Program of Studies

At AOSR we recognize that Middle School students (grades 6, 7, and 8) are a special group of young adults with particular needs and perceptions. We provide our students with a diverse range of programs and activities that enable them to reach their potential as individuals and as valuable members of our school community.

Our goal is to create a community of learners where students can grow and strengthen skills, develop new interests, and feel like they are a part of a team.

Our classes operate on a schedule designed to maximize the study of core subjects - English, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Physical Education, and World Languages - while allowing them to engage in electives such as Art, Technology, Drama, Concert Band, Choir, as well as academic support classes.

The Exploratory Cycle is comprised of a rotation schedule of Drama, Art, and Technology throughout the school year. Students also have the opportunity to take a full year Concert Band or Choir class. These choices give our students the chance to experience a range of dynamic offerings so that they are able to make informed decisions about electives when they become high school students.

The annual week long Cultural Trips, when students step off the AOSR campus and leave the classroom behind to fully experience another region, are a highlight for all, integrating experiential learning in the Middle School curriculum with the life experience of travel and the opportunity to bond with peers and teachers.

Support classes are offered for those students requiring additional assistance: Study Skills, Resource, English as an Additional Language (EAL), as well as Focused Academic Support classes for writing.

  • The English program assists students -native and non-native English speakers - in developing coherence, clarity, precision, voice, structure and fluency in the exchange of ideas through oral and written communication.
  • The Mathematics program is designed to: apply and adapt a variety of strategies to solve problems; use mathematical language to clearly communicate mathematical thinking; recognize, identify, and apply mathematics in situations outside of the classroom; impart the skills and knowledge necessary to pursue college preparatory mathematics at the high school level. In the eighth grade, the math selections include Pre-Algebra and Algebra.
  • The Science program promotes integration and application of scientific principles and thinking in the daily lives of our students. AOSR students will be able to identify and solve real-world problems using a transdisciplinary approach, as they develop into globally aware and responsible citizens. Students will explore and understand their world through pattern-making, cause and effect, scale, proportion and quantity, systems, energy and matter, structure and function, stability and change. Students will investigate the interconnectedness of these concepts through disciplines including Earth, life, physical and environmental science.
  • The Social Studies program places an emphasis on the appreciation of the past through the experimental approach, which includes taking advantage of the location of the school through field trips, art projects done in class (i.e. making Egyptian mummies, Greek pottery and Roman mosaics), oral reports, mind mapping and group work which helps them become integrated into the learning community.
  • The World Language program gives students the opportunity to study up to two world languages. They are highly encouraged to take Italian language classes with the option to choose between Spanish and French, as well. The World Language program is distinctive and specialized at AOSR: our teachers understand that each student joins the AOSR multicultural community with varying levels of language due to their previous studies, host country or languages spoken at home. Therefore, each student’s written and verbal ability is evaluated individually so that students are enrolled in the appropriate level for their continued growth, regardless of the middle school grade they are in.

Academic Support Classes

Study Skills Grade 6

The Study Skills program is designed to teach students strategies to improve their capacity to learn as well as give them support in reading, writing and independent work. Topics across grade 6 include: organization, study habits, reading, writing, planning, prioritizing, responsibility and leadership. Skills across grades 6-8 include: outlining/note taking, techniques for preparing for tests and oral presentations. The collective program will enhance a student’s ability to organize and prepare for their core subjects more effectively.

Resource

Resource covers a variety of topics across all content areas through small group and individual instruction. Students work to improve reading comprehension, writing and math skills such as literary elements, paragraph writing and numeracy skills. Organization, social, and problem solving skills are taught throughout the program. An important aspect of the middle school resource program is to support students’ exploration and understanding of their learning needs and begin practicing advocacy skills to support their unique educational needs throughout their school years and beyond. This is a general support class and students must qualify for the program by referral process.

English as an Additional Language (EAL)

We strive to be responsive to the needs of our English Language Learner (ELL) students, who comprise a group of linguistically and culturally diverse learners, and to structure a successful academic experience for them. A variety of approaches are used to help students develop language proficiency, learn the central concepts and build knowledge in various disciplines. A caring, inclusive and safe learning atmosphere is established where students take intellectual risks and work both independently and collaboratively.

Our EAL Program is designed to provide English language instruction to non-native speakers. Students learn to communicate competently and refine the language skills necessary to participate successfully in class activities across all areas of the curriculum. EAL instruction serves as a bridge for the student until she/he can function competently in the general classroom. The duration of the EAL program is generally 2– 3 years but may vary according to individual student progress.

Placement

Placement in the EAL Program is made through a multiple assessment approach including:

  • Biographical information
  • Consultation with class teachers
  • Review of students’ portfolios, report cards, other relevant information
  • Administration of assessments such as the Stanford English Language Proficiency Test, to measure competency level in four basic areas: speaking, listening, reading and writing.

Focused Academic Support for Writing

The Focused Academic Support for Writing Class is designed to develop and enhance the writing skills necessary to be successful both within the language arts curriculum and all other academic subject areas. Students will be given an opportunity to enrich their composition skills and increase academic vocabulary. Students will be encouraged to recognize formal academic language and apply accurate grammatical structure.

This is a targeted support class to assist students who have not reached grade level performance. Students are recommended for enrollment by their classroom teachers and/or assessment results. Upon successful demonstration of grade level mastery, students ill be recommended to exit the support course and enter and elective class.