The middle school program bridges the gap between more intensive remediation at the Lower School level and the more diverse and challenging course offerings at the high school level.
Each middle school classroom focuses on direct instruction of important content-related information through the use of multi-sensory instructional techniques. The middle school program emphasizes structure and routine, and teaches organizational and time management skills with the same emphasis as is devoted to the core content areas.
Our middle school continues to remediate skill deficits in various areas, while providing exposure to more advanced concepts and skills as appropriate. Core academic courses are enhanced by classes in art, music, physical education and technology.
Outside the classroom, students are encouraged to learn through action and experience during participation in a range of extracurricular and athletic opportunities. Lawrence School recognizes and celebrates the fact that students may achieve some of their greatest successes on the playing field, in the art studio, or under the stage lights.
The academic program is made up of four courses that run 60 minutes in length. During the first 50 minutes of class, the teacher reviews content, presents new concepts, facilitates multi-sensory activities that reinforce comprehension of material presented, and engages all students in the learning process.
The final 10 minutes of class is designed by each teacher based on the needs of his/her students. For example, time may be set aside for students to begin their homework assignment so they can benefit from immediate teacher feedback. Teachers may also use this time to teach studying techniques, organizational skills and provide students with the remediation needed to succeed academically.
Students are ability-grouped by grade in each subject area, including math, English, science and social studies. This allows them to receive remediation in areas of difficulty while exploring advanced concepts in areas where they excel.
The middle school language arts curriculum focuses on oral reading techniques, which continuously enhance reading fluency and reading comprehension.
Students who are decoding at grade level are introduced to novels where guided reading techniques help them develop independent reading skills. Students with significant deficits in reading skills, or those who are dyslexic, benefit from participation in the Wilson Language Systems program. Wilson Language is a structured, systematic approach to language instruction that is based on the Orton-Gillingham philosophy, and which teaches reading skills beginning at the sound level. Wilson Language is an intensive form of language remediation that has consistently been shown to lead to marked improvement for struggling readers.
All of our students benefit from a guided writing process, so a multi-disciplinary, sequential approach to writing is in place to successfully move students from writing a simple paragraph to developing a multi-paragraph response.
The middle school math curriculum consists of ability-groupings which include: remedial, grade level, and advanced.
Students are taught to better understand and interpret the processes needed in order to become successful mathematicians. Teachers incorporate individualized instruction, as well as cooperative learning into their classrooms. This approach helps students learn to solve problems using different approaches, while giving them the opportunity to “experience” math hands-on.
The middle school science curriculum is based on the philosophy that students learn through experimentation, exploration, discussion and hands-on application.
Seventh-graders study Life Science, while the eighth-graders study Earth Science. Students complete many projects throughout the year, and progress is carefully monitored by constant teacher guidance and instruction.
Through the careful study of history and culture, middle school students are challenged to consider how the actions of the past may impact current events. The goal is for every student to become an active and responsible participant in his/her civic and social system.
Seventh-graders are exposed to World History, hosting a cultural festival in the middle of the year for their peers and parents to enjoy. The eighth-graders study American History, completing many projects throughout the year. As part of the social studies experience, students develop note-taking skills, organizational skills, and study skills.
Middle school students participate in three electives over the course of seventh and eighth grade: Music, Art, and Physical Education.
In music studies, students are exposed to different instruments and learn to understand the many ways music can be appreciated by others. During the Art rotation, students study the work of certain artists and art movements, and then begin to create their own work based on the essence of the art being studied. In both music and art, special emphasis is given to the exploration of diverse cultures.
Physical Education affords each student the opportunity to understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle while teaching cooperation, work ethic, and the importance of perseverance.
- Assist students in building academic confidence by allowing them to experience success, while also becoming aware of their limits.
- Facilitate the capacity for students to demonstrate a sophisticated level of metacognition-a student's ability to think about their own thinking.
- Reinforce critical concepts taught in the classroom through independent practice.
- Continue to build and enhance a partnership between home and school.
- Allow the teacher to have an increased level of awareness of student strengths and weaknesses, thereby guiding personalized instruction.
- Improve executive function skills –the ability to organize, plan and manage time.
- Provide opportunities for students to demonstrate application of knowledge and skills in a variety of settings.
- Minimizes anxiety and frustration.
- Honors individual learning styles and needs.
- Recognizes and respects competing demands on students' time outside of school.
- Is meaningful and purposeful.
- Promotes exploration and discovery.
- Meets students at the zone of proximal development (Zone of Proximal Development –or ZPD- asserts that all learning is meaningful when level of challenge is not overwhelming to a child's level of competence).
- Recognizes attempts at completion and/or attempts to problem-solve.
- Is strategically designed for each child.
Students should be able to effectively...
- Apply and expand knowledge in different settings.
- Gain a desire for continued learning and growth.
- Transfer skills to future life experience.
- Become more self-sufficient and accountable.
- Own their academic and social strengths and challenges.
- Practice self-advocacy without arrogance or apology.
- Master effective study techniques, organizational, and time management skills.
Teachers should be able to...
- Assess students' strengths and challenges using subjective and objective-based data.
- Obtain a better perspective of how each student learns.
- Adjust curriculum and methods according to students' needs.
- Provide constructive feedback regarding student progress.
And parents should be able to...
- Celebrate their child's strengths and accomplishments.
- Feel empowered to taper their level of involvement based on child's developmental needs, independence, and level of ability.
- Gain a better understanding of their child's learning style.
- Receive consistent feedback regarding what the student is learning and how he or she is progressing toward the goal of content mastery.
Parents are an essential part of the learning process at Lawrence. In addition to regular parent-teacher conferences and online progress reports that reflect up-to-date grades and assignment status, parents are contacted regularly via phone or email to discuss their child's progress.
Parents are treated as team members in education, uniquely positioned to help assess our success in making true, substantive changes in their children's lives.
Additionally, because Lawrence parents all share a unique experience we have in place a very thoughtful and active Parents Pride organization.
Also, under the Parents Pride organization, parents have the ability to help plan and host family social events, organize parent-education opportunities, and assist with the annual Benefit Auction.