Middle School Course of Studies

Advisory

Mindfulness is a powerful tool that supports students in calming themselves, focusing their attention, and interacting effectively with others, all critical skills for functioning well in school and in life.  Incorporating mindfulness into education has been linked to improving academic and social and emotional learning. Also, mindfulness strengthens some underlying development processes—such as focus, resilience, and self-soothing—that will help students in the long run.  To begin the day, students will work with their teacher on mindfulness strategies.  This is also time for news and important updates in scheduling.

Math 6

This course is the first of a three-year sequence.  It is designed to provide students rich opportunities to build an understanding of important new mathematical concepts, develop fluency with key skills, and gain proficiency with the habits of mind and thinking dispositions.  This course formalizes and extends the mathematics that students previously learned in the elementary grades.  The Math 6 course covers various concepts from the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks ranging from ratios and proportional relationships, the number system, expressions and equations, geometry, and statistics and probability.  Instructional time will focus on five critical areas:  (1) connecting ratio and rate to whole number multiplication and division, and using concepts of ratio and rate to solve problems; (2) completing understanding of division of fractions and extending the notion of number to the system of rational numbers, which includes negative numbers; (3) writing, interpreting, and using expressions and equations; (4) developing understanding of statistical thinking; and (5) reasoning about geometric shapes and their measurements.  Students will apply The Standards for Mathematical Practice which complement the content standards in each unit.  Students will increasingly build their engagement with the subject matter as they grow in mathematical maturity and expertise throughout the course.  They will also build on Massachusetts’s Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) competencies in each lesson.  Students will apply The Reading Standards for Literacy which complement the content standards in each unit.  Students will use multi-sensory, hands-on manipulatives to solve problems where mathematical concepts are applied in real-world scenarios.  In order for students to meet the high academic standards and expectations, their math instruction incorporates individualized instruction, related services, supports, and accommodations to allow them access to the general mathematics curriculum. 

Math 7

This course is the second of a three-year sequence.  It is designed to provide students rich opportunities to build an understanding of important new mathematical concepts, develop fluency with key skills, and gain proficiency with the habits of mind and thinking dispositions.  This course formalizes and extends the mathematics that students previously learned in Math 6.  The Math 7 course covers various concepts from the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks ranging from ratios and proportional relationships, the number system, expressions and equations, geometry, and statistics and probability.  Instructional time will focus on four critical areas:  (1) developing understanding of and applying proportional relationships; (2) developing understanding of operations with rational numbers and working with expressions and linear equations; (3) solving problems involving scale drawings and informal geometric constructions, and working with two- and three-dimensional shapes to solve problems involving area, surface area, and volume; and (4) drawing inferences about populations based on samples.  Students will apply The Standards for Mathematical Practice which complement the content standards in each unit.  Students will increasingly build their engagement with the subject matter as they grow in mathematical maturity and expertise throughout the course.  They will also build on Massachusetts’s Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) competencies in each lesson.  Students will apply The Reading Standards for Literacy which complement the content standards in each unit.  Students will use multi-sensory, hands-on manipulatives to solve problems where mathematical concepts are applied in real-world scenarios.  In order for students to meet the high academic standards and expectations, their math instruction incorporates individualized instruction, related services, supports, and accommodations to allow them access to the general mathematics curriculum. 

