The Middle Years of Schooling constitutes a stage of schooling during which young adolescents explore themselves and the world in which they live. This stage of schooling requires educational experiences that are meaningful and beneficial to all students and advance their learning capacity in preparation for post compulsory pathways. The following principles constitute the essential components of Middle Years Schooling:
- Learning centred - learning opportunities and curriculum focused on the needs, interests and concerns of learners, with an emphasis on self-directed and co-constructed learning
- Collaboratively organised - working collegially to plan, deliver and assess learning, ensuring meaningful and authentic demonstrations of outcomes and judgments of achievement, within, across and beyond discipline and subject areas
- Outcome based - recording progress and achievement as explicit statements of what each student is expected to know and be able to do
- Flexibly constructed - using time, space and other resources to reflect creative solutions and arrangements responsive to local needs and circumstances
- Ethically aware - reflecting justice, care, respect and concern for needs of others, in everyday practice of students, teachers and leaders
- Community orientated - involving parents and other stakeholders in productive partnerships with the school
- Adequately resourced - supporting teachers and staff by high quality facilities, technology, equipment and materials
- Strategically linked - connecting middle years within the P- 12 continuum.
At Dripstone Middle School, students are provided with:
- Access to meaningful and appropriate teaching and learning programs including transition into and out of the Middle Years of Schooling
- Opportunities to become engaged in rich, real, relevant and rigorous educational experiences
- Achievement that is moderated and validated against the year level standards described in the Australian Curriculum or the Northern Territory Achievement Standards.
- Reading, writing and numeracy assessments through system-wide tests in Year 7 and Year 9.
Like all students, young adolescents have a range of personal, intellectual and social needs. With the onset of puberty, however there are particular physical, emotional and cultural needs that should also be addressed.
Dripstone Middle School provides opportunities for young people to learn and grow in ways that acknowledge and respect this unique phase of their development. The following represents a collective view of specific needs that must be accommodated in the Middle Years of Schooling:
- Identity - exploring how individual and group identities are shaped by social and cultural groups
- Relationships - developing productive and affirming relationships with adults and peers in an environment that respects difference and diversity
- Purpose - having opportunities to negotiate learning that is useful now, as well as in the future
- Empowerment - viewing the world critically and acting independently, co-operatively and responsibly
- Success - having multiple opportunities to learn valued knowledge and skills as well as the opportunities to use talents and expertise that students bring to the learning environment
- Rigour - taking on realistic learning challenges in an environment characterized by high expectations and constructive honest feedback
- Safety - learning in a safe, stimulating and caring environment that addresses issues of discrimination and harassment.
Reference: Barrett, R 1998, Shaping Middle Schooling In Australia: A Report on National Middle Schooling Project, Australian Curriculum Studies Association, Canberra.