Curriculum maps and unit plans provide the framework for the detailed weekly lesson plans that MMSA teachers will complete with their grade-level partners. A shared drive will make plans accessible for reference by students and staff. These plans will specify the daily activities and assessments that teachers will use to teach and measure progress and to ensure that all homework and class work are aligned with standards.
Middle School Curriculum
Below is the middle school sequence with total weekly instructional time:
|Subject||Minutes of Instruction|
|Mathematics||430 minutes a week (86 minutes a day)|
|English Language Arts||430 minutes a week (86 minutes a day)|
|Science||215 minutes a week (43 minutes a day)|
|Social Studies||215 minutes a week (43 minutes a day)|
|Art||215 minutes a week (43 minutes a day)|
|Computer||215 minutes a week (43 minutes a day)|
|Physical Ed & Health Ed||215 minutes a week (43 minutes a day)|
|Music/Foreign Language||215 minutes a week (43 minutes a day)|
High School Curriculum
High school graduation requirements at MMSA Dequindre exceed those of traditional public schools and include service learning and a senior thesis. In order to earn a diploma, each high school student must meet all of the following requirements. Only students earning a diploma are permitted to participate in graduation activities. The high school curriculum will continue to undergo design refinements prior to the first eleventh-grade class entering MMSA Dequindre so that the minimum high school course requirements provide students with the opportunity to meet and exceed the entrance expectations for top-tiered colleges and universities.
High School Graduation Requirements
|Criteria||Core Academic Program|
|Coursework||Completion of all required courses|
|GPA||Overall D- or higher|
|Standardized tests||Completion of required school and state testing|
|College Portfolio and Applications||Completion of a college plan, resume, and necessary college applications|
|Community Service||40 hours of volunteer work/community service|
Academic Graduation Requirements
|Mathematics||4 credits, including Algebra I (may be taken in 8th grade), Geometry, Algebra II, and/or Pre-Calculus/Additional Math Elective|
|Science||4 credits including Biology, Chemistry, and/or Physics, Additional Science Elective-I (Additional Science Elective- II if needed)|
|English||4 credits, including Eng I, Eng II, Eng III, Eng IV|
|Social Studies||3 credits including World History & Geography, and US History & Geography, Government & Economics|
|Computer Technology||1 credit|
|Physical Ed & Health Ed||1 credit|
|Foreign Language||2 credits of the same type|
MMSA Dequindre Elective Course Offerings
|Spanish 1||Music Appreciation||Journalism|
|Spanish 2||Beginning Concert Band||Physical Education|
|Turkish 1||Concert Band||Creative Writing|
|Turkish 2||Symphonic Band||African-American Literature|
|Art Appreciation||College Readiness Math||Robotics|
|Art 1||College Readiness English||Computer Application|
Rather than adhering to a single teaching philosophy or instructional model, the design will draw on best practices from the field and research to define a set of core instructional practices. Michigan Math and Science Academy Dequindre teachers will utilize a unique mix of the following research-based instructional strategies:
- Direct teaching
- Differentiated instruction
- Problem-based learning
- Project-based learning
- Collaborative learning
- Data-driven instruction
- Transformational use of technology
The use of these techniques provides an engaging, dynamic learning environment for students to explore the questions they have about the world and ways to positively contribute to the community around them. MMSA Dequindre will utilize a variety of instructional approaches to teach advanced concepts and higher-level thinking skills in mathematics and science, as well as other disciplines.
MMSA Dequindre uses a combination of diagnostic, authentic, state-mandated, standardized, and nationally recognized norm-referenced assessments to compare students’ progress over time with the school’s goals. These assessments include:
- Northwest Education Association (NWEA) Measure of Academic Progress (MAP)
- State Standardized Tests (M-Step)
- ACT WorkKeys for Juniors
Remediation & Intervention
The students who attend MMSA possess a wide range of skills. The extended day and school year, a rigorous program of study, extra programming, and parental involvement will be critical if the students are to achieve all academic goals.
Once enrolled at MMSA Dequindre, students will be required to take diagnostic tests focusing on mathematics and reading. The results of these tests will be analyzed by the administration and staff to understand each student’s needs and to create a personalized education plan.
