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Middle School

ACE Middle School is a three-year sequence designed to engage students academically, encourage personal and interpersonal development, and allow the pursuit of passions and interests at the highest level possible.

Middle School years at ACE are not bound by traditional grade levels and age groupings, but are designed to cover, at a minimum, all objectives of 6th through 9th grades. Students will spend three years in middle school. Typically, this consists of one year in Lower Middle School (LMS) and two years in Upper Middle School (UMS).

CURRICULUM

Students in middle school take a set of core classes each year:
    • Language Arts
    • Science
    • Math
    • Foreign Language
    • Fine Arts:
      • Performing Arts (Theatre, Band, and Choir)
      • Visual Arts (Art, Art History, Photography, and Media Arts)
    • Physical Education
    • Technology

    Download a PDF of our Academic Standards.

    At ACE Middle School, our baseline is an amazing gifted education. But beyond that, we want our students to be outstanding members of their communities. To that end, we offer Middle school students two courses — Emotional Intelligence and Open Door Interdisciplinary Modules — to make sure that they have the tools to be healthy and happy citizens of the world.

    Emotional Intelligence
    More than just a core class, we integrate Emotional Intelligence concepts and exercises across the disciplines, supporting students in successfully navigating the academic, social, and emotional challenges they face in their formative years. We promote healthy communication and interaction among peers, allow students to voice their concerns, and draw on the expertise of psychologists and current research on the emotional and social challenges of gifted children to provide an environment that is tailored to support their development as happy, well-adjusted, confident, and contributing individuals.

    ODIM
    Gifted students need opportunities and time to expand on their interests in a structured yet flexible environment. Throughout any given day, students are exposed to countless new concepts, alternative perspectives, and complex ideas that require time for discussion, reflection, and expansion. Research shows that gifted students thrive when they are allowed to pursue their passions and build complex and detailed connections.

    Open Door Interdisciplinary Modules (ODIM) provides several ways of meeting this need. Through guest teacher modules, ACE teacher modules, student-driven salons, student initiatives, and targeted/independent studies, students can explore and focus their individual interests. Because students take responsibility for what and how they are learning a new concept, intrinsic motivation plays a key role in the learning process.

    To learn more, please see our page on ODIM.

    Electives
    In addition to our academic and personal development classes, ACE Middle School offers several elective choices that help foster and develop student passions. These change from year to year, but our most popular electives include Robotics, Art, Drama, Claymation, Fencing, Programming, Filmmaking.

    Activities
    Middle School students plan spirit week, organize No Place For Hate activities, facilitate Global Festival, and organize their own Middle School dance, and Halloween and Valentine’s day parties.

    The Goal of Advisory
    One of the goals of our advisory program is to make personal connections with each student. We serve as their advocate, guidance counselor, and confidant. During our weekly conferences, advisors will check in with students on various topics, such as:

    • Academic, teacher, and peer challenges
    • Social and emotional issues
    • ODIM, gallery night projects, and helping guide their agenda (student initiatives)
    • Daily schedule questions and concerns
    • Homework load
    • Organizational challenges
    • Study skills
    • Goal setting
    • Fun and personal facts

    Other goals of advisory are to encourage risk-taking and to develop leadership skills. In an effort to encourage students to behave responsibly, we have created a privilege system; students may earn certain privileges by gaining signatures from teachers. Getting a teacher’s signature is not an easy task. Students must consistently demonstrate their responsibility and maturity in order to be recognized by their teachers.

    The Role of the Lead Advisor
    Advisors meet with students during lunch and recess on a weekly basis. They hold meaningful conferences with students and help guide them throughout the school year. Advisors are also available to meet with students during other points of the day, if they need extra time.

    The Advisory Team
    Every teacher your child has serves on his or her advisory team. During our leveled staff meetings we take time to discuss our students. We share any concerns, appreciations, or challenges that we observe. This can cover classroom behavior, excessive tardies, academic concerns, social and emotional needs, organizational issues, or any other topic that we feel is hindering or helping the student.

    Core Philosophies

    At ACE Academy, we:

    • Commit to educational excellence by involving every student in engaging academic experiences and enriching opportunities.
    • Encourage students to extend self-directed learning skills in order to become independent, flexible thinking, creative adults.
    • Allow students to employ creative, productive, and critical thinking skills along with exploration of in-depth content to generate complex products.
    • Emphasize emotional intelligence in every class to ensure children feel safe and nurtured at school.
    • Supplement our curriculum with connections to many disciplines and electives.
    • Understand the nature and needs of gifted and twice-exceptional learners and accommodate (in special circumstances modify) for them appropriately in the classroom.
    • Provide an inquiry-based learning approach, focusing on using and learning content as a means to develop information-processing and problem-solving skills. The emphasis is on “how we come to know” and less on “what we know.”
    • Explore depth and complexity within the curriculum, playing within the nuances of each discipline and appreciating it from multiple perspectives.
    • Engage in Socratic Discussions to invite open-ended questions, expand beyond the text, and hold lively debates and conversations that, at the end of the day, often pose more questions than provide answers .
    • Organize our classes for both structured and free responses, and prioritize efforts to instill a love of learning in each student while encouraging and developing their intrinsic motivation.
    • Encourage curiosity and don’t limit the number of questions our students can ask in day—ideas that aren’t covered in class can be explored during ODIM.
    • Believe in a heuristic approach to learning: we create student-centered environments, with the teacher serving as a facilitator of learning, and we encourage positive risk-taking and promote leadership skills. This system prepares students for life-long learning.
    • Foster a spirit of innovation and encourage inventive thinking at every turn. The inclusion of ACE Innovation in our curriculum allows students to share their ideas with a larger audience.