Academics

Middle School

Grades 6 - 8

The IDS Middle School experience dispels the notion that these years are a time of angst and uncertainty. Quite to the contrary, middle school at IDS is about empowerment, camaraderie and boundless opportunities.
There is no typical IDS student, as the community fabric is comprised of academics, athletes, actors and artists, each celebrating the achievements of their peers, while thriving and growing as members of a diverse and dynamic school community. IDS middle school students draw strength and confidence from their school and graduate ready to fearlessly take on the world.

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  • English

    Reading and writing sustain the core of academic life, as essential skills for every other pursuit. Middle School teachers concentrate on making each student an incisive reader and effective writer. In small classroom communities, students exchange ideas and gain the public speaking experience expected at IDS. Students interact with a range of texts, including plays, classic novels, short stories, poetry and memoirs, learning to summarize, predict, respond, and reflect. Writers think deeply and critically about literature on paper, developing both a personal and an academic voice. Throughout, students hone key skills necessary for general academic success, including how to take notes, participate in discussions, and how to work from a brainstorm to a draft to a polished piece of writing.
  • Math

    With appropriate challenge and support, students in the Middle School grow to appreciate math’s relevance in their world. Students are grouped by ability to fully benefit from each other’s observations and contributions. They work individually, in small groups, and as a whole class, to make connections between the classroom and the real world. Students continue to practice and develop their math skills and engage in a variety of projects ­– writing about their math progress, creating scale drawings of their own homes, gathering and analyzing data, researching the lives and contributions of famous mathematicians – that broaden and deepen their math knowledge.
  • Science

    The IDS Middle School Science program cultivates a spirit of inquiry and creativity through hands-on learning, challenging students to investigate and explain the mysteries they find in the world around them. Using lab experiences, projects, technology, and group work, teachers foster conceptual understandings of science. Students practice how to work as collaborative members of a team to research a problem, set up an experiment, construct charts, tables, and graphs, and analyze, conclude and present their results. Students develop confidence working in a laboratory setting, interpreting scientific publications, writing scientifically, and completing comprehensive assessments. Students leave the middle school science program with the eagerness and scientific skills necessary for further study.
  • Social Studies/History

    Our Middle School social scientists ask “Why?”, delving far beyond the history and social studies textbooks to explore various cultures and diverse perspectives. Traditional topics, time periods and events from 5000 BC through the late 20th century shape the program in which students experience rather than just record to memory a series of past events. Students employ the whole toolbox of skills of reading, writing, research, oral presentations and projects, using the Internet and digital technology of our time as major resources. We teach students to learn and retain new material through “reading-to-understand” techniques and focus on developing a student’s study and research skills. We build historical models and create artistic representations of subjects to allow for alternative approaches to understanding and enhance learning with field trips and guest speakers.
  • Digital Arts & Sciences (DAS)

    In the 2013-14 academic year, IDS diverged from the prevailing view that current students are "digital natives", and instituted a new course for sixth, seventh and eighth graders in computer science, information technology and Internet etiquette. The course for 6th, 7th and 8th graders, titled Digital Arts and Sciences, is currently focused on teaching online research skills; using office productivity software and email effectively; and using creative software in graphic design, audio/visual, and presentation software, to produce high-quality content. This class makes frequent use of our Design Thinking methodology to solve problems posed in online environments.
  • World Language

    The world language study at IDS provides students with the opportunity to attain a higher level of understanding of the structures of language through a focus on Spanish. It strives to develop a student’s ability to communicate by every means—speaking, writing, reading and listening and also heighten an appreciation and perspective of people and cultures throughout the world. Our students absorb a new language through all the senses, to make it a living, breathing part of their own lives

Technology

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  • Technology

    A fully equipped computer lab and two mobile labs roll information technology right to our students’ fingertips. Many classrooms are outfitted with projectors and interactive SMARTboards. Digital cameras, camcorders, scanners, and laser printers are available to everyone. These tools and more, demonstrate our commitment to keeping technology current and accessible to students and teachers while supporting their use of it.
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Advisories

In the Middle School at IDS, each student has an advisor. The advisor serves as the family’s primary contact, supporting the advisee’s academic, social, and emotional growth in the Middle School. Advisors work with their advisees, teachers, and parents to establish and assess individual academic and personal goals at regular intervals during the school year. Advisors facilitate communication among parents, teachers, and administrators regarding students’ progress toward these goals throughout the school year.