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Day in the Life of a Middle School Student

The days for Middle School students at ACDS are designed to develop the interests of our students as they find their independence and self-identity.

Middle School at ACDS offers many academic, elective and after-school experiences. We begin the day with our daily grade-level advocacy program. Students then move between their core subjects and electives taught by our master teachers who share their passion, commitment to children, and subject matter expertise with the students they serve.

Advocacy Middle School Students


Advocacy Lesson

The Middle School day starts with a daily Advocacy class with a small group of 10-12 peers and a teacher. Advocacy fosters close relationships in a small group of students meeting with a single teacher every day, all year long. In addition to the daily morning classes, Advocacy meets weekly during the day for an entire period. Students in Advocacy learn how to relate and communicate effectively, to speak up for their needs and be receptive to those of others, to manage conflict and disagreement, and to feel safe in a world increasingly defined by change. Themes covered include health and wellness, nutrition, puberty and technology use, DEI, community building, citizenship, and learning goals.

Middle School Boy at Computer



The ACDS Middle School English curriculum integrates reading and writing skills, such as analyzing, synthesizing, and reflecting, that can be applied to any text, from classic to contemporary. Our students learn to read and think critically by engaging in different genres and writing styles, participating in structured discussions, and creating a variety of final products designed to help students create connections to their own lives and communities. The philosophy of our workshop model helps students to develop a passion for literature because the texts they read matter to them and trust that they can approach reading and writing with energy and precision.

Middle School Girl in Mathematics Class



Our Middle School Math program is based on the core philosophy that every student can learn math and every student needs something different. We strive to create a variety of opportunities for our students that challenge them, while also encouraging students to take risks and make mistakes. To meet our students where they are, we have smaller class sizes, multiple course offerings, drop in support sessions during the school day, math centric electives (support and extension), and after school math club. Some of our favorite activities include walking linear functions with motion detectors, testing rebound heights of different sports balls to demonstrate the difference between linear and exponential functions, and creating card games that skew the probability in their favor.

Middle School Students at Recess


Morning Recess

Students will enjoy two supervised 15-minute recess periods, one in the mid-morning and one in the afternoon, where they can get some fresh air, relax their minds and enjoy time with their friends. 

Middle School Students in Science Class



At ACDS, we believe children learn science best by hands-on experimental activities. Our Middle School science curriculum integrates science, technology, engineering and math – STEM – in a blend of lab activities and demonstrations, digital simulations, and small group projects, in addition to traditional lecture and textbook study.

Middle School science at ACDS presents a rigorous introduction to scientific thinking, chemistry, biology, physics, engineering, design, genetics and earth science. The students are given challenge problems and activities that allow them to connect the content they are learning in class with a real problem. For example, 8th grade students are asked to help bring a sick alien’s blood back to neutral by using what they have learned about acids and bases. 

Our students learn to think like scientists. They develop a passion for scientific rigor that leads them to pursue and excel in their coursework through high school and beyond.

Pasta Market Lunch



ACDS is pleased to offer a hot lunch program through The Pasta Market. Home-style meals are made from scratch each day and served with fresh fruit. Meals are low fat with no preservatives, no trans-fat, or high fructose corn syrup ingredients! Different lunch options including vegetarian, are available each day with a variety of cuisines so students can try new foods.

Middle School Social Studies


Social Studies

The three-year social studies program uses history and other humanities fields as a vehicle to help students practice organizing information, supporting assertions, collaborating with others, and evaluating competing ideas. Whenever possible, students craft proposals and make decisions together in carefully designed simulations that deepen their appreciation of the complex nature of diverse societies. Students first study the world through a variety of lenses and eras, preparing them to approach U.S. history in eighth grade with cultural humility and a global outlook. Along the way, they learn to confront dilemmas as philosophers, economists, legislators, city planners, military strategists, anthropologists, judges, and other types of real-world practitioners.

Middle School Homeroom



Once a week, our middle school students will meet with their Homeroom class and advisor where they will discuss current school matters including what's happening this week, the logistics of middle school such as schedule changes or laptop updates, upcoming events such as plays or assemblies, field trips (Yosemite, Catalina Island or East Coast), Little Buddies and more!

Middle School Girls on the Blacktop


Afternoon Recess

Students will enjoy two supervised 15-minute recess periods, one in the mid-morning and one in the afternoon, where they can get some fresh air, relax their minds and enjoy time with their friends. 

Middle School Gardening Elective



Our Middle School students choose from an extensive selection of exciting and varied elective courses, representing the broad expertise of our faculty and the dynamic interests of the students themselves. ACDS is committed to helping shape well-rounded learners with experience in a range of topics and interests. To support this goal, our electives program offers courses required for ACDS graduation including Public Speaking, one Community Service elective, one Fine Arts or Drama course, and one Global & Cultural Awareness course.  Most electives run for one trimester, allowing students to explore a number of subject areas in everything from World Languages to Fine Arts/Drama to STEM to Community Service and more over the course of their three years in Middle School.

Physical Education


Physical Education

The Middle School program further expands on these competencies to include “Fitness for Life” studies and team sports. Middle School students participate in physical education three times a week.

The program’s goal is providing exposure to a variety of athletic activities and basic nutrition, with an emphasis on effort rather than skill — all while instilling a joy of movement, having fun cooperatively, learning sportsmanship, and achieving improved physical fitness.

Middle school students also have an opportunity to take sport-related electives, including basketball. In basketball, students of all skill levels work on the fundamentals of the game including shooting, dribbling, passing and defensive skills.

Middle School Girls Basketball


After School Activities, Clubs, Sports and More

An ACDS student's life is rich and filled with many curricular and extracurricular opportunities, inside and outside of school hours, including interest-based activities, clubs, sports, mentoring, visiting speakers and authors, and field trips.

Clubs and activities range from athletics, musical theater, band, choirs, coding, chess, robotics, mathematics, and more! We also offer activities during school breaks and during the summer. ACDS balances curricular and the extracurricular learning opportunities for a well-rounded child. Learn more at Student Life.

Sample schedules are only examples of a typical day in middle school. Actual timetables will vary across grades.