Our Immersive Approach
Middle school students are full of energy, changes, and curiosity. Our teachers are knowledgeable in teaching students with dyslexia and language-based learning differences. They channel the energy and curiosity of their students through constructive learning experiences.
Our instructional programming was developed with intention and purpose to grow the whole student; that includes academic and social emotional learning. The immersive approach means that the whole school experience is designed so that language skill development is intensive and continuous throughout all subject areas. Current research is utilized to deliver instruction in structured literacy using the Orton-Gillingham Approach, multisensory math, knowledge based language arts, and investigation-led science and social studies. Teachers utilize technology throughout the day with the use of iPads, Chromebooks, and smart TVs. Students collaborate, create, and expand their knowledge while learning 21st century skills needed for the future.
Click to view the Orton-Gillingham Academy Principles, which are the foundation of the Orton-Gillingham Approach.
Swift School offers social emotional learning and life skills instruction which further creates a bridge between academic success and social development. Our students learn to respectfully advocate and navigate the world around them through modeling, targeted character lessons, and guided interaction.
Middle Division students attend two literacy classes each day: Language Arts and Orton Gillingham (OG) classes.
Language Arts, using a knowledge-based curriculum, exposes students to grade-level skills and content based on the Georgia Standards of Excellence. Students read literary and informational text selections using high-interest novels to enhance reading fluency and comprehension. Students benefit from a guided writing process; this sequential approach allows students to move from writing well-developed sentences to paragraphs to multi-paragraph responses.
The Orton-Gillingham class, sometimes referred to as Language Development, is designed to be more remedial in nature and targets areas of language weakness. This 70-minute class provides structured, sequential instruction in encoding/decoding, writing at the sentence level, spelling accuracy, and reading fluency. As students progress, the focus on instruction shifts from phonology to focus more on morphology and vocabulary comprehension. Lower student-teacher ratios allow for more targeted instruction.
Through direct instruction, students gain a deeper understanding of math concepts and the language of math. Teachers incorporate multisensory instruction in order to solve problems using different approaches and to experience math in a hands-on manner. Instruction and assessment include the use of manipulatives and appropriate technology. The majority of students will complete middle division mathematics with a pre-algebra course.
Social Studies classes challenge students to expand their knowledge of history with a focus on learning how governments, climate, and geographic location impact the development of societies and cultures. Sixth grade content includes societies throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, Canada, Australia, and Europe. Seventh graders study societies throughout Southwest Asia, Southern and Eastern Asia and Africa. Eighth graders study the state of Georgia. These classes are designed to develop and reinforce note-taking, problem-solving, and map skills.
The science curriculum is based on the philosophy that students learn best through experimentation, exploration, manipulation, and discussion based on the fundamentals of the scientific method. Sixth through eighth graders will experience a lab-based science curriculum delivered in three courses based on content that is fundamental to higher levels of scientific study. The distinct science courses are: Life Science, Earth Science, and Physical Science.
Strong executive functioning skills support academic success.
Difficulties with these skills such as planning, organizing, executing etc. impact students at home, school, and life. Students receive instruction and support along with academics to build their skills in executive functioning. Examples include, time management, project planning, organization of materials, note-taking/research techniques etc. Additionally, every student participates in a daily advisory class where teachers directly support students in the areas named above.
Middle Division students participate in a daily exploratory class. Studio Art exposes students to the fundamental elements of two and three dimensional art forms based. Physical Education affords students the opportunity to increase their knowledge of healthy lifestyle choices through physical activity, mini health lessons, and team games. The importance of fitness is a key feature of the physical education program. Other exploratory courses, like music, drama, and foreign language explorations, enhance the whole-child learning experience.
Students have the additional benefit of a faculty advising program. Students meet daily with an assigned advisor for the purpose of engaging in social and character development, along with strengthening executive function skills. This block of time is also used for student-centered activities like student council meetings, recycle team, service learning projects, and Club Fridays. This time allows for individual student check-ins to build positive character behaviors and allow for the application of strengthening executive function skills.
Activities and Opportunities
Community service projects, athletics, and social events support whole-child development where students are encouraged to step out of their comfort zone to try something new, experience real-world problems, and lead by example.
The following activities and opportunities are part of the culture of the Middle Division:
Student Council, Recycle Team, & Service Learning projects
Field Trips & School Performances
School Assemblies & Dances
National Junior Honor Society