Educational Excellence, Community, Diversity

Middle School Program

Starting in 6th grade, core classes will use BLOCK SCHEDULING, which means classes are an hour and a half three times a week rather than a 50 minute class every day. Block Scheduling allows students to go deeper into subject areas and is ideal for a constructivist learning environment.

Classes use a TEACHER-CREATED CURRICULUM, rather than a scripted curriculum. This requires more work on the teachers' part, but is far more interesting, challenging, and individualized to student interests. Primary sources and great literature is used in addition to textbooks. Teachers  utilize PROBLEM-BASED LEARNING, a student-centered approach that supports students in pursuing understanding independently as they solve problems and answer their own questions.

The City School is uniquely designed to serve the needs of various learning styles through our experiential curriculum. Block schedules offer kids opportunities to spend time working in groups, in addition to individual learning, allowing teachers to float and offer additional support. Our educational founders and administration includes experts in special education and parents of different learners who are personally and professionally committed to serving the needs of different learners.

LANGUAGE ARTS is taught as a seminar, with a strong emphasis on writing, debating, and making an argument.

MATHEMATICS is offered in a constructivist learning environment that allow students to work in groups as well as independently ensuring that they are all challenged and supported.

The HISTORY & SOCIAL STUDIES program at The City School will use the History Alive! curricular resources. Additional primary and secondary resources are chosen by faculty to support student investigations into multiple perspectives on historical events and concepts. Assessments include traditional unit quizzes and tests as well as homework assignments, essays, research papers, presentations, and long-term projects. Teachers use the Socratic method of seminar-like class structures and in-class investigations to take note of student understanding, using class experiences as formative assessments.

The City School adopted the middle school SCIENCE PROGRAM developed at the Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California, Berkeley. This curriculum, known as the Science Education for Public Understanding Program (SEPUP) provides hands-on investigations, laboratory experiences, and projects. It also lends itself to traditional, quantitative assessments in the form of tests and quizzes. Teachers use a variety of pedagogical methods and assessments to develop conceptual understanding in all students.

The City School incorporates  BLENDED LEARNING, the thoughtful, targeted use of technology, into the curriculum. Blended Learning uses subscription-based assessment tools and learning games in order to merge traditional teaching with technology. City partners with leaders in this field, many of whom are in California. Starting in 6th grade, every child will take a foreign language. Foreign language instruction will incorporate this blended learning approach, providing students the opportunity to learn language while utilizing various modalities.

City School students value personal integrity and community responsibility. Our Community Practices of Compassion and Mindfulness - encompassing Respect, Integrity, Service, Excellence, Unity, and Participation (RISEUP) - are evident in all aspects of school life, and are explicitly nurtured through our ADVISORY PROGRAM. A daily class, 'Advisory' guides students in cultivating close connections with peers and Advisors, and developing skills in organization, study habits, public speaking, conflict resolution, self-advocacy, and decision-making. Additionally, each Advisory is responsible for monthly school service and community service jobs.