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Middle school

CURRICULUM
KauaiMSweAREamerica23-268
HTA’s blended learning program consists of three components:
face-to-face classes, virtual instruction, and experiential learning.
This academic approach allows for a flexible schedule that enables students to learn in an environment that best serves their individual needs. An integral part of our program is our partnership with our Learning Coaches who support and enable us to provide the best education for our students. Building strong relationships with our students and families is essential to the success of the program and to the success of our students.

Curriculum overview

Middle school students take courses in the four core content areas of Mathematics, English Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies. As a public charter school, HTA courses align with the Hawai‘i Common Core State Standards. These standards are designed to prepare students for college and career readiness.The Hawai’i Common Core Standards is not a curriculum, but rather the collection of standards that define what each student should understand or be able to complete at each grade level. The instructional learning platform for students in grades 6-8 is Canvas. Teachers create their own authentic lessons, activities, and assessments to supplement the online curricular resources.

The blended week

Monday

Student Support

Field Studies

Independent work

Tuesday

Zoom classes

Wednesday

On campus

Thursday

Zoom classes

Friday

On campus

Elements of the HTA experience

Instruction at HTA is delivered in a variety of formats, including face-to-face, synchronous virtual, experiential, and asynchronous online. There are many different approaches to teaching students during face-to-face instruction. Among those most often used are: whole group, small group, collaborative activities, and labs. These same modes of instruction can be applied in the virtual setting as well. HTA uses Zoom for its virtual platform. Online instruction at HTA includes Canvas lessons, teacher-created lessons, teacher-designed projects, and teacher-selected online curriculum. Students also take part in independent learning through the guidance of a parent or guardian Learning Coach and support from a certified teacher.

Students participate in work that is authentic, relevant and engaging. Whether it is developing an understanding of marine mammal conservation efforts at Dolphin Quest or learning how to use television equipment with Hōʻike, they are connecting with their community and the world around them. Through Field Studies and Experiential Learning, our students have steady opportunities to practice and refine the skills needed to thrive in a rapidly changing world. They grow and progress in their ability to apply HTA’s set of key, 21st century skills and traits in real-world contexts.

What is experiential learning?
Experiential learning is the process by which students develop knowledge, skills, and values from direct experiences. These experiences occur outside a traditional academic setting. HTA’s Field Studies allow students to apply their education outside the classroom.

Our middle school teachers love to have a good time! Depending on the interests and suggestions of students, they plan a variety of activities that address socio-emotional needs as well. This could include dances, movies, activities and games, or ‘Ohana Days.
The middle school years are full of exploration and experimentation, with activities that promote positive habits for life. To this aim, the MS team strives to offer a robust selection of enrichment options during the school day as well as after-school clubs. They are open to all levels of ability and interest. Club offerings are based on student interest, and may run the gamut from arts and crafts, writing and literacy, science and robotics, to gaming and eSports.
As a blended learning program, we recognize the critical role that parents and guardians play in the education of their children. Therefore, a robust curriculum of Learning Coach workshops is offered throughout the school year to ensure that parents or guardians are equipped with the necessary tools and strategies to support their children’s education. At the start of each new school year, mandatory Learning Coach 101 training introduces Learning Coaches to the basics of HTA’s schoolwide information system, HonuHub, as well as the main curriculum platform, Canvas. Additional Learning Coach training offered throughout the year includes:
Learning Coach 102: Effective Note-Taking Strategies
Research Presentations – Start to Finish!
Google 101/GAFE (Google Apps for Education)
Technology is a critical component of HTA blended learning programs. All students are required to have a laptop to complete school work and are encouraged to participate in our computer loan program. HTA uses Canvas as the instructional learning platform. This provides a predictable learning routine and seamlessly blends content and the best-in-class technology to create a pathway for students to own their learning. Canvas allows teachers to create their own curriculum and collaborate with their peers across our statewide network of campuses. 

HTA also uses supplemental programs (IXL, Read Theory, Delta Math, Desmos, PHET, Gizmos, Zearn, and more) for diagnostic, remediation, extra practice, and virtual simulations in math and science to enhance and model complex concepts.

