Choosing a Personalized Path
By Middle School, scholars experience a greater proportion of the school day in English, with the exception of the Chinese language and humanities classes. Classes are led by Chinese and international subject specialists in arts, languages, STEAM and physical education.
Middle School scholars will mature and grow as they gain greater autonomy and increased flexibility provided through advisory and more frequent assisted study periods. Through the advisory program, scholars begin the process of choosing a path towards Upper School and become equipped with the resilience and adaptability required to succeed as they enter their final years at Huaer Collegiate.
We Develop the Whole Child
Using a network of faculty advisors, we integrate our academic and student life curriculum. We also develop a personalized learning plan for each scholar.
We integrate the Chinese National Curriculum with American Common Core and Next Generation Science standards. This integrated curriculum is Pre-AP. Therefore, we cover the breadth of content required for Advanced Placement (AP) study in the Upper School. Integrated STEAM project-based learning methods (iSTEAM-PBL) are used to facilitate a deep understanding of concepts through applied, experiential lessons and units of study.
To build foundational skills and proficiency in the Chinese and English languages, data-driven, flexible literacy groups are co-taught in a 50/50 Dual Language Immersion model. iSTEAM-PBL methods are used to personalize learning that meet each scholar’s unique needs.
50/50 Dual Language Immersion
For scholars to achieve proficiency in both the Chinese and English languages, half of the daily or weekly instruction is delivered uninterrupted in Chinese and the other half in English. Our immersion approach also provides scholars with a double dose of math, humanities, science and philosophy instruction through iSTEAM-PBL discovery lessons taught as one course in Chinese and another course in English.
We reinforce and advance the study of subject content through an interdisciplinary, STEAM curriculum, using Project Based Learning strategies (iSTEAM-PBL). This instructional method uses thematic experiential discovery lessons to foster student-centered, applied inquiry learning. In addition to providing a double dose of instruction in science, math and humanities, this instructional method strengthens scholars’ confidence to take risks with critical thinking, creativity, problem solving, collaboration and self-awareness.
We use a scientifically based practice called progress monitoring to assess scholars’ academic performance and to continually improve the effectiveness of instructional planning and pacing. To promote continuous growth towards mastery, flexible grouping is used to steer individual scholars’ growth patterns.
What is flexible grouping?
A flexible group will include different scholars at different times for different reasons. Groups are flexible because they change as each scholar’s data shows growth or progression beyond a curricular section or set of skills.
- English classes: Standards-based benchmarks are taken on a quarterly basis to determine how scholars are placed in classes that are taught in English including English Language Arts, Science EN, Math EN and Integrated STEAM. As a result, the average class size for these courses is 17 and a scholar’s teacher for these courses may change each quarter based on the scholar’s growth.
- Co-teaching for differentiation: A teacher and Teaching Fellow (TF) work together to teach each academic class. They use daily formative assessments to plan the instruction and pacing for small flexible groupings within their classes.
Student Life Program
Scholars in our Middle School program experience positive and deep relationships with their teachers and develop the essential life skills necessary to succeed in Upper School, college and life in general. Teachers continue to employ pedagogical approaches designed to support our Essential Life Skills. Early adolescence marks this period of child development and the social and emotional turbulence that follows. Through our Student Life Program, our Middle School scholars will enjoy the benefits of healthy and caring relationships nurtured in an inclusive and respectful environment.
A small, intimate learning community
Middle School scholars are assigned to a small advisory group of six scholars. To start the day on a consistent and positive note, advisors meet with their advisory group first thing every day to deliver important and timely information and check in with each scholar. Scholars also end their day with their advisory group to reflect on the experiences of the day and to get organized for Life Block programs and the evening’s homework. A first point of contact for parents, advisors track academic progress, working with scholars to identify particular character strengths and personal passions to guide the Personal Learning Plan, which also includes Life Block course selections. Advisors and advisory peers come to know each other very well, forming a small, intimate learning community.
College and Career Counseling
Beginning in Grade 7, our college counseling approach lays the groundwork for scholars becoming more aware of their developing practical interests when beginning the college exploration process in the Upper School years. Accordingly, scholars will explore a variety of careers through job shadowing, career days and apprenticeships in Grade 8 as they begin to build a stronger sense of self and a vision for their future.
In Middle School, Life Block provides a wide range of physical, creative and intellectual programs to awaken new interests and develop interpersonal skills and a sense of community.
Each experiential program offered during Life Block allows scholars to develop essential life skills while learning and practicing the elements of good health, good character, good communication and strong communities. The programs will vary by trimester and scholars are encouraged to explore a variety of experiences.
The Life Block curriculum has four areas of focus:
• Health and wellness: Scholars learn and practice healthy living and eating habits through academic study, a healthy meal program, athletic and wellness offerings and physical education classes.
• Ethics and identity: We use strengths-based classroom management procedures within a caring learning community. Scholars explore and regulate their emotions and understand their individual sense of self and responsibility to others.
• Communication and creative expression: As a bilingual independent school, these skills are at the heart of the work that we do throughout our program. Most Life Block programs require practice of communication and effective expression in English with peers, program coaches and students from other schools with whom we may compete. Life Block offerings in drama, debate, GeoBee, Knowledge Bowl and others emphasize the use of these skills.
• Teams and community: Scholars practice interpersonal skills and responsibility through creative, physical and team building activities using project-based learning and attention to social and emotional learning.
Once or twice each month we gather as a community to share traditions, recognize achievement, welcome special guests, and celebrate our school community. During Community Hall we build community, nurture a love of school and a strong sense of what it means to be a scholar at Huaer Collegiate.
On a rotating basis, Study Hall offers scholars the opportunity to do focused work outside of class during the school day. Under the guidance of a Middle School teacher, lessons on essential study skills and habits are emphasized.
As a convenience to our families, we offer an optional, fee-based after-school program that begins when Life Block ends. Parents enroll their children in the after-school program in advance of each term in order to select from the variety of enrichment options offered.
Parent University provides opportunity for our parents to build community within the school. Held regularly, parents enjoy sessions on topics related to their child’s success at school.
Personalized Learning Plan
Our motto ‘Empowering extraordinary scholars to succeed anywhere’ is reflected in how we identify, support and celebrate our scholars’ diverse ways of learning. Huaer Collegiate embraces the extraordinary in all scholars by tending to the strengths and limitations of individual learners.
Scholar Voice and Choice
The scholar is counseled by the advisor to continually develop a data-informed, personalized learning plan (PLP). The PLP involves setting goals for growth and achievement. Scholars work toward achieving these goals as they participate in an array of compulsory and elective academic and student life courses.
Exceptionally Extraordinary Scholarship (XXS)
Sometimes our scholars demonstrate exceptionally extraordinary learning aptitudes. When our typical differentiation methods do not strengthen these aptitudes, we modify the PLP to involve XXS (Double XS) services. For example, supplemental resources, alternative counseling strategies, special accommodations and extra monitoring of progress toward learning goals.