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UPPER GRADES COHORTS & CURRICULUM

*4th - 5th & 6th- 8th Grade

Our students enjoy a calm, compassionate, stress-reduced learning environment where students receive individualized academics in a community of peers who respect and encourage each other.

*4th and 5th grade students must be socially and emotionally mature enough and academically ready for an upper level program. Students must be reading at or above the 4th grade level. Students not reading at a 4th grade level should enroll in our lower hybrid program, which offers direct instruction in reading using an Orton Gillingham approach.

Teengers with Laptop

THE PROGRAM

Our upper hybrid consists of students in two cohorts: 4th - 5th and 6th - 8th grade. We provide two days of in-person instruction in our hybrid programs. Families also receive two days of *home study curriculum to complete at home.

Personal changes and challenges abound within this unique age-group as they break out of early childhood and progress through upper elementary and middle school. For many students, a small, supportive, community-oriented  environment better supports  overall academic development and mental health than a traditional setting.  Without the external pressures of huge classrooms, endless homework, and all too often, bullying, our students maintain (and/or regain) the confidence and self-esteem needed to be successful learners. 

Our upper grades program focuses on the core values of character, community, collaboration, and conservation. Academically, we meet students where they are, tailoring each student's curriculum to meet their personal challenge point and allowing them options for acceleration or recovery. Flexible seating, engaging instruction, hands-on learning, and ample social and enrichment opportunitiies make learning pleasant and...dare we say...enjoyable!

*Home study curriculum is designed to be fairly independent in nature. Since each child is unique in their working speed, understanding of concepts, and ability to work independently,  this cohort should expect to complete anywhere from 2 - 4 hours per day of home study work on their satellite days. To meet the minimum "required" hours of daily instruction, we recommend adding music, movement, sports, cooking, hiking, nature exploration, art, or other guided or independent enrichment to your child's schedule.

DAY IN THE LIFE

Our mixed-age environment lessens the tensions of traditionally competitive grade-level settings. Our students understand that they are part of a community of diverse learners, each of whom deserves demonstrations of kindness, support, encouragement, and respect.

Upon arrival, our students enjoy a few minutes to exchange warm greetings with friends, chat casually with teachers, and get settled in for the day. Students then begin their first period - math. 

Following math, students enjoy a social break to grab a snack, play outdoors, or decompress for the next period. After the break, students move into ELA. ELA consists of several components including reading, grammar, spelling, and morphology. Students are split into ability groups to ensure they are receiving the most tailored instruction to meet their needs. After lunch and an outdoor recess, students conclude the day with a theme-based unit in science or social studies.

It is our experience that students actually like to work....especially when they are given the time and independence to do so. This is why we offer short bouts of instruction followed by extended periods where students can delve into meaningful learning experiences that move fluidly between  independent or paired "input" opportunities (researching, reading, watching, etc.) and "output" opportunities (application and practice of of knowledge through computing, writing, , answering, creating, building, etc.).

 

Each class is followed by an opportunity to decompress through movement, socialization, or a snack break.

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Bookshelf

CURRICULUM OVERVIEW

While traditional middle schools shift students from class to class, with little connectivity between teachers or subjects, we offer an interdisciplinary, inquiry-driven approach to learning that is orchestrated by one or two teachers who deeply understand your child's learning gifts and needs. We strive to integrate language arts with rotating science and social studies concepts as this provides opportunities to deepen topical knowledge while adding purpose to skill-based learning through practical application. 

With state standards and high school readiness in mind, we have meticulously created a 3-year instructional cycle that rotates through all the core concepts traditionally taught in middle school, but in a sequence that allows for interdisciplinary integration, dynamic and engaging theme-based projects, and increased opportunities for developing students who think deeply, globally, and critically.

In addition to academics, our students receive rich guidance in developing skills in leadership, collaboration, conservation, community-building, and more.

MATH

Math abilities vary dramatically from student to student. After assessing each student, and discussing math goals with the families, students will be placed in one of the following "learnng strategies" groups:

 

-Accelerated Math (Teacher Guided/Work Text - Math Mammoth)

-Math Fundamentals (Teacher Guided/Work Text - IXL/McGraw Hill)

-Individualized Math (Online Programming - Zearn)

Our "fundamentals" group is a supportive group that focuses on core math skills. It serves students with dyscalculia, slower processing, or for students who simply have a harder time comprehending math concepts. Our individualized program is fully instructive and allows students to work at their own pace, whether they are working at, above, or below grade level.

We will be happy to discuss these options with you to determine which method suits your child best. 

Solving Math Problem
Levitating Books

ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS

Like math, reading and writing are skill-based subjects, and require a substantial amount of individualization. Our program is designed to meet students where they are, while challenging them to progress to their full potential.  Our ELA program is formulated using the Georgia Standards for Excellence as a guide and includes each foundational skill in reading, writing, language, speaking, and listening, while including concepts in Science and Social Studies to deepen authentic learning. Our teachers use a carefully curated blend of published and teacher-created resources to ensure students are advancing their reading and writing skills. Throughout the year, students will read and analyze both informative and literary texts, learn grammar through direct instruction and practical application, and develop organization and structure in their own writing by participating in numerous writing opportunities that span the creative and informative spectrums. Students are typically divided into two "learning strategy" groups for the reading and writing blocks: Fluent and Fundamentals.  Our "fundamentals" group is specially designed for students who may struggle with reading, writing, or spelling due dyslexia, dysgraphia, slower processing speeds. For this group, we use an Orton Gillingham approach to reading and spelling instruction to ensure students are armed with the skills and strategies needed to become fluent and effective readers.

SCIENCE

The Power of 5E

Our science curriculum uses the "5 E" model of instruction, a research-based learning method that puts the responsibility for learning in the hands of students. Student questions drive inquiry-based learning and help them to build a scientific skill set through the "5 E's" - Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate.

Science concepts are delivered in a carefully designed 3-year instructional cycle to allow for multi-aged learning and interdisciplinary integration, while also ensuring students learn the recommended standards/concepts by then end of three years.

Students wanting a deeper science experience may wish to join our "deep learning" science class.

A Young Scientist looking through a microscope
Planet Made of Plastic

SOCIAL STUDIES

We believe that Social Studies is so much more than the study of history. Therefore, we integrate meaningful, hands-on explorations in world cultures, geography, conservation, global issues, local and global economics, US history, and more! Similar to our science curriculum, we use an investigative, student-driven learning model where students are challenged to work through questions and concepts  by conducting authentic research and investigation and participating in an array of projects that range from writing experiences to cultural art projects. Our curriculum is carefully curated by our own teachers using an array of quality materials.

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