The Design of the Middle School Curriculum
Our Middle School philosophy of education is put into practice by organizing the curriculum around the following principles:
- a holistic view of education through which we aim to develop a well-balanced person with artistic, intellectual, physical and social skills;
- an interdisciplinary perspective which emphasizes the link between the subjects at each grade level;
- an intercultural awareness that leads students to value people’s differences;
- a greater emphasis upon mastery of life-long learning skills, such as research and communication skills, rather than on mastery of a pre-ordained body of knowledge; and
- the complete integration of information technology skills into the academic program.
Instruction is organized by the following subjects:
We strive above all in the MS English Language Arts Program to help students see and feel the impact of reading and writing in their lives. Students who read and write well have a better understanding of themselves and others and are more likely to have richer lives. Through careful reading, students explore the human condition in the stories they encounter; appreciate the value of literature; and learn the intrinsic value of reading. By writing regularly, students develop a distinctive voice and the ability to communicate thoughts and feelings clearly and powerfully. More broadly, we aim to nurture independent and critical thinkers who can skillfully take in and evaluate new information; formulate original responses; and convincingly articulate their ideas through both the spoken and written word. The MS program is modeled upon Columbia University Teachers’ College Reading and Writing Workshop Model.
ASP promotes a love of the French language through authentic learning experiences. By using France and Paris as a resource center, students connect with the community around them, becoming global citizens and deepening their multicultural understanding. They are enrolled in a language class appropriate to their proficiency level (from novice to francophone) and develop as readers, writers, listeners, speakers as well as critical thinkers.
Our aim is for all students to understand and appreciate mathematics; to become proficient problem solvers; and to make mathematical connections with the world around them. Fluency in doing mathematics is essential because it is the language of patterns and problem solving. We see mathematics as beautiful and powerful in its logic. .Our approach to mathematics education is grounded in the Common Core State Standards for Math Practice with their emphasis on active learning with a problem-solving focus. Students, as mathematicians, will justify their reasoning and critique each other’s reasoning while making use of tools and models as illustrations of quantitative thinking processes. Learning mathematics requires perseverance, effort, and a commitment to excellence. It also involves wondering, exploring, creating, and reflecting.
The goal of the Physical Education Department of the American School of Paris is to ensure that students have the necessary skills and passion for lifelong fitness, physical activity and personal development to establish healthy choices and lifestyles. Every activity has equal value regardless of level or popularity. We believe that learning occurs best when all students can play, be creative and have a positive experience in games and activities.
In science, we strive to foster the innate curiosity of students as they develop the skills and knowledge necessary to understand the natural world. We act on the understanding that students learn best through “hands-on, minds-on” science with real-world applications. The various branches of science are experienced as interrelated and constantly evolving. It is our goal that students will leave ASP as scientists and problem solvers who act responsibly in society.
The social studies program at the American School of Paris aims for students to enhance their personal and social awareness by cultivating knowledge, understandings, values, and skills needed to participate actively in their community and the world at large. The advancement of human well-being depends upon informed, engaged, and active citizens who understand the interconnectedness of our world and their role in bettering it. Studying Social Studies will inspire students to grapple with the questions: How did this world come to be? What are the ideas, skills and tools that help us understand our world? How can we use our understandings to make a difference in the world in which we live?
In the academic subject areas, our curriculum is designed to meet the standards currently established by the most demanding state and professional organizations in the United States, as well as preparing students for the option of the International Baccalaureate Diploma program.
Technology skills and digital citizenship expectations are seamlessly integrated in all facets of the curriculum. Students are expected to demonstrate a sound understanding of digital media to communicate and work collaboratively, locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources with creative thinking.
Students also think and reflect about the choices they make in the cyber world, themes include: safety, behavior, balance and the possibilities of technology. Students will also learn about the care and maintenance of their laptop computers. Please refer to the link: The ASP Middle School Laptop Program Handbook.
Our Elective Program
Our class schedule is organized into 8 blocks that occur over the course of two days. Two of those blocks are dedicated to our electives. In Middle School, it is vital that our students have the opportunity to choose areas of interest and dive into developing their passions. Our elective course descriptions are linked in the sidebar button.
Arts at ASP
Our aim as arts educators is to develop and implement comprehensive, creative, innovative music, theatre, film and visual art programs. Such programs will equip students to think like artists, and will establish in them lifelong artistic dispositions as bold, sensitive creators, thoughtful, informed appreciators and enthusiastic, active supporters of the arts.
The purpose of music education is to empower students to be independent musicians and to engage them in the cognitive, physical, social and emotional experiences of a rich and diverse musical life. Music is a unique personal and universal language of human expression, linking our past to the present, bridging cultural divides and geographical distance while fostering global understanding and awareness. Music offers extraordinary individual and collective opportunities for self-reflection, self-discipline, personal growth and depth of enjoyment. Inherently worthy and valuable in its own right, music is a dynamic educational medium that enables students to embrace the rich nuances of creativity, artistry and aesthetic appreciation.
