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Middle School Program

Overview

Underneath the learning process at Kensington Woods is its unique culture, which is rooted in our school’s philosophy of a supportive, yet challenging learning environment. This holds true for our Middle School program as well.

Our environment is one in which students are able to express their individuality during a time of life which is often filled with insecurity. Teachers demonstrate a deep understanding of their needs and a dedication to helping each child grow in his or her own way. By the end of eighth grade, students are ready for the greater independence and rigor of our High School. This is accomplished through an academic program which has depth and by a culture which emphasizes responsibility and respect.

 

High Academic Expectations
High expectations for student achievement are at the core of this program. Students are challenged with a unique and engaging curriculum that blends content and integrates it across subjects; taught in a way that taps into the strengths of early adolescent learners.

The rigorous curriculum is designed to prepare students for success in high school. Students build skills in reading complex texts and in laying the math foundations for high school as well as having opportunities to explore and develop expertise in areas of their interest. Curriculum and classes are integrated across subjects and designed around themes that create real-world connections and context for students.

While classes in the Middle School program are separated from the High School classes, teachers develop opportunities for high schoolers to mentor and peer tutor middle schoolers. In addition, all high school courses are be available to middle school students who are qualified to take them. 

 

Supportive Environment
The Middle School program contains a faculty of highly qualified teachers who look past the challenges of early adolescence -- awkwardness, rapid physical maturation, and emotional ups and downs -- to focus on the strengths of the young adult -- adult-like intelligence, a capacity for high performance, and a lively sense of humor.

Our program caters to the academic, social, and emotional needs of this developmental stage. At the same time, the broad array of individual differences among our students is understood and accommodated through flexibility in placement and individualization. Our Middle School staff shares an understanding of the developmental level of its students and is loyal and enthusiastic in their support.

The Kensington Woods Middle School program also includes a strong, supportive Advisory program, where students will regularly meet with an Advisor to assess their progress in the program as well as set goals for their growth.

 

Character
We believe our students have outstanding gifts and talents, which can only be enhanced by good character. We seek to guide them in developing the well-rounded character that will serve them well in life and help them serve others.

 

Relationships
The instructional style is one that respects the high adolescent need to make connections with others—students work in groups where discussion and activities are structured—making sure that the intellect is engaged and active, but also where students are developing an identity in a place where they can be free to be themselves, but are also guided by caring adults.

Students also make connections with older students through mentoring experiences, creating connections that help guide students through their middle school years and the transition into high school.

 

A Time for Transition
Kensington Woods Middle School is a gentle and supportive transition into high school. Research shows that it is the transition years that are the most difficult for students; this is particularly troublesome when students hit the middle school years and school work becomes more separated by content, more abstract in nature and frequently is removed from the student’s personal experiences. That discomfort can result in students not believing in education’s value for them, and result in disengagement or failure.

To make the transition to high school and college smoother and more successful, we actively work to honor and value the cognitive capabilities of early adolescents by providing a rigorous curriculum that is integrated and focuses on the skills students need to develop for high school.

 

Campus Life
School-sponsored clubs and athletics are open to middle school students, providing them opportunities to continue to develop social skills as well as personal interests.

 

Curriculum

The Middle School curriculum, while focused on high expectations, is also focused on creating a learning environment that engages students in an interesting, active and real-world learning environment and develops a passion and love for learning. We do that through an integrated, thematic, project-based curriculum.

Middle school teachers work together to integrate and teach the curriculum, teaching multiple subjects and content expectations under the umbrella of one theme and one project.

The themes revolve around the social studies curriculum and address themes such as:

  • Culture & Identity
  • Expedition and Exploration
  • Clash of Cultures
  • Going Global

Students investigate the answers to big, "essential" questions through their studies in all their classes, related to the themes, such as:

  • How do environmental circumstances shape identity?
  • Why should we empathize with diverse cultures?
  • How has technology changes the world?
  • Why do people explore? Is exploration necessary?
  • Who owns intangibles, like language, culture and the future?
  • How has colonization changed the physical and human geography?
  • How do different cultures, societies or countries work together (or not) to make change?

Students engage with these themes and questions regularly in their classes, culminating their units in integrated, whole middle school projects. Past projects include:

  • Battle of Pettysburg: Civil War Reenactment
  • Model UN
  • Trash Town: An cultural immersion experience 
  • Culture Fair
  • Loyalist vs. Royalist Mock Trial
  • Core Democratic Values Project
 
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Course Schedule

Students complete a cycle of course that meet the requirements of the State of Michigan and serve as a strong foundation for high school. Courses are organized around themes that connect all content areas and effectively cover the content expectations for Michigan and reflect the skills needed for high school and college success.

The Middle School Program also includes a strong Advisory program to meet multiple aims. The Advisory program helps create community among the cohort of students, develop social and emotional learning and character education as well as develop academic skills needed for success in middle and high school. Students also conduct career explorations and practice communication and collaboration.

Course Schedule

A typical schedule for a Kensington Woods Middle School student is integrated and thematic. Although the classes might meet separately, the middle school curriculum connects across classes.

Typical Course Schedule

  • Math
  • English
  • Social Studies
  • Science
  • Advisory
  • Various Electives, which may include:
    • World Languages

    • Art

    • Physical Education

    • Health

    • Study Skills

    • Technology

    • Music

Elective choices vary each year based on student interest and teacher availability.

Students may also be eligible to take courses from Michigan Virtual University. The course catalog can be found here: https://micourses.org/