About the BCS Middle School Program

Significance of the K-8 educational model 
 
Since its inception, BCS has achieved success through an unwavering commitment toward educating the whole child. We have built upon our award-winning K-5 vision by adding the middle school years, one of the most important periods for guiding a child's personal growth and future academic success.  That’s why BCS provides a fully integrated and innovative K-8 program for students in the community we serve, the only public K-8 school program located in the Los Altos School District.
 
Recent research demonstrates that students perform better both academically and emotionally when they remain in a K-8 configuration, and are not moved to a new school environment during the critical middle schools years.  BCS was able to take advantage of this research in developing our innovative program for 6th through 8th grade students.
 
 
See the key features that make the BCS Middle School experience notably different than traditional middle schools through a series of interviews with key players who helped in designing, developing, and implementing this one of a kind middle school program.
 
Key components of BCS Middle School
 
BCS's middle school program focuses on individualized learning, curriculum, and "intersessions." 
  • Rigorous academic curricula such as Science and Engineering labs modeled upon national standards
  • Highly qualified staff with National Board and specially certified teachers
  • Block and intersession schedules that support interdisciplinary and project-based learning and design thinking opportunities
  • Music, Drama, Physical Education, Art, and Foreign Language classes as part of the regular program
  • Unparalleled enrichment opportunities to promote risk-taking and leadership skills
  • Focused Learning Goals and mentors to meet individual needs and nurture special talents
  • Small class sizes provide unique learning and leadership opportunities for all students
A "block schedule" improves upon the standard seven-period middle school schedule where academic subjects are taught in discrete segments every day with little or no relevance to each other. The BCS block schedule ensures that learning is integrated across curriculum areas, allows time for project-based learning opportunities, and provides more time for students to engage in deeper, more meaningful learning.
 
For example, Math and Science classes are scheduled back-to-back so teachers can work together with students on projects that build upon, apply, and reinforce concepts in both subject areas. Teachers can also elect to use these "blocks"  for longer periods of time to allow for in-depth exploration and extended learning opportunities in single subject areas.
 
"Intersessions" are weeks when regular scheduling is suspended and students are given the opportunity to develop a deep understanding of a particular subject area. Students move beyond the classroom and engage in active learning in the real world. Depending on the area of focus, students may engage in field study, job shadowing, interviewing, performing and learning from professionals outside classroom walls.   Read more about the BCS intersession program here.
 
Every student participates in music, drama, art and foreign language. In addition, a wide range of electives are offered in the Intersession weeks in areas such as applied arts (textiles, cooking, woodworking), athletics, music, science/math/technology, and global citizenship.  Students are also able to choose between Spanish and Mandarin. Seasonal after school sports, such as volleyball, table tennis, and triathalon, provide opportunities for team play as well as interaction with other schools. Band, dance, and choir are also offered to all students in the middle school program.
 
Students’ individual academic needs are addressed and supported through Focused Learning Goals, individualized learning opportunities, flexible groupings, and small class sizes.  Further, advisory classes meet every week to address social and emotional learning, work/study habits, and curricula specific to the needs of middle school students. Additionally, each student has his/her own mentor, someone to help focus students on achieving their goals, provide academic, emotional, social support, or just another adult to go to for support. These student-mentor relationships provide every student with additional personal attention, structure, resources, and guidance.
 
For more information about how you can make the choice for BCS’s integrated middle school program, please see our Enrollment page.

 
Read the research
supporting K-8 model
as beneficial for students:
 
“Our findings clearly support
ongoing efforts in urban school districts to convert standalone elementary and middle schools into schools with K-8 configurations.”
 
Schwerdt & West,
2011 Harvard Graduate School of Education