). The five steps program emphasizes supporting students to not only solve mathematical problems, but to effectively communicate their understanding to others. The curriculum is designed so that teachers provide “balanced” instruction to support students in learning more than “procedural” or computational mathematics. The curriculum was deliberately created to support students in gaining a deep understanding of math so that they can apply their math skills and reasoning abilities to solve real-life problems requiring mathematical solutions. Our math program is centered on activity-based investigations, which encourage our students to think creatively and develop their own approaches to problem-solving and working cooperatively.
In middle school, students receive math instruction in the Common Core State Standards for their grade level ﬁve days a week for 90 minutes each day. On top of that, they take a second 90-minute math class every day. This course, called MATH 180, was designed as a math intervention program, but also gives students an opportunity for math acceleration. Through this instructional model, students receive approximately 900 instructional minutes of math per week, compared to a traditional middle school’s model that offers only 300 minutes of total math instruction per week. On average, middle school students at MAS receive three times the amount of mathematics instruction compared to traditional public schools.
MAS teaches the state's Next Generation Science Standards as a standalone course starting in grade four through high school.
In middle school at MAS, like in our elementary program, 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 learn about and improve their fitness and health, all while having fun through activities that grow their fine and gross motor skills. The physical education curriculum allows the opportunity to teach active participation in group games, develop the habits to maintain physical well-being, focus on conflict resolution and team-building skills, and provide opportunities to challenge students both mentally and physically.
The health education curriculum allows students to learn more 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 education and health education. In addition, the curriculum is rich in opportunities to read and write, so students strengthen their reading comprehension and writing skills as they learn health content.
Our foreign language curriculum is built around Spanish as MAS’ foreign language. However, MAS intends to make every effort to offer at least one additional foreign language outside of Spanish, particularly to meet the needs of students who are already bilingual with Spanish as their first or second language and who wish to learn another language. The foreign language curriculum is sequentially designed with interdisciplinary topics to enable students to see connections within and across various subjects. In addition, the foreign language curriculum has a communicative approach where the students use the target language in class through communicative activities such as games, role-playing, and problem-solving tasks. The curriculum also includes opportunities to demonstrate their knowledge through performance-based and project-based learning activities.