Creative Arts Middle School is at its heart a highly collaborative, joyful community that shares an enthusiasm for lifelong learning and an appreciation for intelligence in its multiple forms. The program, which encompasses a rigorous academic program, the arts, community service, experiential education, and social-emotional development, is based on the recognition that middle school students are at a most complicated developmental stage. In addition, a strong sense of community based on respect, tolerance, and moral courage is one of the school’s defining attributes.
The philosophical underpinning of the school is three-fold: an instructional focus which emphasizes a student-centered classroom, a programmatic focus which drives the integration of the curriculum, and a cultural focus based on the collaborative, cooperative nature of teaching and learning. The cornerstone of the educational experience is an individualized process of learning which cultivates in each student a sense of self-awareness and self-esteem, which empowers students to become proactive self-advocates able to define their potential in their own terms.
What Makes Our Middle School So Special?
- A rigorous, project-based, interdisciplinary academic program in language arts, social studies, and science, emphasizing reading comprehension and writing in all content areas. Students actively engage in projects that use creativity as a tool for learning and promote critical thinking.
What does this kind of curriculum look like? Consider the following examples:
- Our 6th-grade humanities class takes an interdisciplinary approach to the study of ancient civilizations beginning with early humans. Students research relevant anthropology and archaeology before creating replica artifacts of early humans and transforming their classroom into a cave dwelling. The project culminates with the students writing and hosting an exhibition of human development for lower grade classrooms.
- Our 7th grade Life Sciences class teaches students to think and act like scientists. Through a series of real world challenges, such as building an artificial hand, students do research, participate in discussions, learn the content in the state standards, observe how human hands work,design and build a prototype, solve problems in their designs, and build, write about, and present a revised solution.
- A differentiated math program that offers three distinct pathways to address varying degrees of math skill development and ensure each student’s needs are met. All students will be prepared for either high school algebra or high school geometry upon graduation, depending on their individualized growth.
- An advisory program that personalizes the educational experience, builds strong relationships amongst school constituents, and promotes positive school culture. The sense of belonging and inclusion it creates ensures both that the school is a safe place to be “yourself” and that the unique developmental needs of Middle School students are met.
- Small classes in a small community. Class size is capped at 28 students, with a total of 56 students in 6th grade in 2012-13. Students are known well by other students and by all staff members, creating a tight-knit, safe community. Community building occurs through community meetings, bi-annual camping trips, Advisory Olympics, field trips, and advisory projects that celebrate the school’s core values of multiculturalism and diversity.
- Caring, dedicated faculty, committed to guiding students to reach their full potential. Our teachers have dedicated time to collaborate and plan interdisciplinary units and project based assessments to promote connection, relevance, and depth of thought across the curriculum.
- Ample opportunities for choice, exploration, and leadership:
- An arts and elective program builds students’ confidence in their creativity while facilitating interdisciplinary coursework and artistic collaboration. Our elective program offers classes in guitar, spoken word, drama, dance, music ensemble, visual art, and digital arts.
- Our athletic program includes track, volleyball, basketball, and futsol, and is open to all who are interested.
- Eighth graders serve as natural mentors to sixth and seventh graders. All Middle School students have book buddies in the younger grades.
- A service learning program facilitates student volunteerism at food banks, nature preserves, and other non-profit organizations in San Francisco, bringing the school’s emphasis on community awareness and social justice to life.
Our graduates attend public and independent schools across the Bay Area including Balboa, City Arts and Technology, Drew, Gateway, June Jordan, Leadership, Lincoln, Lowell, and School of the Arts.