Academics

Middle School

Program Overview

The Orchard School’s Middle School (MS) includes approximately 260 students in grades five through eight. Students in fifth grade transition from self-contained classes in the Elementary School (ES) to become part of a grade level of classmates in MS. Each grade level is grouped in a variety of ways for various classes and activities and are instructed and guided by a specific team of teachers. MS students develop increased independence and personal responsibility and accountability as they encounter increasingly higher expectations for academic and behavioral excellence.
 
The MS program provides a well-rounded education, including core academics, arts, and physical education, and centers around the academic, social, and emotional needs of young adolescents. Additionally, all MS students have use of a laptop computer during the school day. Units of study at each grade level promote integrated learning, multiple perspectives, social development, and a balanced education. Teachers differentiate instruction by providing various levels of content, methods of delivery, and options for students to represent learning. MS teachers model Orchard’s commitment to a “love of learning” and demonstrate flexibility. Teachers encourage students and create active, engaging lessons and units of study. The MS faculty strive to ensure that graduates meet the high expectations of the Orchard diploma, which calls for “ethical character, academic excellence, and demonstration of service.”

Significant Elements of the Middle School

  1. Advisories are small groups of students that meet daily. Click here to learn more about Advisory.
  2. In addition to specific course instruction, teams create integrated levels that enable students to make connections across the disciplines.
  3. All MS grade levels have out-of-town study trips with strong curricular connections (grade five to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, grade six to St. Louis, grade seven to Chicago, and grade eight to Washington, D.C.).
  4. A partnering relationship is encouraged among parents and teachers. Reporting of individual student progress is based on a four-quarter system of grades and comments.
  5. Regular homework assignments that are developmentally appropriate for each grade level reinforce classroom work, challenge and enrich, foster self-discipline, and promote organizational skills and study habits. Click here to learn more about Orchard's homework philosophy.
  6. The Middle School Kids Connect before/after-school program includes clubs, classes, and athletics.
  7. Both the administration and faculty, particularly the eighth grade advisors, have a close relationship with the high schools that most of our graduates attend. There is a strong commitment to finding the high school that will be the most appropriate experience for each child.

Specific courses in MS are:

  • Math
  • Science
  • Social Studies/History
  • Literature
  • Language Arts
  • Spanish
  • Art
  • Music (Band, Choir, Orchestra)
  • Drama
  • Physical Education
  • Health
  • Technology
  • Boost

Curriculum FAQs

List of 3 frequently asked questions.

  • Q: How is the curriculum organized?

    Orchard faculty preface school-wide curriculum documentation by first defining the philosophy driving each discipline.
    Researching a variety of highly recognized standards, the Orchard faculty developed their own standards, a composite of Indiana and national content knowledge standards.
    Orchard's standards were developed to help ensure continuity and consistency throughout Orchard's programs, ranging from preschool through eighth grade. These standards include objectives to guide student instruction and learning.

    The Orchard School curriculum is much broader than the standards upon which it has been framed. Orchard's curriculum overview by discipline provides a deeper understanding of how curriculum is delivered and assessed. This overview succinctly outlines by discipline the philosophical rationale, course description, key concepts and skills, and methods of assessment and reporting.

    The written documentation is the foundation for Orchard's curriculum. Just step into any classroom to see evidence of what sets Orchard apart. Creative and dedicated teachers, hands-on learning strategies, progressive teaching methodologies and student leadership make learning come alive.
  • Q: How extensive is The Orchard School curriculum?

    The Orchard School curriculum includes standards and documentation for literature and language arts, mathematics, multicultural education, science, social studies, Spanish, technology, health, physical education, visual arts, drama and music.
  • Q: Will the curriculum ever change?

    Yes, it is good practice to be engaged in annual reviews of the school curriculum. Curriculum Teams meet regularly to discuss programs and review the curriculum.