Middle Years Program

MYP 6-8

Middle Years Program

The MYP is a challenging framework that encourages students to make practical connections between their studies and the real world.

The Alturas International Academy uses the Middle Years Program (MYP) designed by the International Baccalaureate (IB)* which aims to develop active learners and internationally minded young people who can empathize with others and pursue lives of purpose and meaning.

The program empowers students to inquire into a wide range of issues and ideas of significance locally, nationally and globally. The result is young people who are creative, critical and reflective thinkers.

The Middle Years Program (MYP) helps students develop both subject-specific and interdisciplinary understanding. The MYP curriculum framework includes:

  • Approaches to learning (ATL), helping students learn how to learn by developing skills for research, critical and creative thinking, communication, collaboration, and self-management
  • Key and related concepts, helping students explore big ideas that matter
  • Global contexts, helping students understand the relevance and importance of their study for understanding their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet.
Discovery:

Alturas' teachers aim to give students the thrill of independent discovery. The spirit of inquiry guides the curricula across subjects and students are encouraged to actively generate their own knowledge. Students engage in research, determine their own direction of learning, and apply knowledge to real-world problems. They work collaboratively on projects that synthesize and showcase their learning.

Holistic approach:

The Middle Years Program (MYP) provides a holistic learning environment through an interdisciplinary approach and integrated inquiry-based learning. It offers math and science curriculum that inspires confidence and a growth mindset. Our humanities and language courses promote critical and reflective thinking, writing, and communication skills. Consideration is given to the needs of students beyond the academic realm, where social and emotional development is also a priority.

Global connections:

Our community provides a shared starting point for internationally-minded inquiry, framing a curriculum that promotes multilingualism and global engagement. Students at Alturas are offered Spanish in the language acquisition program. No prior knowledge is required.

Experienced, Caring Teachers: 

Teachers and staff know students on an individual basis and provide frequent and personalized feedback to help students reach their fullest potential. They support students in meeting the demands of this crucial period of personal, social, and intellectual development.

 

APPROACHES TO LEARNING (ATL)

One of the threads that connect all three programs in the IB are the Approaches to Learning (ATL) Skills, a set of skills that students need as they prepare for a world where 65% of current students will have a job that doesn’t exist yet. (World Economic Forum). The three top skills that our students will need are complex problem solving, critical thinking, and creativity (World Economic Forum). These skills are more valued by future employers than basic academic skills gained in schools. To make sure our students master these skills, we have oriented our curriculum around the IB’s ATL Skills. There are five groups of ATL Skills in the IB:

  • Communication skills
  • Social skills
  • Self-management skills
  • Research skills
  • Thinking skills

These skills are carefully aligned across all subjects, the help drives our students to become proficient in the areas they need to become truly successful in the 21st-century work environment. (Source)

Courses

Language & Literature – English

The English department encourages and enables students to develop the skills involved in speaking, listening, reading, writing, viewing, and presenting in a variety of contexts through the study of a wide range of texts and media from different cultures, genres, and historical periods. Students develop critical and creative approaches to analysis, an appreciation of reading, and oral and written communication skills.

Language Acquisition – Spanish

Students have the opportunity to have Spanish as an acquisition language.

Mathematics

Students at Alturas are guided towards their own discovery of mathematical properties and creation of mathematical rules. They are encouraged to apply their learning to unfamiliar situations, investigate patterns, communicate mathematically, and reflect logically on the meaning and validity of their solutions.

Science

Science in middle school is a hands-on program that allows students to make their own scientific discoveries. The program takes an integrated approach to the scientific method in 6th grade. In 7th grade, an emphasis is placed on biology and physics, and the 8th grade continues with a deeper study of physics and chemistry.

Individuals & Societies

The Individuals and Societies (IAS) course is a combination of social studies, history, and geography. Students begin with a focus on early civilizations in their first year, studying through modern history by the time they complete the Middle Years Program.

Visual Arts

The Visual Arts course is designed as an introduction to fine arts. In exploring concepts, media, and techniques, students learn about their artistic processes as a means of visual communication.

Design and Media

The design team supports students in creating projects that showcase their creativity, technical skills, and the ability to work collaboratively. Students are encouraged to explore a variety of materials in the creation of products and solutions to complete a task or meet a need.

Physical & Health Education

The P.E. program’s goals are to encourage active participation in sports and to encourage an understanding of the importance of a balanced, healthy lifestyle. PE not only helps with the development of physical skills but encourages positive group dynamics and fair play.

Performing Arts – Music

The music department aims to give students a well-rounded education in music theory, history, and performance. The range of units allows students to learn about music through various lenses, giving them a breadth of knowledge that can be transferred into any aspect of music.

Service in Action

Service in Action is integrated into the IB MYP Program each school year. The goal is for students to learn to be active, empathetic members of society by volunteering their time and exploring other realms of service within their community.

Local Trips

Field trips to museums, parks, corporations, and science and technology facilities are a valued part of the inquiry-based real-world education.

*Alturas International Academy is a candidate school** for the MYP. This school is pursuing authorization as an IB World School. IB World Schools share a common philosophy- a commitment to high-quality, challenging, international education- that we believe is important for our students.

** Only schools authorized by the IB Organization can offer any of its four academic programmes: the Primary Years Programme (PYP), the Middle Years Programme (MYP), the Diploma Programme (DP), or the Career-related Programme (CP). Candidate status gives no guarantee that authorization will be granted. For further information about the IB and its programmes visit http://www.ibo.org