Welcome to Middle School at CDIS! The middle school years are full of transition and change as students begin to take on more responsibility. During middle school, students are challenged to grow academically and socially as they learn skills to prepare them for high school. At CDIS, our goal as educators is to meet students where they are, both academically and socially, and support them in becoming lifelong learners and world-changers. We hope that every student at CDIS knows that they are valued, that they are loved, and that they have incredible purpose.
-Grace Hale, Secondary Principal
The CDIS curriculum provides a holistic program that balances the development of concepts, skills and character. Our goal is to create a middle school experience that is intentionally academic and relational, focusing on these learners in the season of intense change and growth that they are experiencing. The language of instruction is English, with additional support for non-English speakers. Our classes and programs are designed to allow students to work cooperatively, to problem-solve, to apply new learning, and to participate in a wide range of academic, artistic, and athletic endeavors.
A unique component of our middle school program at CDIS is Advisory, where students spend three days a week with a teacher and a small group of students in the same grade and an advisor to dig in to social challenges, academics, and service. By the end of their time in CDIS as middle schoolers, we hope that every student will grow as students academically, but also as individuals of integrity with hearts that serve.
English Language Arts are an integral part of our middle school program that all students study. Students are challenged to grow in their speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills in preparation for a successful high school learning experience. The program uses a mixture of both nonfiction and fiction texts and heavily focuses on writing and grammar.
In 6th grade Science, students explore the Earth’s structure and its place in the universe by working individually and in groups. They look at space, weather phenomena, geology, energy resources, and tectonic plates. Students in 6th grade are introduced to the processes of gathering and analyzing scientific data, creating models, and formal nonfiction writing.
7th grade Science is an overview of common strands in physical science that involve the various forms of energy. Students connect the scientific inquiry processes to everyday problem solving through culmination projects in which they apply the concepts they have learned. Additionally, students reinforce their observation and analytic skills through hands-on and virtual labs.
8th grade Science focuses on Life Sciences and introduces the concept of scientific inquiry through laboratories. It examines the wonders of living organisms and the complexity of cellular structure and function, organization of living organisms, and the interaction of life forms. Students are able to apply this scientific knowledge to their daily life and discuss its effect on the world at large.
In addition to laboratory exercises in science classes, CDIS students are given opportunities for independent research. Science Olympiad is a Middle School tournament that consists of team events. The events are balanced between the various disciplines of biology, earth science, chemistry, and physics. There is also a balance between events requiring knowledge of science facts, concepts, processes, skills and science applications.
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, integer, decimal, fraction, and percent computation; variables and variable expressions; data displays; congruence; similarity; and geometric figures.
In 6th or 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, percentages, probability, data displays and geometry, with an emphasis on the inclusion of variables.
In 7th or 8th grade, Algebra I builds on the work accomplished in Pre-Algebra. Students explore increasingly complex linear functions and equation and inequality manipulation including solving systems of equations and inequalities. Students also explore exponential and quadratic equations, FOILing and factoring, and properties of exponents.
Geometry introduces and explores logical and spatial reasoning through the use of both inductive and deductive reasoning. Algebra is a necessary prerequisite for this course, as students often use geometric principles to set-up and solve algebraic equations. Connections are made between the concepts and their applications in the real world.
In 6th grade Ancient History, students will be overviewing ancient civilizations while exploring cultural, political, economic, geographic and religious themes. Special attention will be given to building inquiry skills and academic language as it relates to history through reading, writing and speaking activities.
In 7th grade Western Hemisphere, students will be exploring the regions of the Western World through the lens of geography and history, while giving special emphasis to the major geographical themes of location, place, movement, human environment interaction and regions.
In 8th grade Eastern Hemisphere, students study of the themes and essential elements of geography of the Earth’s eastern hemisphere. They will be learning the five major themes of geography, map-making and reading, how mankind interacts with the environment, as well as historical geographic events.
The Mastery of the English language is crucial for each student to be successful at an international school. To determine the level of English language support needed, all non-native English-speaking students are tested for English during the admissions process. The English Language Learning (ELL) Program develops individual learning plans for non-native English speakers from Kindergarten – 10th Grade according to the English language needs of each individual student. The ELL Program is a continuum extending from ELL classes offering intensive English instruction separate from the daily classroom to structured English Language support within the daily classroom. Through close interaction with parents and CDIS Staff, ELL teachers provide students with help in all areas of language acquisition (listening, speaking, reading and writing) in order to reach a high level of English language proficiency and achieve full participation in CDIS curricula. Students receiving English support services are assessed twice annually, at the middle and end of the year, on their progress with English proficiency.
