University School of Milwaukee recognizes the importance of providing a challenging and diverse Middle School academic program that acknowledges the developmental needs of these students. The Middle School curriculum is designed with integrated units that have common themes and cross over disciplines, broadening and deepening the learning for students. Our innovative teachers are well-versed in their subjects of expertise, but they are also experts in creating engaging lessons and—perhaps most importantly—are passionate about teaching students in this age group. Our students learn to handle a growing academic and extracurricular schedule and to prepare for the demands of Upper School by mastering time management and organizational skills.
The Middle School Academic Resource Center (ARC) provides both curricular and instructional intervention aimed at supporting a student’s development of study skills. Services are offered to students who require additional academic assistance, and are designed to help the student gain the skills to become an increasingly independent learner. ARC teachers collaborate with classroom teachers to determine appropriate accommodations and modifications. Instruction is individualized to meet the student’s specific learning profile and focuses on building a student’s strengths, while remediating their challenge areas and helping them to grow and develop new skills. Teachers use diagnostic teaching to assess student’s level of understanding, adapt the curriculum, employ a multisensory approach using visual, auditory, and kinesthetic modalities to build understanding and solidify concepts, promote active learning, and keep students engaged in the learning process. Students experience a safe and nurturing landing in which they can develop the skills necessary to take ownership of their learning, promote self-reflection, build confidence, cultivate metacognitive skills, and develop the ability to self-advocate. Students in Middle School may qualify for academic support without meeting the criteria for a diagnosed learning disability. Our specially trained ARC faculty have experience in supporting students who are dealing with issues including, school refusal, anxiety, dyslexia, autism, executive functioning, verbal and non-verbal disorders, and language processing disorders. Additionally, our specialists have cultivated relationships with community providers including neuropsychologists, psychologists, speech therapists, and physical and occupational therapists to ensure that a “whole student approach” is utilized. The Middle School Academic Resource Center has become a target destination for USM families who are supporting a child with learning challenges. The one-to-one approach embraces the individual differences of students and leads to positive outcomes for students and parents who see the program as a beacon of hope.