Teachers create digital collaboration opportunities between students or between the teacher and students via Zoom, shared Google Documents or Google Slides, digital whiteboards, Google Hangouts, Flipgrid, or Nearpod. Students are strongly encouraged to engage in the creative communication of ideas, that is, student generated videos, websites, and presentations.
We believe education should be more than the accumulation of knowledge. Learning at HTA is a process of discovery and transformation that comes through pursuing individual passions and encountering new ways of viewing the world. Our community partnerships are a hallmark of an exemplary education that adds rigor, relevance and relations to student learning. HTA teachers work with a variety of community partners to give our students opportunities to practice and refine cognitive skills and dispositions in the real world. Community partnerships help extend learning beyond the classroom, giving both teachers and students the opportunity to experiment with new approaches to teaching and to learning. At HTA, we are very fortunate to have a variety of experts and organizations willing to lend their expertise and their sites for student learning. The primary goal is to build positive relationships and implement ideas and projects that help solve challenges facing our community.

To be an effective teacher, educators must develop a deep understanding of the place they are working in and find ways to make that place central to their classroom practice. Knowledge of place and the cultural competency that goes along with it is primarily gained through building relationships with students, parents, and the wide variety of people who make up a school and its surrounding community. In addition, it is developed when teachers become deeply familiar with the school and community in which they work. This includes teachers taking students out to specific sites to experience Hawai‘i’s natural environment and learn about the various ways in which the history, economics, geography, and politics of Hawai‘i give context and opportunities for students to apply knowledge. HTA teachers make Field Studies and community events an integral part of their curriculum to encourage place-based learning.

It is important that students sometimes take an extended period to delve deeply into a problem or an investigation that addresses an inquiry question. The experiential nature of PBL often takes the students beyond the four walls of the classroom, whether through the use of technology or by physically walking out of their school doors. As a result of these learning experiences, students gain deeper content knowledge and the critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills that will enable them to be successful in their higher education pursuits, in the workforce, and as engaged members of their community.

SCHOOL COUNSELING
HTA strives to create a safe, inclusive, and supportive school community. The Middle School Counseling Office is a critical part of this process. Counselors and Administrators work as a team to support students through the complexities of adolescence. Neighbor islands have one counselor serving students in all grades. On our Waipahu campus, each division has an assigned counselor who stays with them throughout their middle school years. In this way, the counselors form strong and trusting relationships with students and families.

Middle School counselors enhance the learning process and promote academic, career, and social/emotional development. School counseling programs are essential for students to achieve optimal personal growth, acquire positive social skills and values, set informed career goals, and realize their full academic potential to become productive, contributing members of the world community.

ADVISORY

HTA’s Advisory program promotes meaningful relationships between faculty and students while providing academic and social/emotional support. Through weekly sessions with their advisor, students experience a smaller, more personalized learning environment designed to monitor and support personal well-being and college and career readiness. Each student, along with their counselor and advisor, develops a personalized learning profile (PLP) to map out their individual educational path and set academic and personal goals, which are then presented each semester in student-led conferences.

WEEKLY STUDENT SUPPORT SCHEDULE

Every week, students have a scheduled time when they can come to campus to receive small group support with school work and projects. In addition, students can also reach out to their teachers remotely for one-on-one support in a virtual setting.

PROFESSIONAL LEARNING COMMUNITIES

To further support students, teachers meet regularly in Professional Learning Communities to analyze student data and review curricular components. Collaboratively, they are able to address student concerns and develop methods to improve instruction for students who are struggling. Through these collaborative relationships, teachers are able to plan cross-curricular learning experiences for students and share in discussions on educational best practices.

ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS

These standards-based courses emphasize and integrate all areas of the language arts, building upon skills in reading, writing, and oral communication at each grade level, which are experienced as interrelated and interactive processes operating in meaning-rich contexts. Students develop their ability to use language for communication, for learning and reflection, and for personal and social fulfillment. They improve their ability to use written and spoken language for a variety of purposes and audiences. They come to understand the many facets of human experience through literature. Students are expected to ask hard questions, think critically, solve problems, and apply analytical skills.

