Middle School

Sixth through Eighth Grade

Philosophy

We are a community of learners. Characterized by friendships, creativity, and a quest to establish independence and identity, the culture of Antilles Middle School is friendly, inviting, safe, encouraging, inclusive, and supportive of all. Faculty and staff appreciate this unique time in students’ live. Our programs and practices reflect our understanding, that for middle school students, relationships are paramount and emotions drive learning. Antilles Middle School teachers appreciate and enjoy the uniqueness of our adolescent learners, ‘tweens and teens, establishing learning environments that enhance students’ physical, social, and emotional well-being, as well as, affording academic challenges. Classroom, studio, laboratory, and field experiences cultivate intellectual curiosity and inventiveness, foster empathy and individuality, encourage imagination and perseverance, and nurture self-reliance and self-confidence.

Academic Core

Like the Association for Middle School Level Education (AMLE), we believe middle school learning experiences must be developmentally responsive, challenging, empowering, and equitable. Our teachers and students engage in active, purposeful learning. All students participate in rigorous and developmentally sensitive curricula; our foundational core studies include: reading, writing, language arts, mathematics, laboratory science, history, geography, civics, and Spanish language. Students advance essential reading and writing strategies, acquire specialized vocabulary and content-specific knowledge, and expand their adeptness with mathematics and scientific inquiry, and develop academic strategies and skills. Students connect new information to what they already know, gaining confidence in their abilities to reason, make decisions, solve problems, and communicate.

Visual and Performing Arts

Antilles students have extended learning experiences in the visual and performing arts, which are central to their unique and exploratory learning experiences. All middle school students take part in studio art, creating visual works of art, which may include ceramics, drawing, painting, graphic design, sculpture, and digital photography. Eighth grade students collaboratively create and publish an art and literary magazine, The Surge, four times each year. Every student participates in the performing arts, as well. Sixth graders are involved in band, and all middle school students may participate in elective instrumental music classes, including band, steel pan, and percussion ensemble. Seventh and eighth grade students take part in the theatre arts, a program of studies that extends into high school. Students learn specific knowledge and skills associated with scriptwriting, acting, scenic and design production, and directing, as they polish their abilities to communicate.

Physical Fitness and Health

We offer age-appropriate information, skills training, and fitness activities necessary for middle school students to make healthy life choices. Our program has three interconnected facets: physical fitness activities, health learning, and sports playing. Physical fitness education guides students to understand a health-enhancing level of physical fitness, to acquire safe and appropriate exercise techniques, to improve strength and motor skills, and to establish personal fitness goals. Health education focuses on both health promotion and risk reduction, guiding students to understand essential health concepts, develop effective interpersonal communication skills, use a decision-making process, establish personal goals, and practice health-enhancing behaviors. Seventh grade health education includes team participation on the school’s challenge courses. Sports playing education introduces students to game rules of interactive team sports (including soccer, flag football, volleyball, softball, and basketball) along with a variety of dances, guiding students to appreciate the benefits of participation in team activities and motivating them to engage in team play.

Technology Applications

Technology and its applications are woven throughout the curricula, as middle school students employ technology to create original works, individually and collaboratively; explore issues using models and simulations; identify trends and make predictions; collaborate and publish with peers; plan and conduct investigative research; and, learn to locate, organize, analyze, evaluate and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media.

Community

Community is a core value at Antilles School. Each day, throughout the day, we set aside time to focus on building commUNITY, thus enhancing connections and commitments among and between students, teachers, and staff. Understanding the importance of relationships, we take time every day to create our social life at school together. The ties we build enrich our lives, enhance friendships, strengthen collegiality, support our natural interdependence, enrich our individual and collective well-being, and bind us to a shared sense of purpose. Because we value relationships, each day begins with community time - morning meeting, advisory teams, or class meetings. At mid-morning, we take a break from our studies to share social time with classmates and to enjoy a healthy snack. Middle school students sit together during lunch, and then they can play a variety of activities in our Banana Patch or share conversational time with friends. Students and their teachers end the day together in a homeroom environment. Because we value community, we also set aside special times to celebrate team and individual achievements; to “dress for a cause” and to participate in community service projects supportive of causes beyond ourselves; and for having fun together at school dances, theatrical and musical productions, visual art exhibitions, and sporting events.

Advisory

Every middle school student is guided by an adult advocate who serves as her/his advisor. Advisors become well-acquainted with each student (advisee), encouraging each child’s social, emotional, physical, and academic development with structures and strategies based in part on the work of Developmental Designs. We believe it is essential to be aware of and address the unique needs of our adolescent students. Advisory is a unique way to help teachers and staff meet those needs in constructive ways, including preparing students to begin the school day, cultivating positive relationships, and creating a sense of belonging. Like Developmental Designs, we believe adolescent learners, ‘tweens and ‘teens, have four needs that are always present: the need for autonomy, the need for competence, the need for relationship, and the need for fun.

Student Life Activities

In addition to classroom and service learning activities, middle school students enthusiastically take part in individual and team activities, including athletic events, theatrical and musical productions, visual art displays, student government, clubs, organizations, societies, spirit week activities, and academic bees. View the Student Activities page for a more extensive list with descriptions.

Academic Assistance

At the end of the day, teachers offer academic assistance to students, supporting students' understandings of the day's lessons or a unit of study, answering students' questions, and offering suggestions in ways to prepare for upcoming quizzes or tests. Students are encouraged to utilize the writing lab, open to all middle and upper school students, supervised by a member of the Literature and Language Arts department, and supported by upper classmen offering assistance to their peers on writing projects. View our Learning Resources page for more information about the school's resource offerings.
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