Pre-Algebra

This course is the third of a three-year sequence.  It is designed to provide students rich opportunities to build an understanding of important new mathematical concepts, develop fluency with key skills, and gain proficiency with the habits of mind and thinking dispositions.  This course formalizes and extends the mathematics that students previously learned in Math 7.  The Pre-Algebra course covers various concepts from the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks ranging from the number system, expressions and equations, functions, geometry, and statistics and probability.  Instructional time will focus on three critical areas:  (1) formulating and reasoning about expressions and equations, including modeling an association in bivariate data with a linear equation and solving linear equations and systems of linear equations; (2) grasping the concept of a function and using functions to describe quantitative relationships; and (3) analyzing two- and three-dimensional space and figures using distance, angle, similarity, and congruence, and understanding and applying the Pythagorean Theorem.  Students will apply The Standards for Mathematical Practice which complement the content standards in each unit.  Students will increasingly build their engagement with the subject matter as they grow in mathematical maturity and expertise throughout the course.  They will also build on Massachusetts’s Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) competencies in each lesson.  Students will apply The Reading Standards for Literacy which complement the content standards in each unit.  Students will use multi-sensory, hands-on manipulatives to solve problems where pre-algebra concepts are applied in real-world scenarios.  In order for students to meet the high academic standards and expectations, their math instruction incorporates individualized instruction, related services, supports, and accommodations to allow them access to the general Pre-Algebra curriculum.

English 6

This course is designed to provide reading and writing instruction and practice. Many types of literature are read and studied including fiction, biographical pieces, and informational texts. Students read a variety of texts, including non-fiction, short stories, and a range of choice reading novels, all of which students read and analyze. Students will employ the process writing approach, and they will put considerable work into their revision efforts. Students study narrative, expository, and research-based writing as they work toward mastering writing strong paragraphs that include central ideas, textual evidence when appropriate, and the development of ideas. Paired conferences, small group work, student-teacher conferences, and ongoing teacher feedback are part of this process.  The English 6 course covers various concepts from the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks.  Students will also build on Massachusetts’s Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) competencies in each lesson.  Students will apply The Reading Standards for Literacy which complement the content standards in each unit.  To access the general curriculum successfully, students will be provided additional supports and services as identified in their IEPs.  These supports include instructional learning, Universal Design, instructional accommodations, and assistive technology as indicated.   Students who complete English 6 will take English 7 the following year.

English 7/8 (Odd Year)

In this course, students are encouraged to read actively, write clearly, and participate thoughtfully. Through rich discussions, detailed presentations, and thoughtful reflections, students will build upon 21st Century Skills by utilizing various technologies to enhance their learning. Students study literature from varied genres including short stories, novels, plays, poetry and non-fiction. Students learn about and practice various literary techniques, vocabulary, note-taking skills, and essay writing. Through the process writing approach students draft, edit, and revise their work. Students also participate in paired conferences, small group work, and student-teacher conferences as part of this process.  The English 7 course covers various concepts from the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks.  Students will also build on Massachusetts’s Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) competencies in each lesson.  Students will apply The Reading Standards for Literacy which complement the content standards in each unit.  To access the general curriculum successfully, students will be provided additional supports and services as identified in their IEPs.  These supports include instructional learning, Universal Design, instructional accommodations, and assistive technology as indicated.

English 7/8 (Even Year)

In this course students read, discuss, and write about literature of various genres including fiction, non-fiction, drama, and poetry. Assignments are designed to deepen and broaden the understanding of key literary terms and improve clarity of written and oral communication. Through literature students will explore important issues that are relevant to their lives, such as justice and coming of age. By the end of the year, students will improve their overall writing skills, with an emphasis on analytical writing. They will also see writing as a means of thinking through and expressing thoughts and ideas. In addition, students will continue to enrich their grammar and vocabulary skills through reading and exercises and will employ technology regularly in and out of class.  The English 8 course covers various concepts from the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks.  Students will also build on Massachusetts’s Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) competencies in each lesson.  Students will apply The Reading Standards for Literacy which complement the content standards in each unit.  To access the general curriculum successfully, students will be provided additional supports and services as identified in their IEPs.  These supports include instructional learning, Universal Design, instructional accommodations, and assistive technology as indicated. 

Ancient Civilizations and Geography 6/7 (Odd Year)

Students study regions of the world by examining physical geography, nations in the region today, and selected ancient and classical societies before 1000 CE. Regions are: Western Asia, North Africa, and the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Central America, the Caribbean, and South America. Students investigate guiding questions such as “How does geography affect societies development and interactions?” and “How have human societies differed from one another across time and regions?” The  students apply sixth grade reading, writing, speaking and listening skills.  They will learn vocabulary and concepts related to history and social sciences.  The History 6 course covers various concepts from the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks.  Students will also build on Massachusetts’s Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) competencies in each lesson.  Students will apply The Reading Standards for Literacy which complement the content standards in each unit.  To access the general curriculum successfully, students will be provided additional supports and services as identified in their IEPs.  These supports include instructional learning, Universal Design, instructional accommodations, and assistive technology as indicated.  

