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2512 George Mason Drive • P.O. Box 6038 Virginia Beach, Virginia 23456-0038   757.263.1000 • 757.263.1240 TDD

An Overview of the Middle School Years

Whether your child is a rising sixth grade student, anxiously awaiting his/her first day of middle school or a student currently enrolled in one of Virginia Beach City Public Schools' 15 middle schools or the Renaissance Academy, the information on this page serves as a guide and reminder to every student and parent of the importance of the middle school years -- grades six, seven and eight -- as part of the formal education process.

Please take the time to review this helpful information. Should you have any questions about middle school, please contact your child's middle school counselor who will be able to direct you to the most appropriate person for assistance.

The Middle School Model

All of Virginia Beach City Public Schools' 15 middle schools house students in grades six, seven, eight and employ the core team model of grouping students by grade levels. Students in a particular core team share the same schedule for core classes and electives and are placed on a two-teacher, three-teacher or four-teacher team. In middle school, students take many exploratory classes, sampling different curricula in areas such as art, music, foreign language, computer and technical and career-related courses.

Middle School Philosophy

During this period of transition and growth, middle-school-aged students are faced with many challenges such as developing responsibility and self-discipline, dealing with the effects of peer pressure, learning to access information and apply it both to real-world and academic problems, making the transition to independent and self-regulated learning and forming positive attitudes and values about themselves in relation to home, school and community. Middle school education is designed to provide a positive and supportive environment for all students in grades six, seven and eight.

The middle school program fosters maximum development of students' intellectual, physical, social and emotional abilities by addressing the unique developmental characteristics and individual needs of young adolescents in preparation for the challenges and opportunities presented during the high school years.

Required Classes

Students are required to take four courses in the core areas: English, mathematics, science and social studies. In grades six, seven and eight students are also required to take Health & Physical Education (PE). Students may qualify for advanced classes in English, mathematics and science with specific criteria for enrollment. Course descriptions are included in the Student Guide for Secondary Curriculum (grades six-12) distributed to all middle and high school students in the winter of each calendar year. All core courses meet a full school year.

Students may also enroll in rigorous high school credit courses, such as Algebra I, Geometry and/or Earth Science.

Graduation Requirements and Guidance Counselors

Graduation requirements are clearly outlined in the Student Guide for Secondary Curriculum (grades six-12). Students are encouraged to meet with their guidance counselor, either in a small group or individually, every year. Every middle school has a guidance office with staff available to answer questions about and provide assistance with a student's academic career. Guidance counselors can also help families understand school requirements and access the variety of resources that are available to support students.

Exploratories/Electives

In addition to core classes, there is a block of time allotted for taking exploratory/elective classes. Exploratory/elective classes are optional courses which provide students the opportunity to "explore" a variety of subjects/interests. These include art, computer skills, foreign languages, music and technical and career-related courses.

Depending upon the course, exploratory/elective courses vary in length of time offered. They meet for nine weeks (quarter), 18 weeks (semester) or a full academic year. For example, a sixth- or seventhth-grade student may choose to take four quarterly classes or two quarterly classes and a semester class or two semester classes or a year-long class. Eighth-grade exploratory/elective courses are either a year or semester in length.

Health & PE is required for eighth grade but may be waived.

A seventh- or eighth-grade student may also elect to take a foreign language class and/or keyboarding for high school credit.

Academic Achievement for All Students

A priority of Virginia Beach City Public Schools is to provide all the necessary school resources to ensure that every child has the opportunity to achieve his or her highest possible academic level. Students in need of extra help in order to achieve academic success are assisted by their classroom teachers or through other school-based remedial instruction. Students experiencing academic difficulty may also be referred to the Student Support Team.

Each student who meets the qualifications for special education is entitled to an Individualized Education Program (IEP). The IEP team comprises parents, school personnel and students, when appropriate, who work together in developing the IEP. Parents are a key factor in the development and implementation of an IEP. After the plan has been developed and approved, students are placed in the learning environment that most effectively meets their needs.

In compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, students with a disability are entitled to receive reasonable accommodations necessary for that student to access education or school-related programs and activities. Any child suspected of needing a Section 504 Plan should be referred to the Section 504 designee within the school the child attends. The designee will then initiate the process for determining whether the student meets the qualifications under this federal law.

Academy, Advanced Academic, and Gifted Programs

The Middle School Gifted Program serves students through a cluster/resource model or a full-time gifted school. Students may apply for admission to the gifted middle school, Old Donation School or students may choose to remain in their neighborhood schools and receive gifted instruction through the cluster/resource model. Either option allows gifted students to work to their potential through curricular opportunities which emphasize differentiated instruction, specialized programs and staff and the use of strategies designed especially to raise levels of thinking and learning.

The Middle Years International Baccalaureate Program, an Advanced Academic Program offered at Plaza Middle School, focuses on interdisciplinary, thematic instruction, which promotes international understanding and responsible citizenship. This five-year program begins in the middle school setting and continues in high school to provide the foundation for students who may be interested in pursuing the International Baccalaureate Program at Princess Anne High School.

