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Dimensions Academy Middle School Program
Dimensions Academy (DA) Middle School consists of a cohort of approximately 28 students at each grade level.DA students spend roughly 65 percent of their school day together with other DA students, traveling to four classes together as a group:
- language arts
- social studies
- seminar (6th & 7th grade)
For the remaining 35 percent of the day, DA students are integrated among their grade-level team for exploratory classes such as art, tech ed., music, band, and family and consumer science (FACS).
Dimensions Academy students are part of the greater school first. Then they are part of their team, and finally, they are DA students. The goal is for DA students and the program to be as integrated into the middle school structure and culture as possible.
Deadline for DA Middle School online applications
November 20, 2018
Transition to the DA Middle School Program
Current DA 5th graders automatically move into the DA Middle School program without reapplying. Parents of DA 5th graders will receive a form from their 5th-grade teachers to indicate continuation in DA middle school. Please plan to attend your DA Middle School's transitional meeting in the spring to learn about your specific school.
- Olson DA Middle School Transition meeting, Date and time TBD
- Oak Grove DA Middle School Transition meeting, Date and time TBD
Dimensions Academy Middle School teachersDimensions Academy middle school teachers are highly qualified to teach gifted students. They receive ongoing training and support from the Bloomington Gifted and Talented Department. Many attend additional training, workshops, and conferences, such as the National Association of Gifted Children conference.
William and Mary CurriculumThe Dimensions Academy program infuses concept-based units from the College of William and Mary throughout its program, grades 4-8, so that the models of depth and complexity in these units become automatic ways of thinking and processing for DA students. The models may be the same, but the content is significantly different from year to year. The curriculum designers field-tested their curriculum on gifted students over many years and found that creating critical thinking processes and maps for gifted students leads to significant intellectual growth.
Dimensions Academy SeminarSince gifted students don't need a traditional reading class, we created our own organic course for DA students in 6th and 7th grade called Seminar.
Seminar 6 is a humanities-based course, involving higher-level thinking and in-depth discussions. The theme, "Great Minds," includes the study of Alfred Nobel and many Nobel Laureates, as well as mythology and philosophy.
Seminar 7's theme "Great Acts," includes the study of great acts of courage and philanthropy. The focus is on creative and critical thinking and giving the world something it didn't know it needed.
Dimensions Academy Language ArtsDA language arts classes primarily use the William and Mary curriculum.
- 6th graders study William & Mary's Persuasion, learn debate skills and study novels reflecting a variety of cultures and experiences.
- 7th graders study William & Mary's Utopia and read novels about utopian and dystopian societies.
- 8th graders study William & Mary's The 1940s, A Decade of Change, which includes a study of The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw, The Diary of Anne Frank, and more.
Dimensions Academy Social StudiesDA social studies uses curricular units from the College of William and Mary as the primary curriculum.
- 6th graders study William & Mary's The Civil War and The Road to the White House.
- 7th graders study William & Mary's The 1920s in America: A Decade of Tensions and The 1930s in America: Facing Depression.
- 8th graders study William & Mary's Primary Sources and Post-Colonialism specific to India.
National History DayDA Middle School students study an in-depth history topic through their participation in the National History Day (NHD) competition. The 2- to 3-month unit culminates in a building-wide NHD competition. Winners at that level go on to compete in the Regional History Day competition, and some go on to compete at the state and national levels. Students learn valuable research and presentation skills that transfer to high school and college-level research and life-long learning.
"Triumph& Tragedy in History" is the theme for National History Day 2019. Work on NHD projects in social studies begins in mid-December. Students can begin researching possible people or events for their project earlier than that. The project must be in one of the following formats:
- Display board
- Website (NHD Weebly website required)
- Research paper
Dimensions Academy ScienceDA science uses William and Mary, BPS curriculum, and college-level community resources.
- 6th grade Physical Science students study plasma, a NASA-inspired career unit involving a hovercraft, W & M's Nuclear Energy: Friend or Foe, and various other STEM units.
- 7th grade Life Science students conduct authentic research at the Richardson Nature Center, engage in a simulation to discover the dynamic nature of scientific research, and use cancer biology as a lens to see the interconnectedness of science to other disciplines.
- 8th grade Earth Science students work in collaboration with U of M students and their professor to design experiments that will be carried in a payload by a high altitude balloon. The year culminates in a balloon launch, retrieval, and data exploration. This atmospheric study creates an opportunity for discussing and debating the real-life nature of competing scientific theories.
The middle school Honors Program is separate from DA Middle School. Students are placed into Honors courses based on testing history. No application is needed. Below are the honors courses offered:
- Honors Reading (6th grade) - Olson, Oak Grove, and Valley View
- Honors Language Arts (7th and 8th grade) - Olson, Oak Grove, and Valley View
- Honors Science (6th, 7th & 8th grade) - Only at Valley View