Ancient Civilizations and Geography 6/7 (Even Year)

This course is the second of a two-year sequence.  Students study the development of ancient and classical civilizations and physical geography of Asia, Oceania, and Europe. Students study these topics by exploring guiding questions such as, “How did the concept of self-government develop?” and “Why do empires rise and fall?” The  students apply reading, writing, speaking and listening skills.  They will learn vocabulary and concepts related to history and social sciences.  The History 6 course covers various concepts from the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks.  Students will also build on Massachusetts’s Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) competencies in each lesson.  Students will apply The Reading Standards for Literacy which complement the content standards in each unit.  To access the general curriculum successfully, students will be provided additional supports and services as identified in their IEPs.  These supports include instructional learning, Universal Design, instructional accommodations, and assistive technology as indicated.  

United States and Massachusetts Government and Civic Life

This course is designed to prepare students to have the knowledge and skills to become thoughtful and active participants in a democratic society and a complex world. Students study the roots and foundations of U.S. democracy, how and why it has developed over time, and the role of individuals in maintaining a healthy democracy. They study these topics by exploring guiding questions such as, “How have concepts of liberty and justice affected the United States democratic system of government?” and “How can power be balanced in government?” The  students apply eighth grade reading, writing, speaking and listening skills.  They will learn vocabulary and concepts related to history and social sciences.  The United States and Massachusetts Government and Civic Life course covers various concepts from the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks.  Students will also build on Massachusetts’s Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) competencies in each lesson.  Students will apply The Reading Standards for Literacy which complement the content standards in each unit.  To access the general curriculum successfully, students will be provided additional supports and services as identified in their IEPs.  These supports include instructional learning, Universal Design, instructional accommodations, and assistive technology as indicated.  

Science 6

This course is the first of a three-year sequence of courses designed to empower students to become more self-directed, curious, and accountable.  Students learn to synthesize ideas, use evidence, and demonstrate their understanding of key concepts and skills.  This course formalizes and extends the science that students previously learned in the elementary grades.  The Science 6 course covers various concepts from the Massachusetts Curriculum Standards ranging from Earth and Space Sciences, Life Science, Physical Science, and Technology and Engineering. Instructional time will focus on relevant and engaging opportunities with natural phenomena and design problems that highlight the relationship of structure and function in the world around them.  Students relate structure and function through analyzing the macro- and microscopic world, such as Earth features and processes, the roles of cells and anatomy in supporting living organisms, and properties of materials and waves.  Students will apply The Reading Standards for Literacy which complement the content standards in each unit.  Students will increasingly build their engagement with the subject matter as they grow in science maturity and expertise throughout the course.  They will also build on Massachusetts’s Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) competencies in each lesson.  Students will use multi-sensory models and provide evidence to make claims and explanations about structure-function relationships in various STE domains.  In order for students to meet the high academic standards and expectations, their science instruction incorporates individualized instruction, related services, supports, and accommodations to allow them access to the general science curriculum.  Students who complete Science 6 will take Science 7 the following year.

