Middle School Program
Middle School Philosophy
The benefits of our Middle School education reflect our deep dedication to rigorous academics, low student-teacher ratio, and innovative teaching. Because students learn best through engaging experiences, we fill our days with opportunities for students to explore, create, question, and interact with challenging, higher-level concepts. Curriculum centers around a year-long theme which allows students and staff to make connections across disciplines and understand that real-world experiences rarely lie within a single subject.
Authentic assessment is based on students’ abilities to perform meaningful tasks they may have to do in the real world. In other words, this form of assessment determines students’ learning in a manner that goes beyond multiple choice tests and quizzes. It engages a variety of skills and measures higher levels of learning than traditional assessments. At SIS, major assessments are as authentic as possible and measure high-level learning (apply, analyze/evaluate, create).
Ongoing informal assessments, including oral and written, occur continuously throughout the school year as a means of guiding students to set goals, and self-reflect to determine if those goals have been accomplished.
Three times a year, progress reports are completed by teachers and students to measure progress based on set State and School criteria.
Our Middle School experience equips our students with the knowledge and skills they will need to succeed in high school, college, and beyond.
Middle School Newsletter Sample
Check out this Middle School newsletter from the week of June 9th. This newsletter portrays how our Middle School maintained our strong sense of community, rigorous academic curriculum, and creativity all while learning from home.
Learn more about our Middle School Programs:
SIS develops avid and skilled readers, writers, and inquirers. Through the Columbia University Teacher’s College Reading and Writing Project, writing instruction is woven seamlessly into the broader curriculum. Learning how to write well across all disciplines reinforces the importance of communication in all subject areas.
Middle School students begin to explore more sophisticated literature and nonfiction including poetry, historical fiction, and plays.
Our middle school themes broaden student perspectives on current and historical events, and place our local community into a global context. Project-based learning of US and world history engages students as they develop their own identity as citizens.
Big Ideas Math emphasizes a deep understanding of mathematical concepts and is supported by consistent, formative assessments that guide instruction of each concept and skill until mastery is reached. All Middle School students will complete Algebra 1, at a minimum, allowing them to follow the full range of math courses in high school.
Inquiry, exploration, and discovery are at the heart of our project based science program. A strong focus on the clear, concise writing required to communicate scientific ideas rounds out the program, preparing students well for the rigors of advanced science courses in high school and college. Students have the opportunity to take the Earth Science Regents at the end of eighth grade.
Middle School students are ready to use technology both as a tool that enhances learning in all disciplines, and as a language, through coding and programming, that inspires creativity, invention, and discovery. Interested students have the opportunity for advanced tutorials in technology.
Study of Spanish language and grammar complements an exploration of Spanish-speaking cultures and helps students engage with our global society. Projects relating to the year’s theme enable connections across disciplines.
Inspired by our yearly themes, areas of student interest, and artistic partners from the broader community, all students participate in music, theater, and visual arts. Exhibitions and performances give students confidence and pride in sharing their art in the public sphere.
Each term, students choose electives that allow them to build on strengths and explore new skills. Students and staff build connections as they explore common interests and work together in subjects such as coding, debate, and photography.
Through our advisory program, we ensure that no student is anonymous, and that each student is well-known and supported. An advisor supports the personal and academic growth of each student, as well as serving as the primary point of contact between the school and parents. As academic guides, advisors monitor student progress and oversee the portfolio program, ensuring that students meet established criteria.
Physical Education classes take advantage of our beautiful 60-acre campus to offer students an array of fitness experiences. Students can compete on our soccer team through the interscholastic Friendship League, or at regional interscholastic track and cross-country meets. We also offer an after-school Ski Club at West Mountain.
Middle School Matters
Middle School comes at a time of transformation for all students and can be a positive experience in the right environment: where students are encouraged to try new activities, explore new ideas, take on leadership roles, and share insights in class. Saratoga Independent School provides a safe space to learn and grow during some of the most challenging and exciting years of childhood.
Middle School students have the opportunity to prepare for high school (and beyond) in our own community with the best that the Saratoga region has to offer in partnerships with local arts, technology, and entrepreneurial organizations.
Leadership: We empower our students to lead, and provide opportunities for students to face challenges and succeed.
Respect: We demonstrate how to celebrate our differences and help children learn that they are responsible for their personal choices and behavior towards others.
Community: We practice social and communication skills and work together to perform local and global acts of community service. A school-wide buddy program fosters relationships throughout the student body.