Middle School: Grades 6–8
Bridging the gap between childhood and adolescence is a quintessential middle school experience. As the brain grows bigger, faster, and more complex during this stage of life, tending to these learners’ cognitive and social-emotional development becomes all the more important.
Whether they have moved up from the Lower School or have newly joined Westmark School, our Grades 6–8 students are equipped with the tools they need—not only to adapt to the many changes they face, but also to embrace the joys and responsibilities of life in Middle School. Together with our faculty and families, I am thrilled to help build a positive, student-centered environment in which our future high schoolers can continue to grow and thrive.
Director of Middle School
Middle School students are enrolled in daily Reading, English, Math, Science, and Social Studies classes. The curricula at every grade level fulfill the requirements of the California Common Core State Standards.
Advisory and Co-Curricular Subjects
In addition to their core subjects, Middle School students attend Advisory four days a week and take Fine Arts or Physical Education on an alternating basis throughout the week.
Grades and Assessments
Middle School students receive grades on their assignments with explicit feedback. Teachers use rubrics to ensure that students understand how they will be assessed. Progress reports are shared at the end of each quarter so that parents and guardians stay up-to-date on their student’s progress and performance, learn more about the accommodations utilized on a daily basis, and celebrate academic successes.
Various formative and summative assessment tools are used in each subject to direct classroom instruction and track progress. All Westmark students are given an annual reading-language assessment. Middle School students are also assessed on their growth and achievement in reading comprehension, language usage, mathematical, and scientific understanding through NWEA testing, a nationally normed exam. The data from these assessments are used to determine class placements, plan curriculum, and evaluate student progress in core academic areas.
Homework and Conferences
In Middle School, assignments are brought home approximately four to five times a week. Students are expected to complete twenty minutes of Reading and Math homework daily, purposefully assigned to build confidence and independence in students’ skills. English, Science, and Social Studies homework is assigned two to three times a week to help students build their vocabulary skills across subject areas.
Communication is an important part of our partnership with families. Parent-Teacher Conferences take place at Westmark three times a year.
At the start of the school year, conferences are held so that Middle School parents and guardians can meet their student’s Advisor, learn more about the academic program for the year, and set goals together.
During conferences held in December and May, Middle School parents and guardians meet with their child’s Advisor to learn about the student’s progress in academic skill development; review student work highlighting strengths and challenges; and discuss the student’s Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) score report. All Middle School students attend the December and May conferences as a way to practice the skills they are developing as self-directed learners.
Conferences are also a chance for parents to inform their student’s Advisor of any changes in medication and updates to the student’s neuropsychological evaluation, among other pertinent matters.