Science 7

This course is the second of a three-year sequence of courses designed to empower students to become more self-directed, curious, and accountable.  Students learn to synthesize ideas, use evidence, and demonstrate their understanding of key concepts and skills.  This course formalizes and extends the science that students previously learned in earlier grades.  The Science 7 course covers various concepts from the Massachusetts Curriculum Standards ranging from Earth and Space Sciences, Life Science, Physical Science, and Technology and Engineering. Instructional time will focus on systems and cycles using students’ understanding of structure and functions, connections and relationships in systems, and flow of matter and energy developed in earlier grades.  A focus on systems requires students to apply concepts and skills across disciplines, since most natural and designed systems and cycles are complex and interactive.  They gain experience with plate tectonics, interactions of humans and Earth processes, organism systems to support and propagate life, ecosystem dynamics, motion and energy systems, and key technological systems used by society. Through Science 7, students begin a process of moving from a more concrete to an abstract perspective, since many of the systems and cycles studied are not directly observable or experienced.  Students will apply The Reading Standards for Literacy which complement the content standards in each unit.  Students will increasingly build their engagement with the subject matter as they grow in science maturity and expertise throughout the course.  They will also build on Massachusetts’s Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) competencies in each lesson.  Students will use multi-sensory models and provide evidence to make claims and explanations about systems and cycles in various STE domains.  In order for students to meet the high academic standards and expectations, their science instruction incorporates individualized instruction, related services, supports, and accommodations to allow them access to the general science curriculum.  Students who complete Science 7 will take Science 8 the following year.

Science 8

This course is the third of a three-year sequence of courses designed to empower students to become more self-directed, curious, and accountable.  Students learn to synthesize ideas, use evidence, and demonstrate their understanding of key concepts and skills.  This course formalizes and extends the science that students previously learned in earlier grades.  The Science 8 course covers various concepts from the Massachusetts Curriculum Standards ranging from Earth and Space Sciences, Life Science, Physical Science, and Technology and Engineering. Instructional time will focus on students using more robust abstract thinking skills to explain causes of complex phenomena and systems. Many causes are not immediately or physically visible to students. An understanding of cause and effect of key natural phenomena and designed processes allows students to explain patterns and make predictions about future events.  In Science 8 these include, for example, causes of seasons and tides; causes of plate tectonics and weather or climate; the role of genetics in reproduction, heredity, and artificial selection; and how atoms and molecules interact to explain the substances that make up the world and how materials change. Being able to analyze phenomena for evidence of causes and processes that often cannot be seen, and being able to conceptualize and describe those, is a significant outcome for Science 8 students.  Students will apply The Reading Standards for Literacy which complement the content standards in each unit.  Students will increasingly build their engagement with the subject matter as they grow in science maturity and expertise throughout the course.  They will also build on Massachusetts’s Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) competencies in each lesson.  Students will use multi-sensory models and provide evidence to make claims and explanations about cause and effect relationships in various STE domains.  In order for students to meet the high academic standards and expectations, their science instruction incorporates individualized instruction, related services, supports, and accommodations to allow them access to the general science curriculum.  Students who complete Science 8 will take Biology I the following year.

Intervention

The Academic Skills class provides opportunities for students to address their individual education goals as well as to provide study skills strategies to help the students be successful in their curricular classes. Study skills strategies are addressed formally. The lessons –generated from brain-based research- include but are not limited to direct instruction on: learning style, time management, note-taking, outlining, test taking, study strategies and use of technology. Students apply these strategies to their daily, academic assignments. The students are assessed daily for their learning, participation, preparation, and attitude.

Physical Education and Health 6

This course provides students the opportunity to learn through a developmentally appropriate, comprehensive sequentially planned physical education program aligned with the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks related to Health and Physical Education. Students work cooperatively to achieve a common goal. The focus of this course is the development of movement skill combinations and movement skill knowledge.  A focus is also on the assessment and maintenance of physical fitness to improve health and performance, and the requisite knowledge of physical fitness concepts, principles and strategies  Students apply knowledge of psychological and sociological concepts, including responsibility, positive social interaction, and group dynamics, in the learning and performance of physical activity.  This course will also focus on educational health topics. The course will provide students with opportunities to learn more about their physical, social, emotional, and intellectual development  It will help students develop health-related refusal and decision-making skills. 

