The Courtyard School staff and board are very excited about the return of the middle school program to Courtyard School. The reintroduction of seventh grade during the 2011/2012 school year and eighth grade during the 2012/2013 school year will bring us back to the Transitional Kindergarten through Eighth Grade configuration that is an important part of the educational mission of Courtyard School. When it is fully reintroduced, Courtyard’s middle school program will integrate our sixth, seventh and eighth grade classes into an innovative high school preparatory program that reflects the Courtyard values of creativity and serving the needs of individual learners. After completing the middle school program at Courtyard students will be prepared to move into high school with the skills, knowledge and confidence needed to succeed in the most rigorous and competitive schools.
- High School Preparatory Program – Middle School at Courtyard is designed to prepare students for entry into competitive high school programs. Students in this program will have the opportunity to study advanced mathematics and a foreign language, and participate in the extracurricular programs, leadership and community service opportunities needed to be accepted into competitive high school programs.
- Departmentalized Coursework – Middle School classes will be taught using a departmentalized structure. Instead of having one core teacher throughout the day, students will have different teachers teaching various subjects to help students prepare for the transition to high school.
- Learning Outside the Box – The Middle School will continue with the Courtyard mission of helping to develop well rounded students by providing many learning opportunities outside the class including both frequent and extended fieldtrips, project based learning, leadership roles and mentoring younger students.
- Learning Through Extended Fieldtrips – Middle School students will participate in overnight fieldtrips that are tied to the curriculum in both social sciences and science. Seventh grade will take two trips to Southern California. One trip will be to the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles where students will participate in a two day program called Tools for Tolerance for Teens. This trip is tied closely to the Seventh Grade World History curriculum. The other trip will be to the Catalina Island Maritime Institute to actively study the island’s biology, which is the focus of the Seventh Grade Science curriculum. Eighth Grade students will take a culminating trip to Washington D.C. and New York City to study history, government and culture of the United States.
Middle School courses at Courtyard will continue parallel the California State Content Standards. In addition to math, reading, language arts, science, social studies and P.E., Middle School Students will study Spanish and leadership. Students will also participate in a variety of electives. In Seventh Grade an “Elective Wheel” approach will be used to give students a variety of elective experiences. All students will take three or more electives in Seventh Grade. Some electives will be taken by the whole class, other electives will be chosen by individuals. In Eighth Grade grade students will have choices of more advanced electives. Middle School electives will include performing arts, fine arts, technology, band, gardening, student council and yearbook.
The 7th grade class in 2011/2012 will be taught primarily as a self contained class. One teacher will teach the core classes of language arts, reading, social studies and science. This same teacher will share the responsibility for teaching mathematics with another teacher, allowing for differentiation in math instruction with students at two or more levels. P.E. and elective classes will be taught by separate staff. For 2011/2012 year a new teacher will be hired to teacher the 7th grade class. We will be looking for a teacher with a multiple subject credential with experience in upper or middle school level teaching. In 2012/2013 an additional teacher will be hired. Once there is both a 7th and 8th grade program instruction will take on a more departmentalized approach. One of the instructors will specialize in math and science the other instructor will specialize in reading, language arts and science. Housing: It is important to the success of our middle school program that our students have their own classroom as their base of operations. For the 2011/2012 school year the 7th grade class will be housed in the main building in the room that is currently used as the performing arts classroom. The classroom will be furnished with new classroom furniture and lockers. The middle school students will have access to the staff room for science experiments and activities. For the 2012 2013 school year an additional classroom space will to be added to campus.
EDC and Extra Curricular Opportunities
- Seventh and Eighth grade students will be able to participate in PAL Varsity Sports. Depending upon the level of student interest Courtyard could field teams in boys and girls volleyball, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls flag football, co-ed golf and co- ed track and field.
- EDC will include after school clubs specifically intended for older students using a “teen room” approach. Clubs will be selected to take into account the interests of students.
- School staff will work closely with the students, parents and PTO to provide age appropriate social events on a monthly basis. These events could include things like movie nights, dinner out, weekend excursions and sporting events.
- Staff will work to create expanded learning communities for middle school students through on-line learning opportunities.