Students are exposed to a breadth of challenging and relevant topics, while learning to identify inter-disciplinary connections between ideas and how one area of study can inform or influence another. Adherence to the Common Core State Standards insures that the AIM curriculum presents those topics and skills required by all secondary students.
Executive functioning skills including time management, self advocacy, study skills, homework completion, test preparation and organization and efficient retrieval of materials become a primary focus for preparing Middle School students for the rigors of their academic career through college. The research supports the importance of the development of executive functioning skills in the more complex academic areas of writing and mathematics where the ability to organize and sequence ideas, and to think in the abstract is key. Our Middle School program supports organization and self-monitoring through assistive technology that is individually prescribed and designed to support and enhance the skills of each student. The technology team implements:
The Veracross portal allows AIM faculty to post homework, assignments and related research materials so that students and parents have access to this information at all times. This portal also provides access to students’ grades including mid-terms and finals.
AIM Academy introduces a number of its Signature Programs in the Middle School, most notably:
Arts, music and drama form the foundation for students’ creative expression and exploration. Students select from a wide array of arts-based electives and programs throughout their Middle School years. Students work side-by-side with AIM faculty to investigate arts media including sculpting and pottery utilizing a new kiln room and 3-D studio to the fine arts of painting and photography. Music courses include music theory, chorus, instrumental instruction from keyboard to percussion to guitar and music composition complete with a recording studio. Dramatic arts culminate in formal stage productions and include partnerships with professional artists from People’s Light and Theater and the Arden Theater.
In Physical Education class, students engage in developmental activities as well as individual and team sports. Emphasis is placed on positioning, strategy, teamwork and improving cardiovascular and muscular endurance. Locomotor and non-locomotor activities and games reinforce development of eye-hand coordination, agility and spatial awareness.
A brief description of each Middle School academic subject follows:
Middle School reading classes are programmed individually for each student beginning with his/her level of mastery. This placement process is similar to the diagnostic-prescriptive approach used in our Lower School. The implementation of research-based reading programs is continued throughout the Middle and Upper school years to address decoding and encoding skills. These programs include, but are not limited to: Wilson JUST WORDS®, Wilson Reading Systems®, and Read Naturally®.
Literature: Age-appropriate novels, short stories, plays and poems are all used to help students develop and enrich their higher-level comprehension skills. By combining technology with pre, during, and post-reading questioning techniques aimed at deepening understanding reading material, our students learn how to interact successfully and independently with high-level text. The use of assistive technology, allows books, such as Esperanza Rising, Hatchet, The Crucible, Buried Onions, Freedom Writers and The Revealers as well as endless independent choices to be available and attainable for our students. Guided by the research-based LETRS framework, all of our students receive rigorous literacy instruction with a specific focus on morphology, vocabulary, fluency, comprehension, metacognition, decoding and encoding.
Writing: Utilizing current research-based practices, students become fully immersed in the writing process. Expository instruction emphasizes the organizational, structural, and grammatical aspects of written expression while our narrative and creative writing instruction emphasizes the importance of sentence variety, use of vivid language, and the development of each student’s voice. Students have many opportunities for publishing. This link will take you to a recent 7th grade poetry and photography publication.
Math classes are designed for our students beginning with his/her level of mastery, using manipulative materials and practical applications of math. Through diagnostic evaluation and careful analysis of error patterns, each student’s specific areas of need and interest are identified. In small groups, students begin with 6th Grade Math followed by Pre-Algebra and then Algebra I. Each student’s mastery is based upon the development of skills at the conceptual level first and foremost. From there students develop fluency, acquire strategies, all the while learning to apply concepts through real world problem solving.
Students engage in the scientific method and hands-on experiences to increase their understanding of scientific concepts. In Middle School science lab, students utilize technology and traditional scientific instruments to deepen their scientific understanding. In 6th grade Earth Science, students investigate the Earth's formation, weather patterns, the atmosphere, the oceans and space. Throughout their 7th grade Life Science studies, students develop an appreciation of the interdependence of all living things and learn about the foundations of earth’s various ecosystems. 8th grade continues with the study of Physical Science where students investigate matter, electricity, light, and the basic laws of physics. The eighth grade science trip to the Teton Science School in Jackson, Wyoming complements our curriculum with developing environmental awareness, with the added lure of snowshoeing and sleigh riding. The Robotics program is embedded in our 7th and 8th grade science classes on a once a week rotation during the second half of the school year. Click on the link to see our Robotics in action. AIM robotics
Students follow a unique sequence of history coursework in the middle grades. In the Museum Club, our 6th grade students recreate some of the most important artifacts from history. Three times a year, they open the doors and act as docents, taking their visitors through the vast history of man and world religions. In 7th grade, our students enter the Democracy Club where they study the roots of American government and survey our history from pre-Columbian North America until the Civil War. Our “revolutionary” students spend many days exploring the rich history of Philadelphia. In the Young Republic Club, our 8th graders learn how America was transformed from its fragile state during Reconstruction to its emergence as a world power in the 20th century. Through debates and intensive study of constitutional law, our young Americans learn about their civic rights and responsibilities.