Physical Education and Health 7

This course provides students the continuing opportunity to learn through a developmentally appropriate, comprehensive sequentially planned physical education program aligned with the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks related to Health and Physical Education. In seventh grade, the content standards emphasize meeting challenges and making decisions. The focus of this course is the development of movement skill combinations and movement skill knowledge.  A focus is also on the assessment and maintenance of physical fitness to improve health and performance, and the requisite knowledge of physical fitness concepts, principles and strategies  Students apply knowledge of psychological and sociological concepts, including responsibility, positive social interaction, and group dynamics, in the learning and performance of physical activity.  This course will also focus on educational health topics. The course will provide students with opportunities to learn more about their physical, social, emotional, and intellectual development  It will help students develop health-related refusal and decision-making skills. 

Physical Education and Health 8

This course provides students the continuing opportunity to learn through a developmentally appropriate, comprehensive sequentially planned physical education program aligned with the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks related to Health and Physical Education. In eighth grade, the content standards emphasize working as a team to solve problems. The focus of this course is the application of movement skills and knowledge including defensive and offensive strategies.  Student will apply those skills to team physical activities, gymnastics and tumbling, and square dancing.  Students will also focus on the assessment and maintenance of physical fitness to improve health and performance.  The requisite knowledge of physical fitness concepts, principles and strategies to improve health and performance is applied in each unit.  Students apply their knowledge to psychological and sociological concepts, including self-responsibility, positive social interaction, and group dynamics, in the learning and performance of physical activity.  This course builds upon the health curriculum to assist students with improving the skills necessary to resist initiation of alcohol, tobacco, and drug use behaviors. Other health curriculum topics during these years will include: nutrition education, AIDS/HIV education, and participation in the human sexuality seminar program.

Vocational Intro 6

Students participate in the work experiences (generally within the school). The goal of these experiences is to develop the universal skills required for almost all workers. Focus areas include attendance and punctuality, following directions, communicating work related issues/concerns, developing effective working relationships with co-workers, developing specific job skill acquisition, demonstrating increased independence in completing work tasks. Work experiences are based on student interest whenever possible.  Evaluations on work performance are completed by the job coach. Self-assessments are completed by the student.

Signal Success

With Signal Success, students develop important non-cognitive skills, explore careers and future planning, and build the skills and assets to compete for jobs and internships. The curriculum spirals through these three major content domains to allow students multiple chances to practice skills and deepen understanding. All lessons are designed to engage students with a multi-modal approach and strong emphasis on the application of skills and concepts. Students are introduced to new concepts through short case study style readings and activities and then guided through applying these concepts to their own context. The curriculum includes a variety of assessment tools including competency-based portfolio measures, daily reflection options, summative reflection tasks, and survey tools for students and instructors.  Students will apply The Common Core College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards, Massachusetts’s Career Development Education Benchmarks, and the Massachusetts’s Career/Vocational Technical Education Frameworks which complement the content standards in each unit.  Students will increasingly build their engagement with the subject matter as they grow in maturity and expertise throughout the course.  They will also build on Massachusetts’s Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) competencies in each lesson.  In order for students to meet the high academic standards and expectations, their vocational instruction incorporates individualized instruction, related services, supports, and accommodations to allow them access to the general curriculum.

Find, Get, Keep

Each student’s job experience and goals are individually tailored to address identified transition goals. Students are matched with work experiences as opportunities allow. Vocational experience builds upon the basic work skills developed in pre-vocational job training.  Students are supported in community internships by job coaches. Community internships allow for increased job independence and decreased direct supervision. Evaluations on work performance are completed daily by the job coach. Self-assessments/reflections are completed by the student and reviewed with the job coach and teacher.  During this course students will be actively seeking job placements both on campus and off campus.

Social and Emotional Learning 6

This course is designed to improve the social, emotional, and academic skills of students and create supportive relationships among students and between students and their teachers.  The curriculum is built upon five social and emotional competency areas:  social awareness, self-awareness, self-management, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.  These competencies are identified by research as critical to the healthy development of children and adolescents and their success in school.  Students will learn a variety of social and emotional competencies through various modules in the curriculum such as  creating a supportive learning community.  Implementing SEL practices provides a strong foundation for creating a safe and supportive learning environment where all students can succeed. It promotes positive outcomes in social and emotional learning as well as academic areas.  Students will increasingly build their engagement with the subject matter as they grow in maturity and expertise throughout the course.  In order for students to meet the high academic standards and expectations, their social and emotional instruction incorporates individualized instruction, related services, supports, and accommodations to allow them access to the general curriculum.

