Our middle school includes the same individualized academic, social, emotional, behavioral, and therapeutic attention that our elementary program provides. Middle school students additionally receive transitional and social skills needed to succeed in a larger school environment.
Porter Middle School Curriculum
Our middle school classroom is limited to 14 students and has two teachers. While all of our students may not be working on a level that would allow them to enter a traditional middle school, Porter Academy middle school provides the social aspects of a middle school and raises the bar regarding independence while providing each student the opportunity to work on an academic level appropriate to his/her current abilities.
Ms. Schultz specializes in teaching Decoding/Encoding to our middle school students. She is certified in and uses the Wilson Reading System which is a directly taught, multisensory phonetic approach based on Orton-Gullingham.
Encoding (a.k.a., spelling): Students are given words to learn every week off of a high frequency word list. Their spelling test consists of not only writing the learned words but also applying phonetic knowledge learned during the week to write new words. There is no studying or memorizing these words. By applying learned knowledge we are not teaching the students how to spell specific words but to spell whole banks of words.
Those students with extreme reading deficits also use the SRA Decoding Series to improve their accuracy and fluency. The Continental Press Reading for Comprehension series is used with ALL middle school students. In this series the students learn to read high interest stories and answer both multiple choice questions and essay questions. They are taught strategies for getting the information out of a story.
Our goal in this class is to help students develop a true enjoyment of reading and confidence in their reading abilities. Students are introduced to a variety genres including the classics, poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. While reading, we work to develop word recognition, vocabulary skills, reading fluency, and reading comprehension. Open classroom discussions about what we have read facilitates critical thinking and confident expression of one's own ideas within a safe environment. Book reports are an essential part of the reading program. They include a written portion, visual portion, and a presentation.
Writing is an excellent tool to express ones thoughts and feelings, and as such, is very engaging for our students. Our approach begins with having students get their thoughts out in the form of a "sloppy copy", in which students do not need to worry about spelling and grammar. At this point, we help students to proofread and edit their own work. During this process, they improve their vocabulary, dictionary use, spelling, sentence structure, punctuation, sequencing, and organization. This approach allows students to overcome anxieties associated with writing and truly enjoy writing and feel pride in their work.
Our major goal when teaching math is to teach math concepts so the students understand why they are doing something a certain way. The final answer is not emphasized as much as the process they used to get there. Many of our students do not understand the “language” of math well enough to know how to approach a real life problem that uses math. We want them to understand the path they need to take and WHY. We also work to ensure all our students know practical math knowledge such as relations between measuring units (e.g., inches per foot, seconds per minute)
Math Programs Used: Saxon, Evan-Moor
Our science curriculum is based on the State of Georgia's Academic Standards. Each unit is broken down to fit the needs of our students. We have foudn that using a multi-faceted, hands-on approach allows our students to understand scientific concepts while having fun and interacting with teachers and peers. Classroom materials consist of high-interest text books, teacher created materials, and internet resources. Students are also assigned projects to work on at home and present to the class. This provides an opportunity for students to work independently and to develop their creativity, critical thinking, and public speaking skills.
Each day, students bring in information about a current event and report to the class. Students learn about U.S. History and government through text books, classroom discussion, papers, and projects. Students also learn about career opportunities and begin to consider where their strengths and passions point them.
The last period of each day is reserved as a study hall during which students work on their homework/projects and have teachers available to help as needed.
Monday through Thursday are heavy on structured academics. Fridays start off with tests on the material they learned that week, but the rest of the day is more flexible. There is a lot of collaboration from students and a lot of creative, hands-on activities.
Middle School students receive group Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Music Therapy, Art, PE, Drama, Sign Language, Library, and Computer Lab. Guest speakers come speak to our Middle School to supplement things they are learning in class as well. Students go on academic field trips at least twice per year to supplement what they are learning in school.