Middle School Teams Create Community & Provide Student Support

Transitioning from elementary to middle school can be intimidating for students and parents alike. Moving from the comforts of elementary school, with one primary teacher and classroom environment, to a block schedule with new students from multiple schools is overwhelming. 

At each of our middle schools, students are divided into three teams per grade level. Each team shares core teachers for Math, Science, English, Social Studies, and Wellness. Teams are formed through a collaborative process with teachers, department chairs, and counselors. The goal is to evenly distribute students while managing course levels and support needs. These smaller groups of students provide consistency and community for both the students and teachers. Teams are referenced by number sets, for example, 6.1, 6.2, and 6.3 in sixth grade.

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Carmel Middle School teacher team

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Creekside team meeting with Principal Pelych

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Small group Socratic Seminar with team

 

The team approach with students and teachers allows for enhanced learning opportunities and academic support. Team teachers meet regularly to discuss units and individual lessons, students’ success, and opportunities to assist as needed. Teachers can coordinate schedules to avoid tests or exams on the same day. Conversely, if they align with the standards, classes such as Social Studies and English may coordinate lessons to complement each other. The team collaboration provides teachers with a holistic view of a student. 

Core Plus

The backbone of our middle school teams is the Core Plus class. Each student is designated a Core Plus class with a teacher from their team. Again, this consistency allows teachers to stay up-to-date and flexible to meet the needs of students. For example, teachers can determine which students could benefit from a guided study hall in math or science, require a make-up test, or need to finish work and provide assistance based on those needs. 

In addition to academic support, Core Plus allows for team-building opportunities for our students. Teams may head outside for study hall on a nice day or spend part of Core Plus having fun with spirit competitions and activities. While the technical names remain numbered 6.1 to 8.3, each team receives a themed name such as Team Everest, Team Kilimanjaro, or Team Rockies.

Transitioning to sixth grade and navigating the complexities of middle school are made more manageable because of our middle school teams. They provide a sense of family for our students, help make our large schools feel smaller, and promote collaboration with our teachers.