It has been my great honor and privilege to lead the ISW Middle School Division in its pursuit of academic excellence and wholistic development. Over the past two years we have seen many incredibly positive additions and changes in the MS academic program, and already have exciting plans in store for the future. Alongside an amazing group of talented teachers; our middle school curriculum, technology and resources can now support the vast needs of students from a multitude of nationalities, cultures and English language abilities.. As we look to the future, our hope is to continually improve the current services we have, increase the unique educational opportunities and activities we provide our students, while maintaining the family environment that make ISW the best educational option for students in Wuxi, China.
Middle School Principal
The ISW curriculum provides a holistic program that balances the development of concepts, skills and character. Our approach focuses on the total growth of the developing child addressing social, physical, emotional and cultural needs in addition to academic welfare.
Our program focuses on guided inquiry, collaboration and communication as approaches to teaching and learning to provide an environment that fosters the development of problem solving and critical thinking as well as subject competencies.
The subjects of Language Arts, History, Geography, Science, and Mathematics are taught by the classroom teacher. Whenever possible, transdisciplinary links are made across subjects to maximize learning connections.
Chinese, PE, Music and Visual Arts are taught by Specialists to form a comprehensive, varied and rich Lower School experience. Technology is used as a tool that enhances and broadens the scope and quality of student learning.
The language of instruction is English, with additional support for non-English speakers.
ISW’s middle school science classes are based on an Integrated Science Curriculum. From 6th, through 8th grade students study Earth, Physical, and Life Science. Through the understanding of each of these fields students are able to gain an greater understanding of the structure of the world around them. Each grade level allows for deeper understanding based on previously learned knowledge. During these courses students also learn the Scientific Method and put their learning to practice through labs and other science projects.
Through our English Language Arts and Social Sciences programs ISW combines literature and histories to cover an overall study of humanities. The History and Social Science portion begins in 6th grade coving world geography, this allows students to gain and understanding of the world layout, cultures, and people groups. Students then can build on this framework knowledge in 7th grade studying the ancient world and civilizations. In 8th grade the focus shifts to modern history and government. On the English Language Arts side students focus on writing Narratives, Informational Pieces, and Persuasive/Argumentative Pieces. This gives students a foundational framework for composing written language that prepares them for high school course work. The students also read through fiction and non-fiction. Through all the Language Arts courses speaking and listening skills are being practiced and perfected.
6th grade math combines the practice of foundational math skills with an exploration of basic pre-algebraic and geometric concepts. Topics include: whole number operations, decimal, and fraction computation; variables and variable expressions; data displays; probability; integers; congruence; similarity; and geometric figures.
In 7th grade, students begin Pre-Algebra by reviewing negative numbers and variables. The focus of the course then shifts to solving equations, beginning with simple one-step equations and building to more complex, multi-step equations. Additional topics include fractions, rates, ratios, proportions, and percentages, with an emphasis on the inclusion of variables. To prepare students for Algebra, we cover linear equations and basic graphing techniques.
In 8th grade, Algebra I builds on the work accomplished in Pre-Algebra. Students explore increasingly complex linear functions and equation manipulation. Students also explore exponential and quadratic equations, FOILing and factoring, properties of exponents, some basics in trigonometry.
Students have the opportunity to learn and begin to apply a variety of techniques including but not limited to: sketching, perspective, shading, color theory, still life, anime, and acrylic painting. Students will also learn about different artist and some art history as they explore what it means to be an artist.
Middle School is a time of self-exploration when students often come out of their shells, embracing opportunities for expression and attention. The opposite is also true, with introverts sometimes shying away from the spotlight. Middle School students may choose between choir and band, and also have the option of taking Theatre. The middle school performing arts program builds upon the knowledge learned in Lower School, while beginning to delve into greater depth in and instrumental repertoire.
Overall, it is our goal that Middle School students graduate to the High School as self-sufficient musicians with a knowledge of instrumental technique and an appreciation of the work it takes to produce a unified performance.
The middle school physical education program gives our students a physical outlet during the school day and teaches them foundational skills for participation in competitive and recreational athletics at ISW including soccer, volleyball, basketball, track and field, tennis and lacrosse.
Classes are held in the school gymnasium and the outdoor turf field at ISW. The goal of the middle school PE program is to create an inclusive atmosphere where students can participate in new sports and build the confidence to take part in ISW sports at a competitive level.
At ISW we understand all too well that living abroad and going to school away from home and old friends can be challenging for children of all ages. The difficulties they struggle with are not always visible or clearly expressed. If not addressed, this can affect their behavior as well as their academic performance.
Our school counselor, Ms. Lianne Ong, meets with students who may be having emotional or social difficulties and help determine the best courses of action, which may include a recommendation of counseling. Conversations are confidential. Counselors are available on campus to individuals or groups of students for discussion of problems relating to emotional growth, social adjustment, academic achievement or any other issue.
Appointments may be made by emailing or visiting Ms. Ong.
ENGLISH LANGUAGE SUPPORT
The Middle School has developed a multi-track program to effectively accommodate students’ varying English language support needs. The entire program is based on the WiDA English Language Standards that are well-known and effectively used in international schools around the world. These standards address a student’s ability to read, write, speak and listen, using the English language.
Through the WiDA English Score students are placed into the following tracks
- Grades 6, 7, & 8
- English Proficiency Above a Score of 5.0
- Little to No Language Support
ELL Support Track
- Grades 6, 7, & 8 (as staff allows)
- English Proficiency Within a Score of 4.0 – 4.9 Level
- Generally Push-in Support with Pull-Out Support When Needed
IET Support Track
- Grades 6, 7*, & 8**
- English Proficiency Within a Score of 1.0 – 3.9
- Entirely Pull-Out Support and Modified Curriculum
MS. LIANNE ONG
The best learning is active and engaged. It can be found in ordinary places. Take our open gym nights or our Middle School dance troupe practices, for example. These activities energize students and help them to see the holistic connections between mind, body, and spirit. Activities outside the classroom are not merely add-ons to the core curriculum. They are a continuous enrichment, a way to sustain and deepen learning.
At ISW we believe that co-curricular activities are an important part of education that extends beyond the classroom. Co-curricular activities provides motivation for learning, character building, physical growth ad creativity while developing confidence and educating the whole child. Students are encouraged to participate and explore all opportunities that interest them. Students who are involved in Co-curricular opportunities become more invested in the school experience, therefore increasing the opportunity for higher academic performance and social well-being.