Middle School Opens With a Bang

August 27, 2013


Photo by Mario Andreatta Middle School students work on a project in math class.

Photo by Mario Andreatta
Middle School students work together on a project in math class.

Photo by Mario XXX Middle School student, xxxx xxxx, works on a project in xxx class.

Photo by Mario Andreatta
A scholar works on an assignment in class.

By Ryley Thompson

— The Ask Academy has a new addition downstairs this year – the middle school is finally up and running. It has caused quite a cramp in space due to the complications of buying the Stephanie Building next door, however, flexibility of the managers and scholars has made the accommodations easier.

The middle school is designed to prepare students for the challenging high school program; managers start by introducing the concept of project-based learning, which is what The ASK Academy charter is founded on. The classes are smaller, so students get more one-on-one attention with the project managers and are able to delve deeper into their assignments.

The middle school schedule is set up differently than the high school – it runs on a block schedule. All students take part in both engineering and biomedical pathways until they reach high school, where they will then make the choice between the two. In the morning is one hour of career pathways, and this semester, all seventh graders are labeled as the biomedical pathway while eighth graders explore the engineering pathway; next semester it will switch. After career pathways, seventh graders go to two and a half hours of history and English, while the eighth graders go to science and math for the same amount of time. After lunch, seventh and eigth graders switch core classes. All students get a one hour elective of their choice in the afternoon.

Rachael Sewards, a former high school manager, moved downstairs to the middle school this year.  She said she enjoyed teaching high school quite a bit, but her training and experience is in middle school and she understands the science behind teaching the lower grade levels. Having previously taught middle school, Mrs. Sewards is not new to the game.

The hardest part has been isolation from her peers, “I only really see the same 50 students a day, 25 seventh graders and 25 eighth graders,” she said. Another difficult aspect of middle school is “making sure there are enough transitions, because like high schoolers, middle schoolers don’t like to sit down for too terribly long,” Sewards said.

Former Cleveland High School teacher Amanda Lovato is new to The ASK Academy, as well as teaching middle school. She seems to be enjoying her time as a project manager.  “So far, I like the little ones,” she said. She said ASK allows students to create their own learning, and new experiences, which is different than any school she has taught at.

Seventh grader Amorette Lancellotti said the ASK Academy is  awesome. “There are only 25 students, so you don’t have to be crowded, and there are only four different classes that you have to go to.”

Eighth grader Nate Kaib has already decided what career path he will down when he enters the high school — for him it has always been about engineering. “It’s more fun, and I am really good at building things,” he said. Kaib  came from Taylor Middle school and appreciates the Academy’s take on middle school.

“I like the ASK Academy a lot better than any of my other schools because of the block schedules and because I have more time in class,” he said.



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One Comment on “Middle School Opens With a Bang”

  1. Ethan Says:

    i am surprised that there hasn’t been people tripping on chairs yet.


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