Robot petting zoo in middle school 2019
Middle School
MS Students experiential learning trip to the great wall
Middle School
MSSportsDay.jpg

 

At ISB, Middle School is a time for exploration and personal development as well as for the formation of healthy academic habits. We believe in strengthening students as well-rounded members of the community who learn through collaborative study and service in a caring environment with enough flexibility for them to experiment and tailor their learning. ISB Middle School students pursue their interests and learn in a way that is relevant to them. 

Many of our core subjects are divided into theme-based units, which allows students to engage with elements that spark their imagination. In other subjects, students can evaluate their academic performance and choose a track that will challenge them at an appropriate level. With a high degree of project-based learning and integration across disciplines in the Middle School, our educators work together in small teams to monitor student progress and ensure academic differentiation in accordance with individual ability.

1 : 1 MacBook program

+3 hours of Chinese taught each week

1:8.5 student to teacher ratio

+100 enrichments offered

+65 field trips/experiential opportunities

1.3 hours of mentoring each week

Every Middle School student will experience new activities and discover their passions. Each quarter, they can choose an interest to pursue or academic group to take part in during their Enrichment periods. All students in the Middle School have the opportunity to be part of a sports team or performing arts group during after-school activities,"..to provide students with the opportunity to explore learning experiences without the formality of an assessed curriculum..." which emphasize inclusiveness and teamwork.


We offer a number of leadership opportunities to students through clubs and other activities, and our Student Council plays an active role in the Middle School, bringing the community together to raise funds for charitable organizations and host events.

Near the beginning of the academic year, our Middle School students venture off campus to explore China and get to know their peer group. These learning experiences are designed for team building; they help students to form strong relationships, build resilience and learn how to work well with one another. Our Mentoring classes provide an important setting for developing healthy relationships and a sense of identity aligned with ISB’s Core Values.

ISB’s Whole Child approach values young learners’ physical and social-emotional health along with their academic performance. We focus on students’ overall well-being and want them to have a keen sense of responsibility for themselves and their community.

MS Office 2018
Counseling

The mission and goal of the MS Counseling Department is to meet the developmental needs of adolescents with an array of appropriate counseling services. Our goals are to help students adjust to life in the Middle School, to facilitate the development of social strategies as well as problem-solving skills, and to help students become holistic learners within and outside of school.

Our counseling team works with students and their parents to ensure a smooth transition to Middle School and ongoing success. They work closely with all Middle School teachers to provide classroom guidance lessons which are embedded in the scheduled mentoring sessions throughout the school year.

 

ISB Futures Academy

The Middle School offers an optional program - ISB Futures Academy (ISBFA). This is an educational model designed to inspire creativity, develop problem-solving skills and effective communication, and encourage flexibility and cooperation. The model facilitates learning opportunities and experiences that cultivate these transferable skills and aims to empower students to take ownership of their learning.
 

Connecting Students to their Interests

We believe in encouraging students to pursue their interests and passions to facilitate their deeper engagement with learning. Students who are more connected to their learning gain a deeper understanding of the subject matter, and have a greater ability to retain and apply knowledge.

Student Experiences

ISB believes that students should engage in various types of learning experiences. ISB Futures Academy student experiences include classroom learning, project-based learning, design projects, experiential learning opportunities, fieldwork in local communities, and online collaboration with experts and professionals such as architects, artists, musicians, and engineers. Each student's experience within the ISB Futures Academy is dependent upon the scope of the project-based learning opportunity, the availability of the guest experts and professionals, and the student's learning schedule. Students meet regularly with their facilitators to ensure that learning is rich in authenticity and academic content.

ISBMSFA

Project-based Learning

ISBFA

Design Thinking

ISBMSFA

Engineered Learning

Middle School Futures Academy (MSFA)

Students in the MS Futures Academy gain understanding through integrated, multidisciplinary learning experiences that are designed and guided by ISB Futures Academy facilitators. In the Middle School, the subject areas regularly integrated are English language arts, social studies, and science. Additionally, in the MS Futures Academy, some projects also integrate design, math, art, music and/or drama when relevant.

Drawing from a variety of frameworks, including project-based learning and design thinking, facilitators engineer learning opportunities that enable students to generate ideas, plan, design, fine-tune, present, and reflect on their work. Within the scope of a project, students have ample opportunities for voice and choice, to express their interests, and communicate their findings in a way that is engaging and meaningful to them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should my child enroll?