Themes by grade:
Grade 6: Identity
Grade 7: Choices
Grade 8: Challenge

English Language Arts Learning Objectives 6-8
• Read closely and analyze both literary and nonfiction texts
• Analyze relationships among author’s purpose, literary/stylistic devices, rhetorical appeals, and desired effects for intended audiences
• Write with attention to selecting textual evidence and organizational patterns according to purpose and audience
• Write to interpret and evaluate multiple perspectives in literature
• Develop the control of language and command of conventions required for academic writing
• Discuss and collaborate with your peers to explore and express your ideas
• Explore multiple perspectives by reading a variety of texts—both fiction and nonfiction—that introduce you to different ways of thinking, writing, and communicating
• Examine writing from the perspective of a reader and writer and learn techniques that good writers use to communicate their message effectively
• Gain a deep understanding of topics, enabling you to apply your learning to new and varied situations
• Take ownership of your learning by practicing and selecting strategies that work for you
• Reflect on your growth and showcase your best work as a reader, writer, speaker, and listener

MATHEMATICS

Everyone can be a math person. Math classes at HTA are driven by the Eight Math Practices and real-world projects. Like traditional math classes, HTA students practice procedural mathematical skills and they improve their math fluency, but they also use the Math Practices to solve real-world problems. Students are encouraged to use math skills as tools rather than as an end result. We use resources from Singapore Math Dimensions, Desmos, Delta Math, and Zearn.

Math Practices 
1. Understand and persevere
2. Logic and reasoning
3. Justify and critique
4. Model with mathematics
5. Strategically use tools
6. Attend to precision
7. Utilize structure
8. Utilize patterns

Math 6-8: Dimensions Math

Algebra 8: This course content includes data analysis, linear functions, linear equations and inequalities, and systems of equations in two variables. Content includes nonlinear functions, exponents, products, and factors of polynomials, quadratic equations, the real number system, and radical expressions.

SCIENCE

The HTA science curriculum is aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The focus of NGSS is a recognition of the “distinct and equally important dimensions to learning science.” The NGSS standards complement the overall philosophy of the school with respect to project-based learning, deeper learning, design thinking, and student’s voice and choice initiatives. Middle school science lessons focus on discovery and analysis of phenomenon as students are encouraged to use evidence and reasoning to construct explanations. Students apply scientific skills (observation, microscopy, data collection/graphing, etc) when they are doing science investigation.

NGSS SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING PRACTICES

1. Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)
2. Developing and using models
3. Planning and carrying out investigations
4. Analyzing and interpreting data
5. Using mathematics and computational thinking
6. Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)
7. Engaging in argument from evidence
8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

NGSS CROSS-CUTTING CONCEPTS

Patterns: Observed patterns of forms and events guide organization and classification and prompt questions about relationships and the factors that influence them.
Cause and effect: Mechanism and explanation. Events have causes, sometimes simple, sometimes multifaceted. A major activity of science is investigating and explaining causal relationships and the mechanisms by which they are mediated. Such mechanisms can then be tested across given contexts and used to predict and explain events in new contexts.
Scale, proportion, and quantity: In considering phenomena, it is critical to recognize what is relevant at different measures of size, time, and energy and to recognize how changes in scale, proportion, or quantity affect a system’s structure or performance.
Systems and system models: Defining the system under study — specifying its boundaries and making explicit a model of that system — provides tools for understanding and testing ideas that are applicable throughout science and engineering.
Energy and matter: Flows, cycles, and conservation. Tracking fluxes of energy and matter into, out of, and within systems helps one understand the systems’ possibilities and limitations.
Structure and function: The way in which an object or living thing is shaped and its substructure determine many of its properties and functions.
Stability and change: For natural and built systems alike, conditions of stability and determinants of rates of change or evolution of a system are critical elements of study.

GRADE 6: PHYSICAL SCIENCE

In Grade 6, students are engaged as scientists and engineers as they explore natural phenomena and design problems across different units that focus on physical science. Some selected concepts in Earth Space, Life Science, and technology and engineering will also be integrated when appropriate. As scientists and engineers, students use models and collect evidence to support their claims and explanations about patterns, systems, and structure-function relationships in various contexts. This course uses a hands-on approach in laboratory discovery that requires students to use critical thinking and problem-solving skills based on the scientific method. Students should expect to find the curriculum rigorous and engaging as the course will include collaborative work, project-based learning, and interactions with different specialists in our community.