Through the study of theater, students become aware of their own personal and cultural perspectives, developing an appreciation of the diversity of theatre practices and their processes. The course enables students to discover and engage with different forms of theatre across time, place and culture. Theater offers the opportunity to engage actively in the creative process, transforming ideas into action as inquisitive and productive artists. The course emphasizes the importance of working both individually and collaboratively as part of an ensemble.
Fosters appreciation, understanding and respect for the arts by providing inspirational opportunities of visual expression, while developing artistic skill and aesthetic fluency. The visual arts inspire and prepare students to connect personal, academic and social goals which are at the heart of the ASP mission. We promote, foster and celebrate the human spirit to create.
Service and Experiential Learning
Service Learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility and strengthen communities.
Students engage in service learning through our advisory program and student council. In addition, we offer Global Citizenship and 21st Century Leadership as two electives classes that develop service learning projects.
Experiential learning is learning through reflection on doing. The focus is the learning process for the individual learner.
Service Learning in the Middle School
- is student centered learning that changes both the recipient and the provider of the service.
- builds authentic partnerships that serve the school, local or global community.
- brings students, teachers, administrators and parents together to develop understanding and respect for differences.
- cultivates awareness of self in relation to social inequities through reflection and active service with a community.
Service Projects Supported by the Middle School
Jyoti School, India
For the last 14 years ASP students have been traveling to Rishikesh, India, and providing financial support for the Jyoti Special School. The Jyoti School is special as it provides education for children and adults with mental and physical handicaps up to the age of 30 years old.
To raise money for this project, the Middle School Student Council created a day called the "MS Walkathon" where students walk/run a 4K course through Parc de Saint Cloud. The students involved in this event seek sponsorship from friends and family for each kilometer they complete. In previous years, with the money raised from the Walkathon, ASP has been able to fund the following:
- Multi Purpose Room
- AND - various teaching tools that the Jyoti School so desperately needed
For the last 10 years around American Thanksgiving time, ASP students have been collecting non-perishable food items for needy families in the greater Paris area. Each year, more than 1000 cans of food are collected thanks to the hard work of our students and the generosity of our ASP families.
This initiative, founded by French comedian Coluche in 1985, operates houses all over France and in other European countries, providing people below the poverty line with meals and accommodation.
In an experiential learning environment, the learner is actively involved in the experience, is able to reflect on his or her experience of "doing", uses the necessary analytical skills to understand and internalize the experience and the decision making and problem-solving skills needed in order to use the new ideas gained from and during the experience.
This complete process allows our students to learn new skills, new attitudes or even entirely new ways of thinking.
- Outward Bound (Grades 7 & 8)
- Savoie Trip (Grade 6)
An effective advisory program promotes responsible individual development and supports successful personal and community growth. It provides students with opportunities to safely explore issues with a caring adult.
Advisory plays an important role in helping students create and actively engage the school community. All students are welcomed into small advisory groups in which they have support for flourishing socially, culturally, and linguistically. Students will benefit from this environment in which to explore and challenge themselves.
Within the advisory program, students engage in small group activities and discussions, whole grade activities and annual field trips. Furthermore, students engage in cross-curricular academic advising with their advisor at regular intervals throughout the year.
Topics such as organizational skills, time management, self-advocacy and independence, peer pressure, bullying, self-concept, relationships, multiculturalism, and community service are explored and put into practice within the advisory sessions.
Our advisory program is driven by a set of Core Values that we have adopted in the Middle School.We are a committed to creating a community of learners who are:
As Middle Schoolers grow so rapidly, both physically and emotionally, they are likely to explore a variety of different roles and to question: Who am I? There is a gradual transition from being my parents’ child to being Me. Hence, Advisory aims to guide students in taking on genuine roles that are both healthy and fulfilling.
Part of the process of developing a clearer identity may involve a degree of doubt or uncertainty. The program aims to support the student in developing a positive self-concept. One way this is done is by assisting students in learning to identify their talents and abilities.
Another part of this process is answering the question: What do I believe in? Advisory assists students in understanding their personal values and in developing a better understanding of ethical norms. Much of this education will focus on the seven core values that we follow as a Middle School.
School Culture and Academic Success
What does it take to be a successful student at ASP? This is a key concern for every student, particularly if one is new to the school. Advisory aims to provide the guidance students need in order to succeed.
An important part of being a successful student is becoming organized: using the Agenda and Haiku effectively, organizing a locker, and learning to manage time well. In addition, students are made aware of the responsibilities the school gives them, such as making up for missed work during an absence.
Success also involves knowing your strengths and weaknesses as a learner, your own learning style and ‘what works for you’.
Advisory also involves conferencing with each student to discuss teacher evaluations such as Progress Reports and Report Cards. Students also work with their advisors in preparing for their Student Led Conferences. In addition, it is a place where students engage in reflection and self- evaluation, along with setting goals for the next term.