The ultimate goal of the grades 5 and 6 program is to foster the emotional and academic growth of each child and to help students transition smoothly from lower school to middle school.
The grade 5 and 6 self-contained classroom program utilizes the Responsive Classroom approach. This research-based approach to middle level education, which integrates practical strategies for helping students build academic learning along with social-emotional learning throughout the day. focuses on 10 classroom practices aimed at creating a classroom environment where students feel safe, challenged, and a have joyful place to learn. These classroom practices include: morning meeting, rule creation, interactive modeling, positive teacher language, logical consequences, guided discovery, academic choice, classroom organization, collaborative problem solving, and working with families. Responsive Classroom increases academic achievement, decreases problem behaviors, improves social skills, and leads to more high-quality instruction. Emphasis is placed on student happiness, not only in making the process of their education enjoyable, but also in promoting positive, lifelong learners.
The Middle School’s approach to the amount of academic work expected emphasizes quality versus quantity. Teachers expect their students to thoroughly understand the concepts presented and to master various skills. Students take an active role in their own education. Teachers use a variety of learning and teaching strategies, including direct instruction, project-based learning, differentiation, hands-on activities, cooperative and other group methods, inquiry/discovery methods, and others. The pace of learning varies to meet individual needs for each child. Students who need more time are given it, and students who are able to complete their tasks more quickly are encouraged to move ahead.
At Park, we believe that no two students enter the classroom with identical abilities, backgrounds, experiences, or needs. As the diversity of our students in the classroom increases, the need to reshape our curriculum, instruction, and assessment practices to maximize the learning for all students grows evermore critical. Through varied teaching methods and alternative assessment, all students are given the opportunity to excel, regardless of their individual differences.