ABOUT OUR MIDDLE SCHOOL PROGRAM
At Young Achievers, we have built a grade 5-8 curriculum focusing on academic achievement in the four (4) core subjects science, math, English language arts and social studies. In grades 5 and 6, students are taught by two interdisciplinary teachers. One teacher focuses on science/math and the second teacher delivers a humanities curriculum. For grades 7-8 students are taught by four discipline-specific teachers in science, math, English language arts and social studies.
At all grade levels, Young Achievers works we have designed a curriculum to provide students with opportunities for real-world problem solving and application of basic skills through active learning that is socially and culturally relevant. Young Achievers engages students in study and projects that strengthen the communities and environment where students live and go to school. The school has a particular dedication to social justice, environmental education, use of multidisciplinary learning activities for long-term projects, interdisciplinary field-based learning experiences, bringing experts into the classroom, and designing hands-on experiential activities.
Students regularly interact with community partners as part of their academic work, enrichment experiences, field studies, service learning and through public exhibitions of their own work. Community partners are utilized through activities such as neighborhood data collection, interviews about what activists do in the community and through shared discussion with community members about their own mastery of K-8 academic content.
In Middle School, our commitment to these curricular approaches offers your students some particularly rich opportunities that we believe are unique and special from a typical public school experience.
Thompson Island Leadership and Science Education Program – All grade 5-8 students visit Thompson Island which is part of the Boston Harbor Island National Park. While on Island students build individual leadership skills, learn strategies to work together as a community and apply sophisticated science data collection strategies that teach to the MA science and math curriculum frameworks. Grades 5-6 go for single day programming and grades 7-8 visit for both overnight and single day programming. All middle school students have unique scholarship access to Thompson Island’s summer programming that is free of charge to all YA students. This includes a 5-week summer school for rising 6th graders, 1-2 week adventure programming for all students age 12 and up, and unique summer employment opportunities for all students age 15 and up.
Boston Community Boat Building – All grade 5 students apply real-life math, engineering and science skills over 11 consecutive afternoons throughout the year to build a boat they will launch and row on Jamaica Pond in the spring. Students use the boats to collect water quality data in Boston Harbor and are engaged in a humanities-based curriculum about the history of African American and Latino ship captains who worked and sailed through Boston Harbor.
Field-Based Learning – In addition to many of the opportunities described, our middle school students take part in a range of other curriculum connected field-based learning experiences that are an important part of the school’s curriculum. The 6th graders go on a 3-day field learning trip to Cardigan Mountain in New Hampshire where they conduct experiments related to their Weather & Water and Human Body science curriculum. Grade 7 visits the Forest Hills pond to conduct water testing and to collect animal species to better understand species diversity. Grade 5 utilizes real-life levers and pulleys out in the schoolyard as part of their Force and Motion curriculum.
Costa Rica – Each year, 15 grade 8 students have the opportunity to go to Costa Rica for a rich science and cultural immersion experience. Students stay on a remote island on the west coast of Costa Rica. They work with Costa Rican scientists to learn about rainforest ecology, collect real-life data to advance their research and implement tree planting projects that benefit the rainforest for the next generation of Young Achievers students.
Family Presentation – All middle school students are required to present their work to families and the greater Young Achievers community once a year. These presentations provide students with an authentic audience where they can discuss their academic progress and learning. These presentations usually represent the conclusion of a culminating project-based unit focusing on the real-life application of science, math, social studies, and English language arts.
Portfolios – All 8th-grade students are required to present and pass a portfolio of academic work demonstrating the relationship between academic work completed and proficiency in the Young Achievers 6 habits of mind. This academic exhibition takes place at the end of 8th grade. Each student presents independently to a panel of 3-4 judges. Families take part in the preparation and are present for the final presentation. Many of our students and families find this to be the most important academic “right of passage” for their students K-8 experience at Young Achievers.
8th Grade High School Support and Leadership Program – We have a dedicated 8th-grade staff that coordinates the high school selection process, placement of students in internships to explore career ideas and to support students in the portfolio exhibition process. Our goal is for families to easily access the supports they need to select the best fit high school. We want 8th graders to have real-world experiences through internships at area non-profits and businesses. Finally, we want 8th graders to be reflective about these how these experiences will help them be leaders as they transition out of Young Achiever and into high school.
Partnership Enrichment Days – Every other week middle school students visit a community partner for 3 hours of enriched learning. Each year the experiences vary but some of the key partnerships include: Boston Nature Center and hands-on outdoor science investigation, YES leads rock climbing and mountain biking experiences, Tenacity provides tennis lessons, Boys and Girls club offers added opportunities for immersion in dance, martial arts, and basketball, and the Flaherty pool provides swimming lessons.
After school academic opportunities include homework support and Debate League.
Athletic Sport Offerings –
For students in grades 6-8, we offer several after school sports for our students including track, basketball, soccer, cheerleading and football. Further, as one of the first schools to partner with Harlem Lacrosse - Boston, our girls and boys complete against other area schools.
Middle School Athletic Sport Eligibility (as per BPS guidelines)
- 2.0 GPA or Higher (schools may choose to have a higher GPA for athletic participation)
- School attendance rate of 93% or higher
- Physical examination completed within the last 13 months, that does not expire before the end of the season, with sports clearance from the school nurse
- Students that turn 15 before September 1 of the current academic year, are ineligible to compete.
- Yearly signed parental consent form (transferable season to season)
Intensive Supportive Program (ISP)
Our Intensive Supportive Program (ISP) services students in grades 6-8 with an emotional disability. Staff works with students in a small group setting. Students are also given the opportunity for inclusion into a general education classroom with the support of teachers and paraprofessionals. The goal is to fully include students into classes with their peers by the eighth grade.