YCIS Silicon Valley’s new Middle School program (Grades 6–8) prepares leaders for a global future where East meets West.
YCIS Silicon Valley’s Middle School program supports students to discover their passions, express their voices, and build meaningful relationships. Within a safe, supportive learning environment, middle schoolers grow as compassionate and ethical agents of change ready for a global world.
A Balanced Education
YCIS Silicon Valley’s balanced and well-rounded curriculum for Middle School is designed to increase student engagement while taking into consideration multiple intelligences and individual learning styles. Students will experience individual and shared learning opportunities to develop reasoning, draw conclusions, and comprehend cause and effect. Teachers mentor students as they explore new lab techniques, participate in seamless and thoughtful technology integration, conduct comprehensive research, discover meaning in math, employ sophisticated writing processes, express themselves creatively through the arts, and think critically from a variety of perspectives in a dual language and cross-cultural learning environment.
The foundation of this challenging program of relevant content and rigorous skill development is a solid relationship between the student and teacher. Teachers guide students through animated discussions and active learning as they strive to reach their full academic and emotional intelligence potential. In all of our classes, we value students’ opinions, encourage them to use their voice, and support them to present differing opinions constructively. Students learn from their teachers and from one another.
Core Academic Curriculum
The English curriculum emphasizes the exploration of great literature in a wide variety of genres. Students develop their abilities to critically analyze texts and to coherently express their ideas and arguments verbally and in writing. As students develop competence in the writing process and how techniques are used to achieve different purposes, they grow as skilled writers producing increasingly complex essays and research papers. Reading and writing skill development is integrated throughout the curriculum and particularly with History/Humanities. The English curriculum is aligned to the Common Core State Standards.
The aim of the Math curriculum is to empower students to inquire, to think critically and to solve problems creatively. Students master mathematics concepts, computational skills, problem-solving, and application of mathematics in daily life. The Singapore Math program is utilized for Grades 6 to 7. In preparation for rigorous high school mathematics, students in Grade 8 develop their confidence and facility with mathematical modeling and analysis in Algebra I.
Science is aligned with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) as developed by the National Research Council. Students learn science by doing science with the research-based FOSS science curriculum for grades K–8 developed by the Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California, Berkeley. Based on the premise that science should be collaborative, hands-on and encourage the critical and creative thinking skills for success in the 21st century, the FOSS program gradually builds students’ skills in the scientific process: to observe, to think, to test and to explain. FOSS utilizes a multimedia approach, integrates reading, writing, and mathematics, and extends classroom learning outdoors.
Aligned with California state content standards, the history/humanities curriculum covers World Geography and Cultures in Grade 6, World History in Grade 7 and US History in Grade 8. Students focus on what influences their idea of history while writing and presenting critical analysis of information using various technologies, media, and methods of presentation to assume the roles of both teacher and student. Students look for patterns in history and identify conflicting points of view. They engage in active discussion, debate, and simulations. Discovery Education’s digital Social Studies Techbook supports student learning with multimedia content that is current and relevant while strengthening literacy, critical thinking, and citizenship skills. The inquiry-based format and interactive investigations emphasize informational text literacy, analytical writing, and problem solving skills that students will apply in academics and as citizens.
Interdisciplinary studies between English and the Humanities/History are evident through the mindful selection of literature students will analyze throughout middle school.
The YCIS Chinese Studies curriculum is unique, research-based and carefully structured to build fluency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. With three levels of Chinese Studies per grade level, the curriculum is designed to meet the needs of advanced, intermediate and novice Mandarin learners. Beginners learn simplified Chinese, while experienced students continue learning in either traditional or simplified. Eighth grade students will have the option to take the College Board AP Chinese Language Exam. See Chinese Studies (K-8) for further information.
Music and Visual Art
Highly valued in both eastern and western cultures, the Arts are an essential component of the YCIS curriculum. They build cultural awareness, discipline, and creative self-expression while encouraging the development of mental capabilities that foster flexible, divergent, original, fluent and imaginative thinking. Students are exposed to a variety of artistic styles from around the globe. While music and art are integrated into many subjects at YCIS, students receive formal training during weekly Music and Art lessons.
Music: The music program provides students with the opportunity to develop their innate musicality while fostering life-long participation in the arts. All students develop a deeper understanding of the importance of music in human civilization and a stronger personal connection to a wide variety of music through Music Theory and Appreciation. Students also have the option to join Choir and/or Orchestra as electives. All students develop their abilities to perform at school and community events throughout the year.
Visual Art: Students experiment with and investigate a wide variety of art materials, processes and media during visual arts instruction. Through examination of their own work and that of other people, times, and places, students gain deeper appreciation of the essence, purpose, and value of art in culture. As students grow in their ability to describe, interpret, evaluate, and respond to works in the visual arts, they also develop their own abilities to communicate thoughts, ideas and feelings through art.
Health and Physical Education
Participation in a variety of physical activity fosters in students a lifetime of healthy habits, personal well-being, and the values of teamwork and sportsmanship. Physical education as well as regular recess times are an essential part of a balanced education.
The Middle School athletics program emphasizes appropriate social, conceptual, and skill development for an assortment of sports and activities. Good sportsmanship and appropriate conduct are of equal importance to winning. Learning to be gracious in victory and defeat is a goal. Students are taught to be as cooperative as they are competitive, and understand that actions on and off the field reflect on one's self and one's school. In addition to PE classes, students may choose to participate in intra-school soccer and touch football during lunchtime or inter-school athletics after school.
The development of good character and a strong inner moral compass is as essential to success as academic excellence. YCIS students collaborate to share their inner powers of love, initiative, discipline, courage, and contribution through the Reconnect program. The interdependent subjects and themes of the Reconnect program naturally incorporate multiple intelligences and learning styles. Each engaging theme is part of a big idea that can be integrated with all other subject areas.
Students are challenged to create their own inspiring journeys which have positive impacts upon the school, the community, and the world. Our youth unlock the magic of character development by taking measurable, meaningful, student-driven actions throughout the year. Students grow as leaders by working together to tackle social issues that are important to them through authentic project-based learning with high-quality products or performances at the end of each unit.
Technology and Digital Learning
At YCIS, we believe students must be technologically fluent and agile in a fast-changing world. To be an effective educational tool, technology must be readily accessible. While hands-on and cooperative learning are essential, technology gives access to resources and provides different perspectives that can engage a wide range of different learning styles. Smartboards, Chromebooks, iPads, subject-specific software, and other technologies offer students opportunities to enhance and expand their learning. Students in the Middle School will be issued personal Chromebooks and have access to iPads via the mobile technology lab. These tools also allow them to regularly document, share, and celebrate work and learning, inspiring the whole community to evolve.