Grades Five Six, Seven and Eight form our middle school. At this level there are specialty teachers for all classes. As in the lower school, project-based learning offers students an interactive and engaging learning environment. Computer technology and other courses called “special topics” such as study skills, Islamic art, Islamic history and community service are offered at this level. The upper school has the advantage of small class sizes where each child receives individual attention and some assignments hand-tailored to their unique needs and interests.
The Middle School students at WIA are the “leaders” on many school-wide projects and for a multitude of special events. Our pupils benefit from small class sizes and having a variety of expert specialty subject teachers for the core subjects: English Language Arts and Literature, Math, Social Studies and Science. Additionally they have separate teachers for PE (physical education), Arabic language, Qur’an and Islamic Studies. Oral discussion and being able to express thoughts clearly in writing are promoted, while mutual respect and tolerance for differences in opinion is underscored.
Research, academic writing and public speaking/ presentation skills are emphasized in our curriculum. While our students are held to meeting or exceeding Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) for their Grade Level, our approach is different. Our teachers facilitate small group projects and working together cooperatively, in much the way professionals collaborate in the workplace. Older students are allowed to develop Reader’s Theatre scripts so they can thoroughly understand the subject matter content. We emphasize critical thinking and making inferences to wider understanding about knowledge gained from multiple texts and sources.
Students become not only consumers of technology, but producers of multimedia and print content in the forms of art work, original storybooks, an upper school newsletter, illustrated digital portfolios, PowerPoint presentations, blogs and even web sites.
There is flexibility within the curriculum for a pupil to explore areas of individual curiosity that stem from their courses, but which they then wish to delve into deeply due to personal interest. Extra credit work is appreciated and can be a source of enriching knowledge and understanding at higher levels.
The school itself is a family-like environment and Middle School students are often called upon to read storybooks to the Kindergarten or Pre-kindergarten classes or to assist in other ways. Our youth also share their expertise in various ways such as video editing, making posters for events, doing fundraising such as bake sales and car washes, and guiding younger children in all-school activities such as the mock Hajj or preparation for the annual Spelling Bee. Students in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades at WIA are encouraged to participate in community service activities off-campus, both individually and as small groups. (link)