The ISB Futures Academy is designed to engage students in projects that integrate different subject areas in a meaningful way. Facilitators design projects that mirror real-world dilemmas and offer opportunities to:

  • collaborate
  • address real-world issues (e.g. Capstone project)
  • work in the field
  • work with experts
  • gain independence through gradual release; for example, the level of voice and choice increases from grade 7 to 8 to allow more independence
  • students are challenged to grow as independent learners, while also developing skills and capacity in L21 areas
  • pursue passions and interests through three 'Ignite'* experience weeks
  • be a member of a great community

*Ignite weeks – three times per year, off schedule. Combined grade 7 and 8 (six-seven project choices per theme week. Themes: Make It, Express It, Personalize It ). Unique way to "upskill," build community, and discover new interests.

What does a typical day look like in ISBFA? How is the schedule flexible?

Students have a facilitator-designed, flexible schedule that is tailored to the needs of each project. A key component of the Middle School schedule is the integrated project block, in which students complete learning objectives from humanities, science, and sometimes design technology and math, to help them understand the essential question of the project.

Aside from integrated work time, students in the MS Futures Academy also have some discrete academic blocks in their schedule to ensure all standards are being met. Specifically, students have math class every other day, just like students in the ISB program. At times, other blocks are also used for additional humanities instructional time. During some projects, students have a flex-block so they can start to gain skills around setting their own work goals for a segment of time.

For some projects, students in the MS Futures Academy will be offered an art, music, or drama block within their FA schedule as another integration lens for their project work.

Students in the MS Futures Academy attend PE, world languages, and Enrichment blocks outside of FA to join other Middle School students at ISB.

How are ISBFA students included in the broader ISB community?

MS Futures Academy students are part of our Middle School and have many opportunities to integrate and interact with their peers. These opportunities include Enrichments, where students can sign up for courses according to their interests; lunchtimes when students are on campus; after-school activities and co-curricular programs; as well as participating in grade-level team mentoring trips. These activities are built into each student's flexible schedule.

How do facilitators ensure that all necessary academic content is covered?

Students in the ISB Futures Academy acquire the same knowledge and skills to meet the same standards for learning as their peers in the ISB program. However, the ISBFA program alters the timing and pacing of when standards are addressed, to best fit the aims of the program.

Facilitators design learning experiences to provide a natural and logical acquisition of content within the project experience. When academic content is best delivered outside the scope of a project, the content is taught explicitly by the appropriate facilitator or acquired through online resources during skill-building blocks, or periods of time built into the students' flexible schedules. Skill-building blocks allow for differentiated teaching opportunities, allowing individual students to extend learning or acquire new skills. Facilitators can also re-teach content based on each learner's needs during these blocks.

Do ISBFA students participate in specialist classes? In particular, World Languages, Physical Education, Art, Music etc.?

Yes – students enroll with the broader ISB Middle School community for physical education classes, world languages, and Enrichments.

Facilitators develop projects to include specialist subjects, such as design, art, and music in an integrated manner. ISB Futures Academy students also have a very unique experience – the three 'Ignite' weeks, which due to each theme, bring in various experts to offer a range of project choices for each week.

In addition, MS Futures Academy students can continue to experience art, music, and physical activity through Enrichments, after-school activities, and co-curricular programs as a part of their flexible schedule.

How does math instruction work in ISB Futures Academy?

Students have a targeted math block every other day. Additionally, in some projects, math is integrated into their work. 

The amount of math offered in ISBFA is the same amount of instructional time as the ISB program. Furthermore, students in grade 8 FA are offered both math streams – Math 8 and Algebra – the same as the ISB program. 

How do you assess learning in ISB Futures Academy?

Students are assessed against the grades 7-8 ISB curriculum standards that apply to their projects. The MS Futures Academy model embraces a coaching model, and values constant feedback to ensure students meet the standards. In addition, L21 is of special significance in the MS Futures Academy program and therefore is also reported on at the end of each project. Lastly, the MS Futures Academy features comprehensive reporting at the end of each project, with both student and facilitator comments. 

Can a student who participates in ISB Futures Academy choose to leave the academy but stay at ISB?

The ISB Futures Academy represents the implementation of initiatives in the school's Strategic Plan. It encompasses the same standards (knowledge), the same curriculum framework (L21), and the same student learning expectations applied to all students in all grades. Therefore, students can join or opt out of the ISB Futures Academy on an annual basis. However, students are not encouraged to move in and out of this education model, as the maximum benefit from the Academy is the cumulative experiences for students. If students do not enroll in the whole four-year program, we recommend that students pursue the ISB Futures Academy for at least a two-year duration.

Are students able to transfer to other schools if they have been involved in ISB Futures Academy?

FA students and non-FA students will be equally able to transfer to other schools due to similarities in reporting and transcripts between all programs of study at ISB. 

In the MSFA, students receive a report card that is very similar to the Middle School ISB community. It reports out on different courses separately (math, science, humanities) and can be easily used when applying for other schools. 

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