Middle School Information
MAPLEWOOD PARENT COOPERATIVE
Middle School Program
Maplewood K-8 offers a unique middle school experience for all students. Our goal is to provide students with experiences and skills to confidently advocate for themselves as lifelong learners. Staff and families work together to prepare students to be academically, emotionally and socially ready for the transition from middle to high school. We successfully attain our goal for each student by enhancing and integrating district-adopted curriculum, working efficiently as a teaching team, and utilizing the talents of our family partners.
One hundred seven to one hundred thirteen students enroll in grades seven and eight at Maplewood. The small size of our middle school program and partnership with families increase attention to students’ needs. Each teacher provides instruction in an area of interest (known as an elective) in addition to teaching his/her content specialty. Staff members get to know students as individuals and work collaboratively to help them set and attain goals.
The core classes are humanities (English/language arts and social studies), math, and science. Students explore areas of interest through elective classes that have included: art, band, cinematography and film, computer science, leadership, orchestra, physical education, STEM, and yearbook. Parent/family-led enrichment courses on Friday mornings serve to further broaden the learning opportunities available to our students. Enrichment courses in the past have included: art, cooking, German, French, Future LEGO League, hiking, Japanese, life skills, PE games, weight training, and yoga.
Traditionally separated as language arts and social studies, the humanities class incorporates content and skills from each core subject to support and build on the other. Students encounter meaningful and rigorous academic learning experiences in context when introducing, building, and assessing literacy and communication skills. Essential questions, which are relevant to students’ lives, are the focus of humanities. Examples of essential questions are: “When is it okay to disobey?” or “How much fear and love does an effective leader use?” Literary and historical examples combine to increase understanding of the questions and develop answers.
Students focus on literacy and comprehension strategies through a broad spectrum of media, including: fictional novels, film, music, nonfiction news articles and primary source documents, photographs, poetry, short stories, and textbooks. Emphasis is given on the process of gathering information, documenting understanding of the content, and organizing thoughts. Drafting and prewriting, revising, editing, and final presentation are repeated throughout the year to practice and develop mastery in the areas of comprehension, critical thinking (synthesis and analysis), and communication.
Math courses are a dynamic combination of learning, thinking, and doing. Middle schools across the Edmonds School District utilize a matrix comprised of data from multiple measures to assign each student a mathematical score used to place them in the appropriate math class. The score is an indicator of success relative to the varied levels of math instruction. Student growth data including: sixth grade progress report scores in algebra and number sense, the Orleans Hanna Algebraic Prognosis Test, fifth grade Smarter Balanced Assessment in math and fifth grade Measurements of Student Progress in science are used to recommend placement for students in math courses. Most Maplewood students qualify for placement in Math 7 or Honors 7 and receive instruction using the district-adopted Glencoe Math Program. A much smaller percentage of seventh grade students qualify for extraordinary placement in Algebra I and receive instruction using the McDougal Littell Algebra 1 curriculum.
Most eighth grade students take either Math 8 or Algebra I. Algebra I is the foundation for high school mathematics courses. It is the bridge from the concrete to the abstract study of mathematics. This course focuses on generalizing the algorithms of arithmetic to learn how to develop equations and mathematical formulas to simulate real-life problems and solve them through mathematical manipulation. Topics include simplifying expressions, evaluating and solving equations and inequalities; and linear, quadratic and various other functions.
Those who qualify for extraordinary placement in Algebra I in seventh grade, move on to Geometry in eighth grade. The McDougal Littell Geometry curriculum is the primary set of instructional materials for this 10th grade level math course. Geometry provides students with experiences that deepen the understanding of two and three-dimensional objects and their properties. Deductive and inductive reasoning, as well as investigative strategies are stressed to enhance the development of problem solving skills.
Seventh grade science focuses on Life Science. We begin where sixth grade left off in defining what makes something alive. “What are the criteria for life?” Then, we move into a unit on the microscopic world, engaging in many labs using microscopes to investigate microorganisms and human cells. Next, there is an inter-thematic unit with the humanities class. Together we explore ecology through the lens of local current events—an example would be forest fires and the health of our salmon. Returning to cells, the view is expanded by studying human body systems. The last system we study is the reproductive system which leads into our study of genetics.
Eighth grade science focuses on Physical Science. We study earth science and wave phenomenon through the lens of catastrophic events such as earthquakes and tsunamis. Then, we will move into the study of matter i.e. chemistry—atoms, molecules, their predictable behaviors and why they behave as they do. After that, we explore the laws governing motion and physics. Questions such as, “What are the forces in the universe?” and “How do they guide us to predict anything—from the falling of an apple to the revolution of the planets around the sun?”
Students have the opportunity to participate in band or orchestra. Band and orchestra are taught daily and require a full year commitment. Choir and jazz band are also offered before school as electives for interested students. Participation in jazz band requires enrollment in band or orchestra, except for piano and guitar since they are not typical band or orchestra instruments.
Students will receive 50 minutes of physical activity four days a week. Students participate in daily warm-up workouts, cooperative games, and a variety of sports. Students learn the importance of daily physical activity and how to maintain body composition. Students set personal fitness goals based on their fitness assessments. Finally, students become physically literate in the Health and fitness Components and F.I.T.T. PE cannot be taken in consecutive semesters. Students must have one semester of PE each year of middle school.
The K-8 athletic program offers co-ed cross-country, volleyball, and track; and boys’ basketball and girls’ basketball. There is a $40 participation fee for each sports season. The athletic season is usually six to eight weeks long with the philosophy that “everyone gets to play!” Participation, healthy habits, and sportsmanship are emphasized in the K-8 athletic program. Scholarships to cover the participation fee are available through the PCEP. Please contact the office manager or school psychologist for more information about scholarships.
Field trips are an integral part of Maplewood and are interwoven throughout the curriculum. We begin the school year with a middle school unity retreat. Parents are urged to turn in driver’s abstracts during the first week of school as we need to quickly assemble drivers for the retreat. Seventh and eighth grade students have enjoyed field trips to Experience Music Project, UW Engineering Day, regional museums and theater productions. School dances, the Spring Fling Dinner and Dance, middle school picnic, and eighth grade Moving Up Ceremony make for lasting memories of Maplewood Middle School!