Social and Emotional Learning 7

This course is designed to improve the social, emotional, and academic skills of students and create supportive relationships among students and between students and their teachers.  The curriculum is built upon five social and emotional competency areas:  social awareness, self-awareness, self-management, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.  These competencies are identified by research as critical to the healthy development of children and adolescents and their success in school.  Students will learn a variety of social and emotional competencies through various modules in the curriculum such as  creating a supportive learning community.  Implementing SEL practices provides a strong foundation for creating a safe and supportive learning environment where all students can succeed. It promotes positive outcomes in social and emotional learning as well as academic areas.  Students will increasingly build their engagement with the subject matter as they grow in maturity and expertise throughout the course.  In order for students to meet the high academic standards and expectations, their social and emotional instruction incorporates individualized instruction, related services, supports, and accommodations to allow them access to the general curriculum.

Social and Emotional Learning 8

This course is designed to improve the social, emotional, and academic skills of students and create supportive relationships among students and between students and their teachers.  The curriculum is built upon five social and emotional competency areas:  social awareness, self-awareness, self-management, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.  These competencies are identified by research as critical to the healthy development of children and adolescents and their success in school.  Students will learn a variety of social and emotional competencies through various modules in the curriculum such as developing self-awareness and self-management.  Implementing SEL practices provides a strong foundation for creating a safe and supportive learning environment where all students can succeed. It promotes positive outcomes in social and emotional learning as well as academic areas.  Students will increasingly build their engagement with the subject matter as they grow in maturity and expertise throughout the course.  In order for students to meet the high academic standards and expectations, their social and emotional instruction incorporates individualized instruction, related services, supports, and accommodations to allow them access to the general curriculum.

SEL Teambuilder

Team building allows students to work together in social situations just as they would in the classroom, their daily lives, or down the road in the workplace. How often are they challenged with a task to do with others where they don’t know how to work in these situations? Team building challenges students to problem solve and execute working with others. It shows them how to be accountable.  As the groups progress through the day the activities are tailored to specifically help individuals achieve some goals with the group. Team building allows students to develop stronger relationships and trust among each other. Certain activities can be designed to improve communication and limit conflict in a group.  Team building often consists of two parts for each challenge or activity. There is the initial activity and then afterwards is time for reflection. This is a time where students truly show how much they’ve learned and how far they’ve grown.  Through many different games and activities, students are able to build and develop many different skills that they may not have been able to elsewhere. It is a great time for new experiences and new challenges.

Clinical Groups

Students participate in weekly counseling groups co-led by clinicians and teachers to foster skill improvement, social connections, and communication. Group content will vary with topics that serve the current student population. Clinical groups also include instruction in coping skills, such as mindfulness techniques, to decrease student anxiety and promote attention and focus.

Community Meeting

Restorative Practices build community and can help set things right when the integrity of the community is challenged by harmful behaviors. When people come together for restorative interactions they sit in circles. Circle dialogue is a fundamental element of restorative dialogue. Classroom circles support the two main goals of restorative practices: building community; and responding to harms through dialogue that sets things right.  Restorative practices cultivate a culture in which everyone feels like they belong. They build a particular sense of community in which every member--students, teacher and staff members --feel that they are seen, heard, and respected.

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Clifford Academy

  399 Lincoln Rd, Walpole, MA 02081

  Phone: (508) 668-7703
  Fax: (508) 660-9639
  Email: cliffordacademy@thehome.org

  PRINCIPAL: Rene Dickhaut

Clifford Academy is a relationship-centered learning community where students, staff, families and community members work collaboratively to develop every student’s academic, social, emotional, physical and ethical potential in a caring and safe environment.