Between the ages of 10 and 14, children experience more physical changes than at any other time in their lives except from birth to age two. Children “in the middle” are often characterized by mood swings and feelings of insecurity. Their behavior can vary from mature to immature. They may feel confused and perplexed by their rapidly changing bodies, while their need for approval increases. When friends become essential to them, middle-schoolers want to dress alike, walk alike, and talk alike. They value approval from adults but need approval from their friends.
In order to meet these dramatic changes, the school has had to change from within. Middle schools (grades 6-8) in Volusia County are student-centered institutions where children reach high standards and high expectations as they transition from childhood to adolescence. Middle school teachers in Volusia County Schools are dedicated to academic progress. As students work toward independence, teachers encourage students to develop a positive identity by establishing and maintaining high standards and high expectations for all students.
National research has shown that children are more successful in school when their parents and families are involved in their education. The middle school staff is eager to work with families. When possible, conferences are arranged so that families can meet with all of the student’s teachers at the same time. Volusia County middle schools are designed to bridge the gap between elementary schools and high schools.
The curriculum for middle-schoolers represents high standards and high expectations. Each subject taught has its own curriculum map — a living document that demonstrates the alignment between Volusia County’s curriculum and the Common Core State Standards (as well as Florida’s Next Generation Sunshine State Standards where applicable). The curriculum maps confirm what students should know and be able to do by the time they reach high school.
In order to be promoted from grade 6 to grade 7 to grade 8, a student must make acceptable progress in at least five of seven courses per grade level to include at least three of the four core courses: English, mathematics, science, and social studies. In order to be promoted to grade 9, middle school students must successfully complete three courses in English, three courses in mathematics, three courses in science, and three courses in social studies. Credit retrieval labs are available for middle-schoolers in grades 6, 7, and 8. The labs provide an opportunity for students to retrieve failed quarters and courses through a competency-based, online curriculum.
Opportunities for middle-schoolers to exhibit and participate in annual events abound in Volusia County. Examples of past competitions are the Literacy Fair, Science Fair, Science Olympiad, Social Studies Fair, World Languages Festival, Fitness Festival, MATHCOUNTS, numerous music festivals and competitions, as well as community and school art shows and displays.