Secondary English Support
CDIS Middle School includes grades 6 to 8. Our MS ELL Department provides two tracks to meet the needs of students whose English level is below tCDIS Middle School includes grades 6 to 8. Our MS ELL Department provides instruction through IEC (Intensive English Curriculum) and ELL classes. CDIS High School includes grade 9 to 12. Our HS ELL specialists provide instruction through ELL classes for students transitioning into high school from middle school in the 9th grade year. Placement is based on English proficiency test results.
IEC is designed for students with none to limited English skills. Students in the IEC receive English instruction from the English specialist as a pull-out program designed to focus on English reading and writing within the core subjects. IEC is designed to help beginning and low level English speakers learn the basics of English vocabulary while also covering classroom objectives in a small group setting with multiple supports and resources.
Students receiving ELL classes have a command of English at the intermediate or advanced level. Students cover classroom objectives in a larger classroom setting while continuing to receive the support of the English specialist. ELL Classes are offered to students in grades 6 to 9.
CDIS has a Learning Support Team dedicated to meeting the students with specific special needs. If you feel your child has a specific learning or behavioral need, or if your child is coming from a school where they were enrolled in a special program for such needs, please notify the school at the time of enrollment.
Chinese Language & Culture
CDIS’s Chinese Language Department has worked closely with our sister schools from International Schools Consortium (ISC) to develop the ISC Chinese Language and Culture program. We recognize that the Chinese language is an increasingly important communication tool in the global community. Our Chinese curriculum provides a clear framework of lessons that challenge students at their level to speak, understand, read and write in Chinese, as well as understand and appreciate the many different aspects of Chinese culture and history.
Levels & Differentiation
CDIS students are placed in appropriate classes based on their language level. Our Middle School classes (grades 6 to 8) and high school classes (grades 9 to 12) are separated into six different levels each. The Chinese language teachers at CDIS create engaging activities that connect with the different learning styles of their students. Differentiation is also applied in relation to the students’ progress.
The CDIS library is a vibrant, welcoming environment for students, staff and parents. We strive to ensure that not only are learning needs met but also that every child feels valued and happy. Our Library resources support the teaching of the curriculum and develop our students’ interests and hobbies.
Our Library Strives To:
• Ensure learners grow as competent, ethical users and producers of ideas and information.
• Prepare life-long learners who are effective communicators, critical researchers and problem solvers.
• Collaborate and share with audiences beyond our school walls.
• Model our school’s mission and support learners in the pursuit of aesthetic growth and personal learning pathways.
To this end, a collection of books has been selected to support teaching and learning activities. Chinese books have also been acquired to support Chinese language learning. In addition, we have a collection of e-resources including online newspapers and magazines, which children can access on their iPads. We use a color code system to help our English language learners to find books with more ease and encourage families to donate fiction and nonfiction books in Japanese, Chinese and Korean to help round out our diverse collection.
At CDIS, we see technology as a tool that supports a school community and facilitates learning. We recognize the enormous potential of modern technology to enhance and enrich learning, and are committed to preparing our children to be successful in a society permeated with technology.
As an important tool, both inside and outside of the classroom, students use technology to inquire, communicate and safely take risks. Through our technology program, we ensure that every student in our community has access to campus and worldwide electronic resources. These tools encourage students to adopt and employ technology during their time at CDIS, preparing them for college and professional environments as true digital citizens.
Every building on the campus is connected to our data networks allowing students to wirelessly access electronic material in all academic and community spaces. School bandwidth has significantly increased over the past few years to better support classroom initiatives, cloud computing, multimedia and improve the overall student experience. In accordance with our standards, students must abide by acceptable use policies and guidelines found in the school handbook. To help encourage these standards our network is regularly monitored and acceptable barriers have been put in place for the safety of our students.
CDIS also has access to two PC labs and one MAC lab, as well as laptops and ipads for use by classroom teachers to enhance and enrich classroom lessons. High school students are encouraged to participate in our one-to-one computing program by having and utilizing a laptop in daily instruction. Students receive support for technology use through the IT department on campus.
PowerSchool is the most widely used web-based student information system, supporting 10 million students over 65 countries. Benefits for parents and students include: real-time grades, attendance, comments, assignments, scores and much more…right from the teacher’s gradebook directly to students and parents.
At CDIS we believe that co-curricular activities are an important part of education that extends beyond the classroom. Co-curricular activities provide motivation for learning, character building, physical growth and 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.