Middle School | Grades 6 - 8
CDS Middle School provides a bridge for children in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade between the self-contained elementary classroom and departmentalized high school programs. Designed to meet the needs of early adolescence, Middle School helps a student develop skills, independence, and a sense of self. Academic subjects are taught by a dedicated and enthusiastic faculty with a strong background in the subjects they teach. Teachers coordinate curriculum closely to create a program that is both content and child centered.
International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (MYP)
CDS middle school teachers incorporate International Baccalaureate (IB) teaching and learning styles in their planning. The IB Middle Years Programme (MYP), teaches our students to think critically and ask fundamental questions. The engine driving the MYP through every class moves on the belief that all students can be taught to be independent problem-solvers with strong study skills. The learning environment challenges them to strive for their personal best and develop a zest for learning.
Each school year begins with special orientation programming. The Patriot Society, a leadership group of 8th grade students, helps facilitate a half day of activities to welcome the rising 6th grade students and all new middle school students. This day is designed to demystify the new routines and expectations of middle school before the first day of classes. The entire middle school comes together for the next two half-days of orientation. During orientation students renew friendships, get acquainted with new friends, meet their teachers and engage in activities that give them a sense of belonging and provide motivation to enjoy and succeed in the coming school year.
Some of the in-depth study projects that have become traditions for Middle School students at CDS include Shakespeare Festival and a major performing arts production. To finish up their study of astronomy, sixth grade students have an overnight field trip to Florida Space Coast. As part of their science unit on Marine Biology, the seventh grade enjoys a trip to Crystal River. The eighth grade year culminates in an exciting trip to Washington DC where the students get to experience our country's history, foundations and principles, and freedoms first hand. All of these overnight grade level trips include a service as action component.
With the IB program as a catalyst, the middle school follows a block schedule for Language A1, Humanities, Science, Design Technology, Mathematics, Foreign Language (Spanish and French), and Art. A block schedule means that students are in individual classes in these subject areas for a longer period of time, but the classes will meet every other day. Key to the middle school's role as a bridge are our nationally recognized character development initiative, opportunities for community service and school leadership, and extra-curricular activities.
Study Hall is generally offered every day. Students report to their study hall teacher and begin their homework. During this time, if they need assistance or need to make up work due to an absence, they may sign out to go to another teacher. This is a time when teachers can provide help for students. For example, if a student is struggling with a concept taught in class, the student or the teacher can request that they work together during the study hall period.
Middle school students use technology throughout the day both in their classrooms and in our state-of-the art computer lab equipped with 21.5" iMac computers. All middle school students are required to have a personal iPad or MacBook laptop (depending on grade level) and technology is integrated within the academic disciplines. Design Technology is a core subject for all middle school students. In this signature course at CDS, students learn how to use the design cycle to devise creative and practical solutions to given tasks. Every classroom is equipped with an LCD projector which is used for teacher directed lessons and for students to share their work and projects. The entire middle school and the school media center are on a secure, filtered, wireless network.
Middle School Assembly
Each Wednesday the entire middle school comes together to recognize recent accomplishments, share announcements and enjoy special presentations. Many Assembly activities are planned and led by student leaders from the Student Council and the Patriots Society.
Snacks, Lunch, and Recess
Students should bring a nutritious snack each day. Students have the choice of bringing a lunch from home or purchasing lunch at school. CDS partners with The Red Elephant Pizza & Grill to offer a varied menu of hot and cold, kid-friendly, nutritious lunches. Parents can pre-order and pay for lunches by the month at a convenient online link to Red Elephant. Middle School students eat outside every day in a shaded picnic area.
In addition to the longterm health benefits that a physically active lifestyle provides, recent studies show that physical activity can also have positive effects on academic achievement. Middle School students have an outdoor recess period following lunch every day. Students should bring a water bottle to school each day to make sure they stay hydrated when outdoors. Students may also wear hats and sunscreen when outside.
Please click here to see an overview of the core subjects for grades 6 - 8.