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At the middle school level, teachers continue to remediate skill deficits in reading, writing, and math, while providing exposure to more advanced concepts and skills. Our focus is on direct instruction of important content-related information through the use of a multisensory approach. Structure and routine are emphasized and organizational and time management skills are taught with the same emphasis as is devoted to the core content areas.

A day in middle school is made up of a designated intervention period and four 60-minute courses. During the first 50 minutes of each class, our teachers review content, present new concepts, facilitate multisensory activities, and engage all students in the learning process. The final 10 minutes of class are designed by each teacher based on classroom need. For example, time may be set aside to begin a homework assignment, so students can benefit from immediate teacher feedback. Teachers may also use this time to teach study habits, organizational skills, and more.

Students are ability-grouped in each subject area, including math, English, science, and social studies. This allows them to receive intervention in areas of difficulty while exploring advanced concepts in areas where they excel. 


Language Arts

The middle school language arts curriculum focuses on oral reading techniques, which continuously enhance reading fluency and 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 benefit from our Orton-Gillingham-based, structured, systematic approach to language instruction. This intensive form of reading intervention consistently results in marked improvement. 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.


Mathematics

We use multisensory math to teach students to better understand and interpret the processes needed in order to become successful mathematicians. We emphasize direct language instruction in math, as well as the concrete-representational-abstract (CRA) model for teaching. This approach helps students solve problems using different techniques, while giving them the opportunity to “experience” math hands-on. Our goal is to prepare every student for Algebra I (or a higher-level course) in ninth grade.


Science

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. 


Social Studies

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 our annual Greek Olympics event for their peers and parents to enjoy. The eighth graders study American history, with many different project-based learning initiatives throughout the year. As part of the social studies experience, students develop note-taking, organizational, and study skills.


Electives

The Middle School’s very intentional daily schedule devotes the final 45 minutes of each school day to a non-graded elective. Students are offered high-interest choices that range from visual arts to STEM to gaming strategy, nature, rock music, team sports, and more (there’s something for everyone). And while a lot of laughter and chatter can be overheard from the hallway, the objective of this program is more complex. Each class is designed to bolster important skills, such as the ability to think critically, solve problems, collaborate with peers, apply reason, and more. It’s where our students grow new friendships, discover passions, and develop hobbies. Ask any Lawrence middle schooler about their favorite part of the school day and you’ll get the same reply: “last period!”

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