Middle School Program Highlights at Penn Central Middle School

Penn Central’s instructional program is structured using five CORE academic teams (two 6th Grade Teams-Team NIKE and The Olympians, one 7th Grade Team- The Legends, one 8th Grade Team-The Patriots, and a split team including both 7th and 8th graders-The Navigators). In sixth grade, academic subjects delivered on the CORE team include language arts, reading, science, math, and social studies. During an enrichment period within CORE time students also engage in computer education, writer’s workshop, hands-on equations, spelling, and literature circles. The sixth grade library curriculum is infused throughout the term within various CORE subjects.

In 7th and 8th grades academic subjects delivered on CORE teams include English, mathematics, science, social studies, and computer education. Developmental reading is taught to seventh graders three days of each six-day cycle; technology education to eighth graders. This team approach enhances the opportunity for thematic, interdisciplinary instruction, close monitoring of students’ academic and social progress, and desirable parent communication. All CORE teams also have the opportunity to vary student grouping and instructional time using a flexible block schedule. The team approach, a hallmark of effective middle schools, is meant to foster a sense of belonging for students as these 4-6 teachers share common planning time and the responsibility to deliver instruction for a “smaller learning community” of approximately 130 students.

The Pennridge middle school program inaugurated in the 1998-99 school term is also unique in its approach in that reading, technology education, and computer education are members of the CORE team. Gifted programming in the form of a special seminar replaces developmental reading in Grade 7 and a quarter of wellness in Grade 8. Gifted seminar for sixth graders takes place during the enrichment period. Remedial services in reading and mathematics take place using both pull out and push in strategies. Special education services are delivered in a “co-teaching” environment in each of the four core disciplines. Other than our life skills program, there are no resource room programs in special education.Serving all students and providing opportunities for personal development and exploration is a team of “ENCORE” teachers. These subjects include art, family and consumer science, music, and wellness (health and physical education). Additionally, all eighth graders study foreign language, taking either Level I or conversational study in French, German, and/or Spanish. The eleventh period or “activity period” is a special time in each student’s day. This is a time devoted to independent study, academic tutoring, ensemble and large group music performance, drama, school wide assemblies, and a diversified club program.