Middle School: Sixth-Eighth Grade
High Expectations and Teaching What Is Essential
CAIS students graduate ready for the most demanding high school programs. They stand out among their peers thanks to a strong academic foundation establishing multilingual and multicultural perspectives, intellectual curiosity, confident self-expression and creativity.Download a copy of the 2012-2013 Middle School Handbook.
A team of highly qualified middle-school teachers models a dynamic learning environment. Mastery of essential concepts and skills combined with support of individual strengths helps students become dedicated and reflective learners. A hands-on, minds-on, interdisciplinary curriculum guides students to apply concepts to the issues in their community and world as well as in their own lives. They think globally and explore multiple perspectives while celebrating differences and harnessing the power of collaboration.
At this time, students undergo cognitive, social-emotional and physical transitions. They learn and practice the habits of mind essential to succeeding in middle school and having a life, too. These include responsibility and organization, study skills and drawing on options, interests, and making healthy choices. Highlights include:
- Student-centered, differentiated curriculum
- Weekly advisory sessions focusing on building respect, community and self-esteem
- Exploratory program including music and movement, Chinese instruments, art, technology, drama and brush painting
- Integrated, project-based approach to math and science
- Emphasis on the writing process in Chinese and English
- Increased community involvement through clubs, student government and peer counselor program
- Intramural sports and athletic teams
Students journey from concrete thinking to more abstract, conceptual understanding. An interdisciplinary approach guides students through problem solving and critical thinking processes to find meaningful relationships between what they learn and their everyday lives. Highlights include:
- Interdisciplinary, bilingual approach to learning
- Expanded exploratory program choices, including Spanish, dance and popular psychology
- Expanded health and wellness program, including martial arts, gymnastics and yoga
- Extended, interdisciplinary service learning project focusing on issues of poverty and homelessness
- Weekly advisory sessions on identity development and building community
Students engage in an increasingly collaborative and democratic learning environment emphasizing choice, independence and intellectual self-reflection. They enjoy opportunities for self-directed inquiry based on their emerging status as bilingual, multicultural individuals. Highlights include:
- Inter-disciplinary, bilingual approach to learning
- Weekly advisory sessions based on developing leadership and skills for balancing health and the demands of an interconnected world
- Two-week exchange trip to Shanghai
- Varied exploratory program focused on creativity and self-expression
- Bilingual performance of Romeo and Juliet
- Expanded health and wellness curriculum culminating with students designing programs to sustain lifelong physical and emotional health
- Service learning within San Francisco's Chinese community
Broadening Students' School Experience and Development
CAIS nurtures students' natural curiosity and desire for challenge and service with a variety of new opportunities.
An adult mentor leads small groups each week to support social-emotional learning needs.
We encourage each student to be a leader. Elected representatives build community through responsible citizenship, advocacy and student-led activities and projects.
Outdoor education (below) provides the jumping-off point for service, enabling students to help restore natural habitats. Seventh-grade students engage in a comprehensive service project focused on poverty and homelessness, and including rebuilding a home. Eighth-grade students work with senior citizens in the San Francisco Chinese community. All middle-school students may serve on a Student Tech-Squad, which supports CAIS' Informational Technology needs.
Each year, students participate in day trips and multi-overnight adventures to environments to explore nature through a conservationist and scientific lens. Teamwork and leadership skills provide a framework for mental and physical challenges.
Inspired creative expression and exploration of new skills in English and Chinese meet the needs of the whole child. Our electives program offers:
- Music and movement
- Chinese instruments
- Brush painting
Additional options in seventh and eighth grade include dance, Spanish and popular psychology.
Students enjoy additional opportunities for learning and growth. They include mathcounts, music ensemble and a dance troupe, which performs internationally. Student writing, poetry and art appear in English and Chinese anthologies and exhibits.
Peer Counselor Program
Trained by our school counselor, peer counselors assist schoolmates to resolve differences in a positive, peaceful and respectful manner. Peer counselors apply for one-year positions and are interviewed by the school counselor and a team of teachers.
Health and WellnessA holistic approach supports students' physical and emotional wellbeing. A program of physical education, yoga, Chinese gymnastics and martial arts integrates with health education seminars focusing on the physiological changes experienced by young adolescents. Teachers use innovation and technology to inspire students to adopt active lifestyles.
CAIS' middle school has a remarkable record of participation and achievement. Teams place strongly in the San Francisco Athletic League every season. Sports include basketball, cross-country, swimming volleyball and futsal.
Support teams, including teachers, a learning specialist and CAIS' counselor, conduct monthly reviews of each student's academic and affective progress. Teams work closely with teachers, students and parents to provide academic and emotional support to community members in need.
Every child deserves to be challenged and supported. During the school day, students have access to one of the four following tracks:
- Lab: math, English, Chinese support with lab teachers
- Enrichment: supplementary, independent projects
- Homework/study time
- PAL Program
Eighth graders culminate their CAIS experience with a two-week exchange trip to Shanghai. Students live with Shanghainese families and attend school with their children. Upon their return, CAIS families host students' Chinese exchange buddies.
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