Programs of Study
Saint Francis Middle School continues to build on the strong foundation in basic skills areas established in the elementary school. Class sizes typically range from ten-to-sixteen students. Material is presented in a multi-modal format, taking into account each student’s learning style. This environment allows students to be challenged to the maximum of their ability in every subject area.
The development of strong reading and writing skills are evident by the two separate periods that are devoted to areas in Literature/Vocabulary and Grammar/Writing. Significant emphasis is placed on developing strong written expression in all subject areas by “writing across the curriculum.” Writing classes learn the process approach by planning, organizing, writing, and revising in a variety of writing styles. Lifelong reading appreciation is encouraged through a sustained silent reading program (SSR) and summer reading assignments.
|6th Grade||7th Grade||8th Grade|
|Earth Science||Life Science||Physical Science|
|World History||US History Early Years||US History Modern Times|
|Math – Course 1||Course 2/Pre Algebra||Pre Algebra or Algebra I|
Specials: Physical Education, Art, Decision Making, Computer Applications, STEM, Biztown/Finance Park, Band, Chorus.
In the language arts program there is a strong emphasis on the acquisition of basic skills. One period is devoted to Reading/Literature and a separate period for Writing/Grammar.
Students continue to work on comprehension skills as they study literary styles and elements related to different genres. Additional novels are used for sustained silent reading (SSR), where students learn to become more independent and to develop an appreciation for literature.
Students develop writing skills necessary to move from the creative writing formats to more informative and analytical writing used in every content area, known as “writing across the curriculum”. The writing teacher introduces the 5-paragraph format typically used in different forms of writing: expository, persuasion, compare-contrast, cause-effect and short essay. Students are evaluated on the process as well as the content and mechanics of their writing. Students reinforce basic grammar skills by identifying parts of speech, in practicing correct usage and when studying sentence structure.
In the math program students move from basic skills practice to higher level math skills involving problem solving, mathematical reasoning, algebraic concepts, geometry, probability and statistics as they prepare for Algebra I.
Students learn to think scientifically. The science curriculum emphasizes reading in the content area, writing across the curriculum, note-taking skills (Cornell Method), vocabulary development, deductive reasoning and research skills. Teacher demonstrations and student labs are conducted throughout the school year.
A major emphasis in social studies is “reading in the content area.” Students develop note-taking skills (Cornell Method) by reading and interpreting the major ideas and supporting details from the text. Students practice writing and presentation skills when preparing reports and projects related to subject material. Additional skills include: timelines, charts, maps, fact/opinion, cause/effect relationships, and writing in the content area.
Structure, organization and process are the hallmarks of the Saint Francis’ mission, which provides our students with the skills necessary to be successful in school. Significant emphasis is placed on developing strong writing skills, good organizational habits and study techniques as well as problem solving and critical thinking skills. The study skills curriculum parallels the core curriculum integrating the practice of skills with subject content. Students learn to break material down into smaller increments that are more manageable for study and retention.
Saint Francis students use a multi-modal approach to note taking. The Cornell Method of note taking is a system where students read the text, write main ideas and details in a listing method, and then review using recall questioning. The techniques also help students increase their skimming and scanning skills and provide them with a ready-made study guide.
Different forms of writing are practiced in all subject areas, known as “writing across the curriculum.” Students follow a very structured process of planning, writing, editing, and rewriting. Middle School students receive intensive training in their writing classes that meet daily.
Students record homework assignments and maintain a calendar of upcoming quizzes, tests, and projects in a school issued assignment book. Students with the assistance of their teachers practice good time management skills and work habits by learning to break down larger projects and assignments into more manageable pieces.
Students use a trapper keeper and folder system to organize and maintain subject materials for future study and assessment. Students are able to spend more time studying for tests and midterms when less reorganization and preparation are needed.
The Learning Lab is designed to help students improve their organizational and study skills while they develop specific strategies to improve upon any identified academic weaknesses. Assistive technology and additional resources are tailored to the needs of each individual student maximizing the multi-modal approach that has proven to be a cornerstone of our School’s success.
All students in the Middle School program have a homework hour at the end of the school day, Mondays through Thursdays. Students begin homework in a quiet, structured environment under the watchful guidance of our faculty. Students are able to seek help and additional clarification from their subject area teachers.