Middle Grades Program

The middle grades program at Disrupted Academy is almost entirely project based, with small group and individual tutorial work designed to ensure students progress in reading and mathematics. Students spend their first year in the middle school exploring extended sessions in robotics, programming, expressive arts, community service and outdoor experiential activities. During their second and third years, students complete two to three projects each year that they design themselves with guidance from our faculty. The portfolio of completed projects will demonstrate growth in all areas of literacies expected of DA students. Students are expected to complete at least one project a year solo, and one in a group.

During a typical day, students will spend most of their time with a team of two teachers completely immersed in their current project. Most projects take about three weeks from inception to completion. A project is complete when a student has met their initiating criteria, and is evaluated using a rubric students write themselves along with their advisor. Completion must include documentation of the entire project reflection on the process and the outcome, and a presentation of some type. Past student projects have included composing, scripting, and performing a musical piece, building a treehouse, participating in a Lego League competition, and writing a novella.

Each day, students will meet with a reading teacher and a math teacher for direct instruction and guidance in meeting their individual goals. These meetings are scheduled so that student work is minimally interrupted. Reading materials and math concepts will usually correspond with steps in the students' project. Typically, students meet in groups of 3 or 4 with their teachers, with one individual meeting per week.

Our classrooms resemble laboratories more than traditional classrooms. Each student has a work area with storage and a large flat surface. In our 1:1 environment, the only materials students are expected to transport between school and home are electronic. Projects are worked on during school hours, with rare exceptions, and no traditional homework is assigned.

Students are asked to keep a record of their independent reading by participating in online book groups via blogging and discussion. This participation frequently takes place after school hours, but can be completed at school as well.

*I need some help thinking about foreign language and music instruction*