Austin Peace Academy Middle School
6th - 8th Grade
The middle school academic program provides a solid foundation in core subjects while also allowing students to pursue other areas of interest through our elective and advanced course offerings.
The Middle School teaching staff is committed to both building relationships with their students and powerfully imparting their course-specific content. The strong sense of community that is created in the classrooms and all over campus is fostered by the supportive relationships that our teachers form with their students. In our Middle School classrooms, one will find inspired and inspiring teachers. Our teachers focus on scaffolding the learning process to help students prepare for a lifetime of learning. We spend time on both the content as well as methods for learning the content. Our teachers truly care about the whole child. They take time to support content learning in addition to well-being.
The Middle School offers a profound opportunity for young people to be members of a community that fosters courageous self-expression and a deep love of learning. We provide a supportive and constructive environment where students feel the freedom to explore their passions as well has have the experience of being well-guided on this road to independence. The middle school culture is one in which students’ wellbeing is of the highest priority. We strive to assist our young people to gain the skill set needed to excel in a college preparatory setting while holding onto the wonderment that is lifelong learning. We believe our students’ success in life will be a function of their ability to produce extraordinary results while maintaining healthy and sustainable lifestyles.
APA helps students grow as self-advocates who regulate their learning by understanding their strengths, acknowledging areas of improvement and utilizing resources provided for growth. All instruction helps students to reflect on their learning and to increase their awareness and understanding of their approach to learning.
Middle School students will utilize the Savvas myPerspectives ELA program, which is a brand new English language arts curriculum for Grades 6–12. Students will employ an interactive learning platform, integrating print and technology, enabling them to reflect on their learning and increase their awareness and understanding of their approach to learning.
Students will study a variety of novels examining, evaluating, and interpreting its meanings and exploring why the author made certain choices. The goal is to produce writing pieces of increasing complexity focusing on literary analysis elements and skills such as organizing ideas, using effective transitions, and choosing precise wording. Students are also taught to use digital tools to organize their information, such as Google Docs and Quizlet.
Language arts instruction in 7th grade focuses on reading texts (short stories, plays, poetry, and novels) for a variety of purposes, such as considering the author’s purpose, and analyzing plot and theme. Students are taught to effectively analyze the plot of various pieces of fiction and to write the basics of a literary analysis of plot. Writing skills include planning, writing a rough draft, getting peer feedback, making revisions, and polishing a final draft. Instruction is also provided in note taking, using digital and print formats, and the elements of an effective discussion.
Students begin the year by working on a project that encourages them to reflect on their development as a student, their current approach to learning, and on setting goals they wish to accomplish during the year. Students continue to expand on literary analysis elements by studying books with a focus on specific themes. In addition to traditional research reports, students will create digital products to demonstrate their understanding, such as digital presentations and videos.
Middle School students will use the SpringBoard Math Curriculum with an emphasis on learning and practicing the critical thinking skills needed to analyze, solve, and explain complex math problems and to be successful in Algebra and Geometry.
Students in 6th grade math will work to model functions in numerical, symbolic (equation), table, and graphical forms. They will use multiple representations to communicate their understanding of a math concept. Students will learn how to use online text, are introduced to Google Docs, and continue to use computer/iPad apps for conceptual understanding and drill of basic facts.
The 7th grade math curriculum will help students acquire an understanding of functions—in the context of algebra and graphs. Students will be able to write, solve, and graph linear equations; recognize and verbalize patterns; and model slope as a rate of change. They will be able to communicate problem-solving methods and interpret results clearly. Students will investigate concepts presented visually and verbally with the aid of graphic calculators and other visual tools.
Algebra is the designated course for 8th grade. It helps students write algebraic models from a variety of physical, numeric, and verbal descriptions. Solving equations using a variety of methods and justifying answers using precise mathematical language will be focused on throughout the course. Students will also use technology to solve problems.
Middle School students will use the Savvas myWorld Interactive Social Studies program, which focuses on active inquiry and strong literacy connections. Students will concentrate on critical thinking, problem solving, evidence-based reasoning, and communication skills.
The 6th grade social studies classes study World Geography. Students employ project-based learning to explore the world’s places, systems, and cultures.
Social studies instruction in 7th grade focuses on Civics and Texas History. Students study basic principles reflected in the Texas Constitution. They also use various resources and tools to organize information in various digital formats.
In 8th grade, students study American History from the beginning till 1877. The study emphasizes a process of historical inquiry: question, investigate sources, analyze evidence, and make interpretations.
Science in the 6th grade covers the following branches: Physics (Force, Motion, Energy, Heat), Earth (Mineral, Rock, Solar system) and Biology (Organisms). Students are taught strategies for gathering and organizing information and for experimenting using the scientific method. Particular emphasis is placed on helping students use digital tools for keeping track of their information.
In 7th grade, science content focuses on Scientific Thinking, Life Sciences (Cell, Hereditary, Human Body), and Earth Science (Ecosystem and Environment). Students engage in science-related skill building including observing, inferring, predicting, classifying, and making models. The skill building culminates with planning and conducting experiments using the scientific method.
The content covered in 8th grade science focuses on Scientific Inquiry, Chemistry (Periodic Table, Chemical reactions), Physics (Force), Earth Science (Plate Tectonics, Atmosphere-Ocean System), and Life Science (Living system and the Environment). Students continue to personalize their use of digital and print tools to help them produce quality work.
Middle school students are challenged with more sophisticated projects that are to be completed over the course of three or four class periods. Students are expected to plan, assess and make revisions to projects as needed. Self-contained units address skill levels in a particular aspect of art.
The goals of the physical education program at the intermediate level are continuation of those set for the primary level. In addition, students are taught how to sharpen individual skills and how to use those skills in the context of a team situation. The goal of the physical education program at the middle school level is to deepen the social and physical skills taught in the lower school program and to develop and interest in a variety of physical activities such as basketball, volleyball and soccer.