Waverly’s middle school program is built on our belief that students in seventh and eighth grade require a unique approach to their education. The beginnings of adolescence require creativity, caring, and a rich, engaging curriculum to bring out the best in students. Our students work with five core teachers who teach multiple subjects throughout the school day and are readily available to students. This approach meets the academic demands of middle school while supporting the personal growth of our students.
In alternating years of our multi-disciplinary program, teachers integrate study of American and world themes in the humanities classes. In English, students may read a memoir by one of the Little Rock Nine while in history they learn the details of Brown v. Board of Education. Science classes follow an intensive, hands-on curriculum designed to prepare students for a demanding laboratory science program in high school. The math program offers three different classes suited to each student’s developmental level. Advanced students are able to take Algebra I for high school credit in eighth grade. Spanish is also a core subject at the middle school; eighth grade students may earn high school credit and move on to Spanish II in their freshman year.
Each day, middle school students begin the school day by meeting in five small groups in an advisory setting. Teachers check in with individuals to offer guidance on organization and study skills where needed. Students also use this time to share personal stories or to talk about issues of the day.
One morning each week, teachers plan whole-group activities that bring the entire middle school together. Typical activities include mock trials, debates, speakers, and simulations. The activities provide opportunities for students to work with different groups and discuss concerns in a large forum. These meetings are also ideal days for student-led activities. In weekly class meetings, students propose ideas to their classmates, and, if the ideas are accepted, plan and implement them.
Although our students do not receive traditional letter grades, students and parents receive frequent information about academic progress. Every six weeks, teachers prepare a brief report about student performance in each class. At the end of each semester, teachers write a detailed narrative assessment that reflects on individual student progress. Additionally, because of the small student to teacher ratio, teachers are able to confer with one another frequently to discuss the academic, social, and behavioral needs of the students.