The objective of the St. Thomas Aquinas Middle School Program is to help students develop to their fullest potential through engaging in a program in which the core curriculum, exploratory, and extra-curricular activities are based upon the special academic, emotional, spiritual and social needs of adolescents in the 6th, 7th and 8th grades.
Inspiring academic success through a focus on personal growth and a sense of belonging, the Teacher Advisor (TA) Model gives structure to the middle school program. Students are assigned to a TA group, led by a middle school teacher advisor, for the entire school year. As part of their regular daily schedule, students participate in TA time each week. Class schedules include individual instruction periods encompassing core curriculum and elective studies classes. Eighth grade classes are scheduled in blocks.
Students in 6th, 7th and 8th grade are required to complete core studies in English, math, reading, religion, science and social studies. Accelerated math classes are offered for eligible middle school students and accelerated literature classes are offered for eligible students who are in the 7th and 8th grades. Sixth grade students are required to participate in keyboarding, music and speech classes. 7th grade students are required to participate in computer applications, PE, art and stewards classes. Eighth grade students are required to participate in Spanish class. Honors classes, which allow for students to advance more quickly when in high school, are available for qualifying 8th grade students.
Our 1:1 Laptop Initiative provides a laptop, which includes up-to-date software and internet access, to every student in 7th and 8th grade. The laptops supplement traditional teaching and learning and are used on a daily basis as means to learn and/or complete work.
Students in 8th grade are required to participate in the Culminating Project. Students must gather, organize, evaluate, and present evidence, which documents an understanding of a certain real life issue. They must use information from assigned curricular areas and establish a clear explanation of choices potentially open to them in solving the problem. The project involves a research paper, interviews, creative expression, and an oral presentation to a panel of judges.
Students in Middle School have the opportunity to participate in special courses and exploratory studies which provide a change of pace from daily academics and allow them to explore their individual interests. Special courses and exploratory studies are offered in the areas of fine arts, life skills, physical education, science applications, math, social skills, debate, and technology. A highly regarded exploratory, Project Lead the Way, is a STEM course, focusing on science, technology, engineering, and math.
Student organizations and athletics are offered as extra-curricular activities to all Middle School students. These activities reinforce classroom lessons and the values of teamwork (individual and group), responsibility, healthy living, healthy competition, diversity, and a sense of belonging.