Middle School Academic Program
Middle School students have a unique schedule, which supports our mission of engaging students in project-based learning. Students have both project classes, which are hands-on and meet for two hour blocks four days a week, and skills classes, which meet for one hour each day.
Students take one project class each quarter and they alternate between science-focused project and social studies-focused projects.
For project classes, students are grouped in multi-age homebases. Over a two year period they have an opportunity to build a strong relationship with their teachers while the teachers have the opportunity to get to know each individual student and their family.
Students also take skills classes in language arts and mathematics. These classes are taught in grade level groups and they meet for one hour each day. In seventh and eight grade, students also have their Spanish, challenge, health, and art classes by grade level. Fifth and sixth grade students take these classes in a mixed age level cohort.
Presenting Student Work
Project work, graded on clear rubrics that outline the standards students are striving to meet, is a fundamental part of all classes at IACS.
Advisory: Mission and Purpose
Each student is a member of a small advisory group at IACS in which they can develop and enhance their social and emotional skills, develop positive organization and work habits, and practice local and global citizenship. Students meet in a multi-age configuration (a mixed 5th/6th grade group or 7th/8th grade group) on every full school day with their staff advisor. The advisory program exists to develop trusting and supportive relationships between adults and students to improve on the overall experience of students while at IACS.
Through advisory, students practice and build proficiency in the four IACS outcomes of Self-Direction, Problem Solving, Community Membership, and Effective Communication. Advisories engage in fun, non-academic activities or challenges that build group spirit and cohesiveness, and encourage students to develop critical thinking, problem solving and communication skills. Students also learn strategies to manage the academic demands of middle school. The advisor helps develop and monitor Individual Learning Plans (ILP) and monitor student progress toward maintaining a portfolio of a student’s best work. The advisor acts as a liaison with families, partnering to ensure students are making strong academic, social, and emotional growth.
At the middle school, we utilize a standards-based grading system.The purpose of the grading system is to communicate with parents and students about their achievement of specific learning goals. It is intended to inform about areas of strength and to guide improvements. Standards-based grading is a system of grading student proficiency based on specific learning goals. Each department has 4 reporting strands that result in grades at the end of the semester. Four reporting strands allows us to provide feedback on the whole child and consider academic progress, work habits, and school outcomes. Please click here to read a more detailed parent guide to our grading system.
To learn more about how we support students with 504s and IEPs as well as English Language Learners, we invite you to explore our student services page.