High School Academics
MAS provides two, approximately 90-minute, blocked periods of language arts daily for students in grades 9-12, approximately two to three times more instruction in reading and writing than at traditional high 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.
In high school math classes, students work on grade level concepts aligned to the Common Core Standards through a daily review of previously-learned skills and interactive, direct-instruction format to learn and practice new concepts.
In high school. students take one science class each year through 11th grade and an additional elective science class is offered senior year. This promotes a strong science background for students as they finish their school career. Instruction is a combination of hands-on inquiry as well as direct 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.
The health education curriculum provides students the opportunity to learn more about their physical and mental health, including how to make 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 reading and writing opportunities, so students strengthen their reading comprehension and writing skills as they learn health content.
MAS offers Spanish as our foreign language in high school. Although many of our students are native speakers, they have not learned the academic (i.e., reading and writing) skills in Spanish. Through our differentiated instruction, native speakers have the opportunity to build those academic skills while our non-native speakers focus on vocabulary and language structures. 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 activities such as games, role playing, and problem solving tasks.