At Compass, we define academic rigor as the wide range of experiences we expect of every student. We want to develop good students and good people, not just test takers.
The foundation of the Compass Middle School curriculum revolves around core courses in Science Humanities, Mathematics, Spanish.
Each course is designed to develop the knowledge, skills and personal qualities essential for a middle school student to experience success in high school and life. Teachers often collaborate on larger projects and units allowing greater integration across disciplines. In general there is more focus on depth rather than breadth and on quality instead of quantity. There is a commitment to students using their minds well as opposed to rote memorization.
- In classes, students often have choices within individual assignments.
- Advisory and Seminar sessions support learning how to be a strong student and community member.
- Project Week, Exploratories, ELOs and Winterm all are designed to give students lots of opportunity for choice and discovering what they want to learn.
Two-year cycle features one year with ecology, chemistry, human anatomy and physiology, and first aid alternating with the other year focusing on geology, astronomy, electricity, mechanics, and simple machines, with gardening included as a community activity each year.
Group work, experimentation, and field trips (including presentations at local elementary schools) are crucial elements of our students' experience.
Compass Middle School Assessment
There are many unique aspects of the program designed to improve the quality of learning, assessment and culture in the Middle School. A few of these are described below:
Presentations of Learning
At the close of every semester, each Middle School student gives a Presentation of Learning (PoL). The heart of their PoL is sharing their most significant learnings for that semester. These may have come in the form of insights, understandings or skill development and often are not related to one particular assignment but instead represent a significant change that has taken place within them. In addition the PoL addresses academic growth, personal development, challenges and the student’s plan for moving forward.
At the end of eighth grade, Middle School students complete an Academic Portfolio. The Portfolio provides an opportunity to collect, select, reflect on, and document learning that has taken place during seventh and eighth grade. In this way students examine their work and experience for areas of strength, weakness, improvement and interest, and make connections to the Compass Learning Realms.
Students receive a comprehensive Report of Learning for every class each semester. Student learning and development is assessed via a framework of Learning Realms that include:
• Critical Thinking
• Personal Development
• Community Involvement.
This in-depth report provides students and parents with much greater detail and perspective on the student’s personal and academic development and trajectory.