All middle school students take eight courses a year. Students take four core courses, one world language and physical education. Students choose two classes in visual arts, performing arts or design technology as their electives. Students meet daily in advisory groups and also engage in experiential learning opportunities throughout the year. STEAM is a thriving part of our middle school program. Students engage in the inquiry cycle, design thinking and transdisciplinary learning in projects throughout the school year.
Our core classes include English Language Arts, Social Studies, Science and Math. Our courses are aligned to North American Common Core Standards. Our core classes support English Language Learners through an intensive co-teaching model. Together, teachers provide English language development support, deliver content and hold all students to high expectations for academic language development.
All middle school students have the opportunity to select two classes per year. With a thriving performing arts program, students are able to choose from classes such Theater, Band, Strings, or Choir where they will have the opportunity to display their confidence as they perform in our 800 seat auditorium. The Visual Arts program engages students’ creativity through the use of multiple forms of media and the Middle School Art show highlights a wide spectrum of artifacts for public view.
Advisory is time for students to meet in small groups in a non-academic setting each day. Advisory activities focus on supporting a students social-emotional growth, wellbeing and connections with peers and adults. We believe that taking time during the school day to work together to build relationships and skills is particularly important for adolescents as they progress through middle school. The advisor also serves as a contact person for students and parents when there are questions or issues related to school.
Technology Program is a hands-on, project-based course where students design and create functional products using the design thinking process. Students learn and develop design drawing, basic hand and power tool skills while using a range of materials and techniques to design and create a product. A major emphasis is on the active involvement of the students using their creativity and originality in designing and making With a products.
The purpose of experiential learning in the middle school is to provide opportunities beyond the classroom that promote connections to our community, the environment, and local culture and nurture students’ self-management, self-awareness and positive relationships through applied learning and reflection. Students participate in the activities as a grade level, through courses, or through interest groups. Experiences are integral for our program to further live our mission and develop Vision for a Learner attributes. Week Without Walls, SEVAI, and curricular connections incorporate experiential learning into our program. The word SEVAI stands for service in Tamil. AISC has adopted the word SEVAI to represent our overall service learning programming. Assessing genuine needs, developing and implementing sustainable solutions and reflecting on personal growth and the impact of contributions are key steps of the our service learning program.
CLUBS AND ACTIVITIES
The co-curricular activities in the middle school are based on the interest of students. A wide variety of options span sports, performing arts, music, theater and academics. These opportunities allow AISC students to not only collaborate with peers in Chennai, but often with students from other parts of the region via American Schools in India Activities Conference, South Asia Inter-school Association, middle school Model United Nations and other opportunities.
AISC administers the MAP Assessment to students in grades 2-10 (Math, Reading, and Language Use), and grades 3-10 (Science), including all non-native English language speakers from the advanced beginner level.
Through STEAM and Project Based Learning, students engage in the inquiry cycle. STEAM provides opportunities for student design, creativity and problem solving. Teachers use Project Based Learning throughout the curriculum to engage students in extended inquiry and make connections across disciplines.