Middle School Curriculum

Design Thinking:

Design Thinking is a methodology where students solve complex problems. In a process that is driven by empathy, students identify a need and create desired outcomes that benefit the user. Design Thinking draws upon logic, imagination, intuition, and systematic reasoning, to explore possibilities of what could be. A design mindset is not problem-focused; it’s solution focused, and action oriented. It involves both analysis and imagination.

Place-Based Education:

(PBE) Place-Based Education immerses students in local heritage, cultures, landscapes, opportunities and experiences, using these as a foundation for the study of language arts, mathematics, social studies, science and other subjects across the curriculum.


“STEAM represents a paradigm shift from traditional education philosophy, based on standardized test scores, to a modern ideal which focuses on valuing the learning process as much as the results. In essence, we dare students to be wrong, to try multiple ideas, listen to alternate opinions and create a knowledge base that is applicable to real life as opposed to simply an exam.” Deron Cameron – Former UPES Principal – US’s 1st STEAM Certified School  STEAM is a thematic integration of all subject matter.

Service Learning / Community Engagement / Stewards of Our Community:

Service-Learning is an educational approach that provides a pragmatic, progressive learning experience, which balances formal instruction with the opportunity to serve the community. Service-Learning connects the traditional classroom experience with real life lessons that come through commitment to others. Relationships are key and sustainability is the outcome.

Project Based Learning:

(PBL) Project-based learning is a dynamic approach to teaching in which students work collaboratively. With this type of active and engaged learning, students are inspired to obtain a deeper knowledge of the subjects they’re studying.

Positive Discipline:

Using solution focused discipline to build a powerful learning community that models mutual respect and supports academic excellence.


Challenge Based Learning:

(CBL) Challenge Based Learning is an engaging multidisciplinary approach to teaching and learning that encourages students to leverage technology they use in their daily lives to solve real-world problems.  Students form their own questions and drive the process through efforts in their homes, schools and communities.