In middle school, we spend a great deal of time on non-cognitive skills and providing supports for developing healthy habits that lay the foundation for our scholars to grow into independent learners. Our scholars’ days are formatted as many of us remember our middle school days and start with advisory (or homeroom as you may know it) where they “drop everything and read” (DEAR) everyday. Scholars rotate from class to class with their “home group” of peers for classes and receive lessons from teachers who are content experts.
While this structure is somewhat traditional, we have expanded on some blocks, such as the time allotted for English Language Arts (ELA) to allow for both reading a shared text and writing.
Our school year is divided into trimesters and so electives and enrichments are offered on that basis to allow scholars three separate opportunities for new electives within a school year.
To manage behavior, our middle school scholars experience positive intervention and supports to teach them how to self-monitor and take responsibility for their own behavior.
Time is not a commodity at BVP; time is golden. We have a longer day, a longer year, and we tap into Saturdays and school breaks.
There’s no time to waste, and that is perhaps one of our most deeply held beliefs.
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So where does all this time go?
At the middle school level:
Somehow, it isn’t enough. Even with all of this time, we continue to see scholars who need more support. We also see scholars who can be pushed to truly phenomenal heights, and we want that time with them, too.
We want to spend more time analyzing text at deeper levels, supporting writers to better articulate their ideas, offering opportunities to invent new pathways to solving mathematical problems, exploring our scientific experiments further.
We believe in capitalizing on every single moment with scholars and extending the learning when scholars are not with us. That’s where homework comes in. We have big goals for our scholars, and the bar is high in order for our scholars to compete in today’s global economy. Knowing that, we can’t stop the learning when the school bell rings.