Lower & Middle School AQC
A Letter From the Middle School Academic Quality Controller
“Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” – Socrates
Students at The International School of Minnesota learn the value of taking risks and trying new things, as they are immersed in a community of supportive teachers and peers, encouraging them to explore new boundaries each day. Our students learn to not only ask questions, but also to ask the best questions to make new discoveries, find answers for themselves, and to lead others to new ways of thinking. The academic program at ISM teaches mastery of reading, writing, and mathematics together with problem solving, critical thinking, and creative expression. This is our commitment to providing students the skills to flourish in the 21st century.
There is a strong sense of community at ISM that supports all learners and requires the consideration of all viewpoints and opinions. We recognize that each student has a unique method for learning, and we strive to differentiate our curriculum, wherever possible, to reach each student where they are and capitalize on the success of each learner. For example, beginning in the lower school, students are placed in world language classes at levels to challenge and accommodate each individual learner. As students progress through the ISM curriculum, other subjects allow for this placement as well.
Character education is a particular focus in lower school, as students learn to be good citizens and kind classmates in a learning environment. The SABIS® philosophy of peer prefects, gives even the youngest students opportunities to guide, mentor, and support classmates. This character develops further through homerooms and advisory programs in the middle and upper school grades through the direct support and involvement of the SABIS Student Life Organization®. This can include peer tutoring, community service, and a variety of other cross grade activities. The ISM community is like a family with members from multiple age groups, backgrounds, and interests.
As an experienced educator and administrator, I have been involved in many school settings. The SABIS® approach to teaching is one that ensures no child is forgotten while the class moves on to a new concept. The regular checking for understanding in both formative and summative formats, keeps teachers aware of student progress and allows students to thrive in a trusted learning environment where they are held individually accountable. This system can be greatly successful, and I encourage you to come see what is being accomplished on The campus of the International School of Minnesota.
About Our Middle School
We have a vibrant, inclusive, and caring Middle School community that empowers students to gain responsibility and take ownership of their education. ISM’s curriculum offers a challenging, structured, and well-rounded education with the instructional support needed to succeed. Students completing the Middle School curriculum at ISM are well prepared for High School and beyond.
Social and emotional growth are developed through a weekly advising period in which students are encouraged to discuss topics such as kindness, positivity, and emotional growth. We place an emphasis on proving opportunities for students to collaborate across age levels. Our Middle School students play an active role in peer tutoring with younger students and are exposed to a number of student-led activities with High School peers. Through their active participation in these exchanges, our students learn skills that will benefit them in and out of the classroom.
Beyond academics, students participate in a variety of in-school activities and extra-curricular opportunities. Through the SABIS Student Life Organization® at ISM, our students are able to propose and plan their own clubs and activities from walking and hiking clubs to book clubs to a “mad scientist” club. These clubs provide opportunities for students to further explore interests, build friendships, and enhance skills.
Middle School English focuses on reading comprehension and interpretation, writing skills, vocabulary development, and communication fluency. Students explore a variety of literary genres from global authors while engaging in research and research writing. Students are also encouraged to read for pleasure through their participation in the Accelerated Reader® program. English courses act as critical stepping-stones to more specialized, college preparatory literature and composition classes offered in high school.
After mastering basic arithmetic operations, students move on to algebra and geometry. Additional topics include units for measurement and data. Throughout their coursework, students develop the ability to address abstraction through observing and stating the various properties of addition and multiplication. These courses lay a solid foundation for a rigorous high school curriculum.
Students start by exploring ancient cultures, the beginnings of human society, early civilizations and global relationships. Next, they move to an in-depth study of world geography including physical and human geography and world resources. As they advance in grade level, students explore United States history with an emphasis on studying the past as a means of better understanding our current government, culture, and society.
Our Science program emphasizes learning about the topics of science, how to do science, and about the importance of science in daily life. The curriculum includes the discovery of physical, earth, and life sciences. Learning about science focuses on the study of science by seeking to discover the order of nature and the scientific method. The relationship between science and humanities is examined with the inclusion of historical impacts. Both theoretical and practical applications of science are addressed as students are learning how to do science. Students engage in hands on experiments and theoretical predictions with an emphasis on problem solving and logical frameworks. Lastly, students learn about the importance of science by identifying and understanding the impact of science on daily life.
The importance of world language is reflected in daily language instruction of either Spanish or French, from instructors who are native speakers. As a result, students become functionally bilingual by graduation. Language instruction includes reading, writing, listening, and speaking while also learning about culture.
Our goal for this program is to ensure that all students attain an excellent understanding of computer and network technologies and how to use them. By providing a conceptual understanding of the technology, students are positioned to gain a sustained ability to use current computer applications while also understanding future versions and advancements. Computer Science subjects promote and improve important skills and abilities such as critical thinking, planning, problem solving, organization, and communication.
To ensure a well-rounded education, curriculum also includes instruction in the following: