Middle School Academic Program
Middle School students have a unique schedule, which supports our mission of engaging students in project-based learning. Students take project classes and skills classes. Project classes meet for two hour blocks every day (and for one block on early release days) and cover social studies topics during one semester and science topics during the other. Skills classes include Math and English Language Arts and meet daily with English meeting an additional hour weekly.
Students take one project class each semester and they alternate between a science-focused project and social studies-focused projects. 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 challenge, health, music, and art classes at all grade levels. Students alternate between taking music and art in one semester and then wellness (health and challenge) the next semester. Each of these classes meets for two hours each week. In sixth grade, students start taking Spanish, which meets four hours a week for the full school year.
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 in the 5th and 6th grade, but meet in a single grade configuration in 7th and 8th grade, 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: 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 (ILPs) 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.