Middle School Program Overview
The Middle School's three-year course of study seeks to empower students to take responsibility for their own learning and to help them recognize and develop their strengths. This division's program model, curriculum, assessment philosophy, daily schedule, and of course, its teachers, all combine to create the very best Middle School experience.
All students take eight classes and belong to an advisory group. Students are assigned all of their classes by the school, with the exception of World Language, Arts and Ensembles, and Extensions, which are student/family choice. All courses are yearlong except for Foundations and Extensions which are a trimester or half-trimester long.
The following are requirements in grades six through eight:
|Social Studies||3 years|
|World Language (French, Mandarin Chinese, or Spanish)||3 years|
|Physical Education||3 years|
|Arts and Ensembles||3 years|
|Foundations (sixth-grade electives)||1 years|
|Extensions (seventh- and eighth-grade electives) ||2 years|
The Middle School runs on a seven-day rotating block schedule. Each day consists of five blocks, called "hours."
|8:00 - 8:15||Arrival|
|8:15 - 9:15||First Hour|
|9:15 - 9:55||Lion Time: Arts and Ensembles, Assemblies, Advisories|
|9:55 - 10:10||Break|
|10:10 - 11:10||Second Hour|
|11:10 - 12:10||Third Hour|
|12:10 - 12:50||Lunch|
|12:50 - 1:50||Fourth Hour|
|1:50 - 2:20||Advisory Study Hall/Connections|
|2:20 - 3:20||Fifth Hour|
Rowland Hall Middle School utilizes Mission-Based Grading to report holistically on students’ development as learners. Students earn three grades per class in categories derived from our Rowland Hall mission statement: academic mastery, productivity, and contributions. Students' grades will take the form of the following descriptors based on a rubric developed by Rowland Hall teachers and administrators:
- 4 E - Exceeding Expectations
- 3 M - Meeting Expectations
- 2 A - Approaching Expectations
- 1 U - Unsatisfactory
Grades are based on a leveled 1-to-4 scale, with a Level 3 representing a student meeting our high Rowland Hall expectations. Students may earn grades at the half level (i.e. 2.5 “A+”, 3.5 “M+”) as a way to communicate growth within a performance level. In order to communicate performance trends and growth throughout the grading period, a running average of all assessments can be found in Canvas. In addition, students will receive two progress reports throughout the year, in October and March. These progress reports will contain narrative comments written by your child’s teachers about their progress in all three grading categories. Parent/teacher conferences are scheduled following the narrative comments to further the dialogue. Students will receive report cards at the end of every trimester that will list their summative grades for the term.
In extreme situations in which a student is unable to complete assigned work due to circumstances beyond her or his control, Rowland Hall may create alternative grading policies to support the student. These alternative grading plans will be created by the academic and emotional support team and approved by the principal.
Read our Mission-Based Grading Rubric for details.
The Middle School believes that adolescents need to develop and maintain a healthy balance in their personal lives with their academic pursuits and extracurricular and leisure activities, and also spend quality time with their families; therefore, the grade-level teaching teams work together to make sure that homework is purposeful and gives students an opportunity to develop content knowledge, skills, study habits, and time management. Parents can support their child by supporting productive habits and engaging in dialogue about their progress and learning.
We suggest that students utilize the following strategies to support their learning:
- Check in with your parents approximately once per week to walk them through your assignments, grades, and learning.
- Utilize the Rowland Hall planner (or an equivalent of your choice) to record upcoming assignments and relevant details.
- Create a nightly to-do list comprised of notes from your planner and assignment details from Canvas (and cross items off the list as you progress!).
- Consider what is due the following day as well as upcoming assignments.
- Complete homework in a distraction-free public space within the home (i.e. kitchen table).
- “Chunk” homework with short breaks (i.e. 30 minutes of quality work time followed by a 10-minute break).
- Break long-term assignments and projects into a series of step-by-step tasks with self-designated “due dates.”
Generally, sixth-grade students will have one hour or less of nightly homework, and seventh- and eighth-grade students can expect 90 minutes or less of nightly homework. Occasionally there may be exceptions to these time limits, but if students follow the long-term assignment guidelines that teachers recommend, they should be able to maintain a manageable homework schedule. Students may be given a day’s homework over weekends, including long weekends, and students might use weekends to complete projects and long-term assignments. No homework is given over our five breaks: Fall, Thanksgiving, December, February, and April.
Policies for accepting late work vary by teacher; however, students whose absences are excused will be given extra time to make up work. Please read Religious and School Holidays Policies for details.
Parent/teacher conferences are scheduled in October and March, during which 10-minute slots are allotted for discussion with each requested teacher and/or administrator. We ask that all parents attend these conferences and do not schedule family vacations during these times. Rescheduling conferences creates a burden on teachers. Our teachers and the principal are very responsive to questions and concerns communicated by email or telephone at any time.
Teachers are available to work with students during study hall and after school from 3:10 pm to 3:45 pm.
The Academic Dean assists students with recognized learning differences, working closely with families, teachers, and advisors to make the Rowland Hall curriculum accessible to them. The Social-Emotional Support Counselor assists students with social and/or emotional needs. Support may include brief one-on-one counseling, parent education, crisis management, and/or referrals for outside services. When extra support is indicated for a student, we develop and implement a support plan with the student, family, and the support team. The family may be asked to provide additional support services as needed to help the student achieve academic and social success at school.