McLean’s Middle School bustles with a diverse population of students in grades 5 through 8. The academic program, both challenging and nurturing, provides the skills and strategies for students to be successful. Energetic and striving for independence, these young adolescents strive to discover their learning styles, maximize their potential, and assume responsibility.
The curriculum builds on previously learned material and prepares students for more advanced study in the Upper School. Middle School courses include English, Literature, Mathematics, Geography, History, Science, Spanish, Latin, American Sign Language, Art, Music, Technology, Physical Education, Communications and Health Education. Some classes move at a fast pace with minimum support from the teacher; other classes require more extended teacher assistance. The outstanding faculty utilizes innovative teaching methods designed to accommodate different learning styles; in turn, students discover and understand how they learn best. All Middle School students engage in PE on a daily basis, and students in grades 7 and 8 have electives twice a day. Students also participate in community service projects, fostering an awareness of the needs of others.
The Middle School structure supports students and teachers in their quest for learning. Our two counselors, a math specialist for grades 5 and 6, and two learning specialists play significant roles in assisting students as they strive for their personal best. Assessing students on their own or responding to teacher requests, these specialists provide students with strategies, and problem-solving techniques as needed, to meet students’ needs. All students are assigned to a homeroom (grades 5 and 6) or an advisory (grades 7 and 8), where they find an advocate and a sense of belonging to a group. Students meet in their homeroom or advisory at least twice each day. Middle School teachers are members of an academic department and work closely with the department chairs on issues related to curriculum, textbooks, scope and sequence.
Administrators, teachers, and parents maintain lines of communication with each other. Emails, letters and telephone calls enable the continual exchange of ideas and information. Parent-teacher conferences take place twice a year and progress reports are mailed home quarterly. For those students who are faltering, teachers meet weekly to assess performance and offer academic recommendations and behavior modification procedures. The Middle School assures that students are supported by teachers, resources, and that every effort is made to ensure each student’s self-esteem and self-confidence.
Descriptions of the courses offered in grades 5 through 8 follow.