Academics

Welcome to the Curriculum and Instruction front page. Below you will find descriptions of Union Middle’s approach to providing the highest quality education available to middle school students. We are proud of the recognition we receive the work we do to meet the needs of ALL students.

Vision

Each person on our teaching and support staff provides rigorous standards-based and universally implemented instruction that values the needs of each individual learner. Teachers are committed to:

  • Following the collaboratively created and regularly revised curriculum map and “scope and sequence” aligned to the California standards in as much depth as possible.

  • Using formative and summative assessments and district benchmarks to regularly assess student knowledge and ability as well as make informed decisions about the instruction in which they are engaged.

  • Differentiating instruction and assignments when necessary to meet the needs of all students.

  • Providing explicit direct instruction to introduce new information and engaging opportunities for problem solving, hands-on learning, experimentation, and higher-order thinking.

  • Assigning homework that is meaningful and reinforces the instruction in the classroom.


Teams & Team-Specific Collaboration

  • Fundamental to the “middle school” model to which Union Middle School adheres is the importance of positive student-adult relationships. As such, we believe that students learn best when the adults that serve them share the same students, communicate regularly about student needs, provide an interdisciplinary approach to learning and create a sense of community within the group. To achieve this goal, each grade is divided up into two interdisciplinary teams. Teams include at least one ELA, math, science, and social studies teacher as well as elective and PE specialists. Members of the teams collaborate each week on Wednesdays during the early dismissal collaboration.

Departments & Subject-Specific Collaboration

  • In addition to the collaboration that occurs about kids and their needs, Union staff collaborates in subject-specific groups across grade-levels and within grade levels. Teachers use department collaboration time to revise the curriculum maps, discuss material and instruction, analyze data, lesson plan, and share best practices. Collaboration occurs after school, during common prep periods, release days, and periodically during early dismissal collaboration.

Academic Offerings

  • In 7th and 8th grade, most students at Union Middle School are enrolled in one of each of the following year-long courses each year: English Language Arts, Social Studies, Mathematics, Science and PE. These courses are all taught by highly-qualified teachers holding a single subject credential in their respective area. Most students are also given the opportunity to select one year-long or two semester-long electives. Learn more about electives here.

  • In 6th grade, most students are also enrolled in one of each of the following year-long courses each year: English Language Arts, Social Studies, Mathematics, Science and PE. While also taught by highly-qualified teachers, sixth-grade core courses are often “cored” together and taught by one teacher who holds a multiple-subject credential. In order to help transition from an elementary to secondary environment, ELA and Social Studies are taught by the same teacher back-to-back; Math and Science are also cored and taught by one teacher who is different from the ELA & Social Studies teacher, whenever possible. Limiting the number of teachers a sixth-grader sees in a day decreases the transitions and simulates some of the benefits students enjoyed from a self-contained elementary environment.

Electives

  • Union prides itself on offering a comprehensive selection of elective courses that allow students to explore their different interests, learn new 21st century skills, or concentrate on honing already developed skills. UMS offers a comprehensive music, technology, and visual art program as well as various other electives. Electives for 7th and 8th graders are either semester-long or year-long. Students currently enrolled and attending USD schools will have the opportunity to request electives during the 3rd week of May of each year. Questions regarding electives can be directed to the school counselors. Learn more about electives here.