GRADE 7: LIFE SCIENCE

In Grade 7, students explore natural and designed systems and cycles, some that are concrete and easily observable, and others that are more abstract. The focus of this class includes concepts in life science, and students will use their knowledge of Earth systems, ecosystem dynamics, energy systems, and technological systems to enhance their understanding. Students will answer real-world questions and solve real-world problems. The course uses a hands-on approach in laboratory discovery that requires students to utilize critical thinking and problem-solving skills based on the scientific method. Students should expect to find the curriculum rigorous and engaging as the course will include collaborative work, project-based learning, and interactions with different specialists in our community.

GRADE 8: EARTH SPACE

In this course, students explore more complex phenomena, systems, and cycles. As scientists and engineers, students analyze patterns and make predictions about future events as they investigate real-world phenomena and design processes across different units that focus on Earth and space sciences. Some life science, physical science, and technology/engineering skills will be reviewed and integrated throughout this class. The course uses a hands-on approach in laboratory discovery that requires students to use critical thinking and problem-solving skills based on the scientific method. Students should expect to find the curriculum rigorous and engaging as the course will include collaborative work, project-based learning, and interactions with specialists in our community.

SOCIAL STUDIES

Social Studies Anchor Standards

Anchor standards remain the same through all grades and courses. Anchor standards provide lenses through which the essential skills and disciplinary knowledge of inquiry and action are practiced and applied. Anchor standards 1-5 are inquiry-based while standards 6-19 are disciplinary-based. Not every anchor standard is in every grade or course, but each student will have the opportunity to address all anchor standards by the time they complete grades 5, 8, and 12.

 

Inquiry Anchor Standards

Anchor Standard 1: Developing questions and planning inquiries

Anchor Standard 2: Gathering and Evaluating Sources

Anchor Standard 3: Creating Claims

Anchor Standard 4: Communicating Conclusions

Anchor Standard 5: Taking Informed Action

 

Content Anchor Standards

Civics Anchor Standard 6: Civic and Politics Institutions

Civics Anchor Standard 7: Civic Virtues and Democratic Principles

Civics Anchor Standard 8: Processes, Rules, and Laws

Economics Anchor Standard 9: Economic Decision Making

Economics Anchor Standard 10: Exchange and Markets

Economics Anchor Standard 11: The National Economy

Economics Anchor Standard 12: The Global Economy

Geography Anchor Standard 13: Geographic Representations: Spatial Views of the World

Geography Anchor Standard 14: Human-Environment Interaction: Place, Regions, and Movement.

Geography Anchor Standard 15; Human-Population: Spatial Patterns and Movements

Geography Anchor Standard 16: Global Interconnections: Changing Spatial Patterns

History Anchor Standard 17: Change, Continuity, and Context

History Anchor Standard 18: Perspectives

History Anchor Standard 19: Causation and Argumentation

 

GRADE 6 – WORLD HISTORY

This year-long course examines the historical, cultural, and political perspectives of various world societies. This scope of study spans Prehistory through the Modern Era. Throughout the year, students will be tasked to use the tools and methods of various social scientists to inquire about the similarities and differences between cultures as well as interactions between cultures and the evolution of these cultures, past and present.

 

GRADE 7 – HAWAIIAN HISTORY AND CIVICS

One part of the course examines the important people and events of the monarchy era in Hawai‘i. The scope of study spans from Kamehameha’s Unification of the Hawaiian Islands through the Overthrow of Queen Lili‘uokalani. Throughout the semester, students will be tasked to think critically and analyze the political, social/cultural, and economic influences on life in Hawai‘i.

The other part of the course analyzes the Civics in the United States. This portion of the course covers information on culture, identity, and diversity. In addition, content from this portion examines the three branches of government, how laws are made, and (protection of individual liberties from the national government, how various political views shape governments at the local, state and national levels, and how each and every one of us plays a role in our democracy.)

 

GRADE 8 – U.S. HISTORY

This year-long course examines the development of the U.S. government as well as the key people and events of early U.S. history. The scope of study spans the Declaration of Independence through the end of the Reconstruction Era.

Throughout the year, students will be tasked to think critically and analyze the development of our government as well as key events in U.S. history while incorporating multiple perspectives into their understanding.

HTA’s 5 core values

The Five Cores are character, collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking.

HTA’s Cores of Collaboration, Character, Communication, Critical Thinking, and Creativity are embedded throughout all lessons. We believe these cores promote academic excellence, as well as the development of important social and emotional skills.

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