Student Conduct

Virginia Beach City Public Schools strives to ensure that every school maintains classrooms and related school activities that are free of disruptive behavior. Consequences for every student in grades K-12 who does not support an optimum school environment are clearly outlined in the Code of Student Conduct. All parents should discuss with their child or children the importance of maintaining a safe environment in the classroom and at school-related activities.

Student Activities Programs

Interscholastic activities are available for students enrolled in middle school. These programs afford opportunities for students to organize and plan, assume leadership roles, gain recognition and identity, interact physically and emotionally and mature socially. Students are encouraged to participate in activities of their choice. In order to participate in interscholastic activities students are required to meet standards established by the school division.

Students are also provided the opportunity to participate in special interest groups/clubs and the intramural program (non-competitive activities). These supervised activities stress such life skills as goal setting, communication, group dynamics, organization, problem-solving skills, accessing community support and decision-making.

Tips to Help Your Child Succeed in Middle School

  • Help your child manage homework time and encourage him/her to complete work assignments. Contact your child's teachers for resources such as an agenda planner or other homework reminder system and/or a website to help your child succeed in school.
  • Work with your child to plan his/her middle school and high school courses. The courses your child selects in middle school make an impact on his/her high school education.
  • Show interest in your child's studies and activities by asking on a daily basis what he/she is learning and doing in school.
  • Discuss ideas and feelings about school, studies and activities. Be realistic about what your child can and should be able to do. If your child is in need of academic assistance, find out about the school's tutoring program and other options to help your child succeed.
  • Read and review with your child important information from his/her school and district. Informed parents can help their child adjust to the challenges of middle school and build a strong foundation for success.
  • Contact counselors, administrators and teachers periodically. Find out what your child should be learning, how he/she is progressing and how you can help. Be a full partner in your child's education.
  • Attending school every day is important. Contact your child's teacher if he/she is absent from school to obtain missed assignments.
  • Know your child's friends. Understand that children will become leaders and followers and can be easily influenced by you and peers.
  • Make it clear that your child must follow school rules and the Code of Student Conduct. Teach your child to respect people as well as property. Each parent of a student enrolled in Virginia Beach City Public Schools has a duty to assist the school division with enforcing the Code of Student Conduct to ensure that instruction and school-related activities are free of disruption.
  • Attend parent meetings, open houses, parent education groups and other activities for parents. Developing relationships at your child's school is very important for the success of your child.
  • Volunteer at school. Both your child and the school will benefit from your involvement. Contact your child's school to find out how you can be of assistance.

Below is a list of the most frequently asked questions by middle school students with corresponding answers. If you have a question that is not addressed in this list, please contact your middle school counselor.

How do I read my schedule and find my classes?

Prior to the start of each school year, every middle school conducts an orientation program. During these orientations, staff members are available to assist students with their schedule and provide an overview of the school building in order to familiarize students for the first day of middle school. Understanding that students are often overwhelmed on the first day of middle school, school staff members are always available to assist students with their needs, especially during the first several weeks of the school year.

How do I open my locker? I can't remember my combination.

First, take a deep breath and see if you can remember your combination. To help you remember your combination, please keep these numbers with you so you can refer to them should you have difficulty. If you cannot remember the combination, then go to your next class and ask that teacher to help you.

What if I need to use the restroom during school?

Students are encouraged to use the restroom before school, during lunch, before class and at the discretion of their teacher. Remember, your teacher must always know where you are during the school day.

What do I do? This is my first time dressing out for Physical Education (PE).

It is important to remember to arrive at the locker room as quickly as possible in order to allow enough time to change into the required clothes for PE class. Students have approximately five-seven minutes to change and report to the gym or their assigned area for PE.

What if I cannot remember my bus number?

The most important thing you can do is ride your bus to school on the first day of school. However, if you forget your bus number, ask the transportation assistant or other teachers who are physically located by the buses. Once you receive your bus number, write it down and memorize it.

TAKE A VIRTUAL VISIT TO OUR MIDDLE SCHOOLS

MIDDLE SCHOOL

ADDRESS

PHONE (757)

Bayside Sixth Grade Campus

4722 Jericho Road 23462

648.4440

Bayside

965 Newtown Road 23462

648.4400

Brandon

1700 Pope Street 23464

648.4450

Corporate Landing

1597 Corporate Landing Pkwy. 23454

648.4500

Great Neck

1848 North Great Neck Road 23454

648.4550

Independence

1370 Dunstan Lane 23455

648.4600

Old Donation School

2509 Seaboard Road 23456

648.3240

Kempsville

860 Churchill Drive 23464

648.4700

Landstown

2204 Recreation Drive 23456

648.4750

Larkspur

4696 Princess Anne Road 23462

648.4800

Lynnhaven

1250 Bayne Drive 23454

648.4850

Plaza

3080 S. Lynnhaven Road 23452

648.4900

Princess Anne

2323 Holland Road 23453

648.4950

Renaissance Academy

5100 Cleveland Street 23462

648.6000

Salem

2380 Lynnhaven Parkway 23464

648.5000

Virginia Beach

600 - 25th Street 23451

648.5050


Last Modified on Wednesday, August 9, 2017