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Middle School Experience Project

Mission of the Middle School Experience Project:

We will reimagine the 6th- 8th middle school experience to create schools where students can grow, explore, and discover interests through developmentally appropriate, relevant, and engaging learning. Students will make healthy connections with their school community and be prepared for a successful transition to high school. 

In order to achieve our goals, we created a guiding framework:

We identified three overarching themes and initiatives intended to improve systems, processes, and outcomes for our middle-grade learners. 

The framework is based on:
  • current research from the Association for Middle-Level Education

  • best practices from successful school districts

  • stakeholder feedback

  • professional expertise from teachers and administrators

The framework included feedback from stakeholders gathered to help us better understand the needs of our community. The sessions were conducted between February and May of 2023 and included:

  • Students 

  • Families

  • Community members

  • Staff

Bringing this vision to reality is a multi-year project. Each middle school will use the framework to guide its plans to implement systems and structures that meet the unique needs of its students.  

Framework for Middle School Change

Theme 1: Relevant, rigorous hands-on learning
Initiatives tied to this theme

  • Implement engaging, grade-level, and standards-aligned curriculum and responsive instructional practices.

  • Expand extra-curricular and exploratory opportunities for all students.

  • Provide opportunities to develop college and career readiness.

  • Implement project-centered, multi-disciplinary learning. 

  • Provide targeted professional learning and support for staff.

Theme 2: Safe and inclusive school environment
Initiatives tied to this theme

  • Fully implement comprehensive school counseling at the middle school level, including social-emotional support and referral to mental health services.

  • Create meaningful, culturally affirming opportunities for all students. 

  • Design meaningful structures supporting learning and student needs (schedules, teaming, etc.).

Theme 3: Meaningful relationships that connect students, families, and school
Initiatives tied to this theme

  • Foster effective transitions into middle school.

  • Provide all middle school students with access to robust advisory programs. 

  • Clearly define interdisciplinary team functions to support social-emotional and academic success for all students.