Welcome to Middle School at the American School of Valencia!
Middle School students are at a unique developmental stage and require a comprehensive program that takes into consideration their specific social, cognitive, physical, and emotional needs. At ASV, Middle School students learn in a warm and caring environment where taking risks is valued. Students are taught expectations and an intentional focus is placed on positive choices. Through the diverse range of academic opportunities, curricular subjects and co-curricular activities, students have an opportunity to develop the skills necessary to be internationally-minded community members and independent learners.
Curriculum and Teaching Philosophy
Middle School is a three-year academic program that includes Grade 6, Grade 7, and Grade 8 in the American education system. During a typical week students engage in a variety of rich activities across all curricular areas.
Common Core State Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, Spanish National Standards and other internationally accepted curricular standards form the foundation of the core curriculum. Instruction by qualified teachers in these standards fosters the critical-thinking, problem-solving, and analytical skills needed to be a life-long learner. Although separate curricular standards exist for each discipline, integrated and cross-curricular instruction occurs regularly in order for students to apply learning in real-life contexts.
In alignment with the Common Core State Standards in English, students will continue deepening their skills in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and using English language effectively in a variety of content areas. Students are engaged in Readers and Writers Workshop to broaden their reading and writing skills in diverse genres.
While reading increasingly complex texts through each grade level, students learn to reflect on their reading and write about these texts in a variety of ways that empower students to think critically. This leads to our students becoming independent, life-long learners with a passion for reading and writing, creating an intrinsic curiosity about the world around them. Students’ speaking and listening skills are also emphasized each and every day through small group discussions, debates, Socratic seminars, and formal presentations or speeches.
Mathematics instruction at the American School of Valencia is driven by the Common Core State Standards for Mathematical Standards and the content determined by the Spanish educational authorities. The Mathematics Curriculum concentrates on a clear set of math skills and concepts, setting the path for students to build upon their previous knowledge to foster deeper understanding of core concepts. Students are provided with opportunities to think critically and collaborate, with an emphasis on problem solving and communicating mathematically.
Following the inquiry and research-based Next Generation Science Standards, a three dimensional framework that addresses cross curricular concepts, science and engineering practices and disciplinary core ideas, the Science Department provides a hands-on learning experience that allows students to understand how science is practiced in the real world and how to become collaborative, critically thinking life-long learners. Students learn constructively through experimentation and using the scientific method on topics related to Physical Science, Life Science, Earth and Space Sciences and Engineering.
During Middle School, the Social Studies program combines Physical Geography, Human Geography and History. An emphasis is placed on the acquisition of skills to reflect on past and present issues, instilling curiosity to investigate and explore the reality around them, and fostering the understanding that historical events develop as a result of the actions of individuals and groups, which influence the organization of current societies and institutions.
In Social Studies, students continue to build on their prior knowledge about the Earth and the physical environment, preparing students to understand the configuration of political-economic activities. In addition, the curriculum explores Prehistory, classical civilizations of the Near East and the Mediterranean (Egypt, Greece, Rome) and the evolution of Spain up to the contemporary era.
There is a key connection between the English literacy Common Core Standards and social studies. The structure for social studies is based on a framework of four critical learning acquisition skills:
- Developing questions and planning inquiries
- Applying disciplinary tools and concepts
- Evaluating sources and using evidence
- Communicating conclusions and taking informed action
Spanish Language and Literature in Middle School, based on the Spanish National Curriculum, continues to expand and deepen the students language abilities and their literacy skills, approaching and analyzing a wide variety of texts and genres.
International students without prior instruction in Spanish language are offered Spanish as an Additional Language which is adapted to their needs, emphasizing communication skills and the daily use of Spanish as a world language.
As part of the requirements of the Generalitat Valenciana, all Middle School students continue to learn the four essential skills of Valencian language: speaking, listening, reading and writing. Students collaborate in a variety of situations to deepen their understanding of syntax, grammar, literary genres, and different types of texts through an authentic experience with the language. They also continue to develop their ability to communicate in a variety of situations and for various purposes in Valencian.
International students without prior instruction in Valencian will study a specific introduction to the Valencian language and cultural heritage.
In Middle School, students begin their journey into an additional world language: French or German. Learning new world languages helps students to discover new cultures and visions, while providing opportunities of success now and into the future as languages are a tool to communicate, understand and embrace the world around us.
German and French instruction at ASV is guided by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages aligned with ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages). These standards are organized in four broad categories: Reception (listening, reading and audio-visual comprehension), Production (spoken and written production), Interaction (spoken and written interaction) and Comparisons (insight into the nature of language and culture in order to interact with cultural competence).
Students will be able to develop strong world language literacy skills by communicating with varied audiences for multiple purposes, while displaying appropriate cultural understanding, as well as, exploring and comprehending a variety of perspectives of people from diverse cultures through the study of texts and through social interaction.
As part of Middle School, students take part in a trimester rotation in Music and Art, designed to provide students experiences in both the visual and performing arts as an integral part of a holistic, well-rounded and balanced education for all students. These subject areas are guided by the National Core Arts Standards.
Through a variety of individual and group activities, students develop understanding, knowledge and skills in the different arts. Students are able to explore and develop ideas creatively, apply subject specific language to their own and others’ work, respond to and develop an appreciation of diverse genres and cultures, and take responsibility for the direction of their learning.
Music instruction in Middle School focuses on choral singing with an emphasis on building confidence and enjoyment of singing. Students are exposed to diverse music from many genres, cultures and time periods.
Art instruction challenges students to evaluate and discuss art, explore materials, develop basic skills in various techniques, and find creative solutions to complex problems, as well as, consider the role that art plays in their lives and around the world.
The Physical Education program teaches physical literacy, which encompasses the three domains of physical education: psychomotor, cognitive, and affective. The curriculum is designed following the SHAPE standards. Instruction takes into consideration not only physical competence and knowledge but also student attitudes, motivation, and the social and psychological skills that students need to develop to attain physical literacy. Physical Education teaches skills and activities that transfer into physical activity outside of the class.
Middle School Advisory supports students in their social and emotional growth. As developing young adults, there are some key traits that are imperative to instill in them at this developmental stage: responsibility for oneself, respect for others, the value of daily discipline, perseverance in overcoming challenges, proactively seeking solutions, maintaining integrity in all facets of one’s life, productively collaborating with others, and the continual pursuit to achieve one’s personal best. These concepts are explored in depth, alongside their peers, and with a guiding hand to support them in this experiential time of discovery.
Communication - Character - Creativity - Collaboration - International Mindedness
The school philosophy encourages students to achieve and develop a series of values aligned with our vision of what learners in the 21st Century need and what is the role of education in a global, multicultural and interconnected world. Learning at ASV extends beyond the curriculum and is enriched by off-campus experiences that include co-curricular programs and inspiring service activities.