The middle school years are exciting and challenging. Children shift from a self-contained elementary classroom to a schedule with various teachers in different locations, including elective classes. They are assigned a locker, use an agenda, and become proficient at planning and organizing time. They also learn to interact with their teachers in a more mature fashion.
These are years of tremendous physical, social, and emotional change. In addition to providing thought-provoking and stimulating academic instruction, our teachers have the very special responsibility of guiding students through these changes as part of our advisory program. Each full-time middle school teacher is the advisor to 12 to 15 students who meet every second day for team-building activities, intramurals, problem-solving, discussions, and just plain fun. During advisory, students gain confidence, develop leadership qualities, learn organizational skills, engage in service projects, and inculcate the values of our middle school community.
Our CDS middle school students range in age from 10 to 15. They represent dozens of nationalities. They come to school with varied religious beliefs, home languages, and interests. They may get loud and sometimes run in the halls, but they quiet down and walk carefully when reminded. They may get a little rough on the soccer field, but they are kind and courteous. They enjoy solving real life problems, working collaboratively, and moving around. They are still children, but in positions to make decisions that can affect them either positively or negatively for the rest of their lives. They are old enough to think critically, but young enough to still get excited about doing a science experiment or reading a really good book.
Our middle school teachers have chosen to work with young adolescents. They offer an educational program that is exploratory and challenging, and incorporates student-generated questions and concerns. Instruction takes advantage of a wide variety of skills and abilities. Teachers respect multiple intelligences and individual learning styles. They utilize a variety of authentic and appropriate assessment measure ranging from essays, tests, and quizzes to collaborative projects, in class and online discussions, multimedia presentations, and performances. Health and wellness are supported in the curriculum.
Parents are important members of our CDS middle school. They are the first and most important teachers of their own children. What children learn at home can have a tremendous influence on how successful they are at school. Parents volunteer, attend educational and informational meetings, support extracurricular activities, demonstrate appreciation for teachers, and spend time talking with their children about the importance of education. Communication and partnership between the school and home are valued.