The following academic support programs will be provided:
- RTI Program
- Saturday schools
- Pull-out programs
- Winter and Summer Academic Camps
- Peer tutoring
- Lunch and recess learning programs
- Enrichment periods
MMSA Dequindre uses a combination of the following tools to identify and assess accelerated students:
- Grade-level diagnostic tests created by the administration team
- Past performance in standardized tests
- NWEA test
- Teacher recommendation
- Any prior evaluation by professional organizations/individuals presented by parents
- Class Performance
MMSA teachers differentiate their instruction by content, process, and product in order to meet the needs of accelerated students. MMSA teachers receive training in differentiated instruction at the Summer Institute, Concept Schools’ annual conference, and professional development days. The dean of academics monitors lesson plans and observes in the classroom to ensure that teachers differentiate instruction efficiency.
High school students requiring acceleration are enrolled in academically challenging Mathematics and English Language Arts classes. Students have the opportunity to take AP courses, dual-credit courses, and courses offered through partner schools.
Accelerated students also have the opportunity to participate in special interest after-school programs. These programs have a project-based, challenging curriculum and provide students with the opportunity to participate in local, national, and international competitions. Examples of these programs/activities include Math Counts, Math League, robotics teams, science fairs, Olympiads, spoken word, and Future City. MMSA also organizes winter and summer programs for accelerated students in order to meet their needs and challenge them to perform to their full potential.
Parental Involvement Plan
Parental/family involvement is essential to the school’s mission and student success. The following actions will contribute to an effective school-parent/family partnership:
- The school publishes a clear policy welcoming parental involvement and post opportunities to become involved in an obvious place in the school building and on the school’s Web site.
- Teachers conduct home visits with parents to enhance parent education and build stronger relationships between students, parents, and teachers.
- The school provides parent/family education programs.
- The school office is trained in customer service skills to ensure that they present a friendly and open environment. Parents/families are treated with respect and are not kept waiting unnecessarily.
- The school’s Web site provides clear and consistent communication. Parents/families have access to daily homework assignments, grades, attendance, and other information via the school’s secure Web page.
- The school recognizes the contribution of parents to their children’s success by organizing events, such as the Honor Roll Parent breakfast/dinner.
- The school sets up a parent area in the school building, equipped with a comfortable seating area, a telephone, copy machine, computers, books on adolescents, etc.
- The school provides translated materials and/or in-person contact with parents whose primary language is not English. Translators are involved in all parent-teacher interactions as needed.
As a college preparatory school, the MMSA Dequindre ensures that students gain the necessary skills not only for a successful college education but also for a successful career. Therefore, several components in the design integrate career education and exploration within the curriculum, such as life skills curriculum, job shadowing, summer internships, senior thesis, career and college fairs, college path courses, and other elective courses.
MMSA Dequindre has a dedicated technology person to assist faculty members at the school in enhancing learning through technology. Technology instruction at MMSA emphasizes content learning while strengthening the technology skills of students, teachers, and staff. Teachers use these methods and tools in order to enhance instruction in the content areas:
- Collaborative Environments, i.e., social networking platforms, community Web sites, classroom management systems, multiplayer gaming environments, or virtual worlds
- Online Communication Tools, i.e., instant messaging, online conferencing, micro-blogging platforms, and online broadcasting
- Mobiles, graphing calculators, and laptops
- Cloud Computing, i.e., Flicker, Google, and YouTube, which are virtual servers available over the Internet
- Smart Boards
- Smart Objects, i.e., devices that use quick response codes and are connected to larger information sources or interactive books and maps
- Personalized Web pages, blogs, and blackboard-type online communication tools through which teachers can tag, categorize, publish, and review work online
- Virtual learning
Co-curricular programs play a significant role in the culture of the school. Students are engaged in projects and activities before and after school. MMSA Dequindre students participate in five main categories of events – clubs, special interest groups, annual school-wide events, field trips, CYSP, and sports.
School Culture and Climate
MMSA Dequindre focuses on establishing a culture that values and celebrates success, teaches shared values, sets high expectations, builds pride, and fosters a sense of community and belonging. The culture and climate of the school incorporate five essential attributes:
- Focus on Student Achievement
- High Expectations
Serving Specialized Population
Special education programs and services at MMSA Dequindre are provided in accordance with federal and state laws and regulations as well as the individual student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP). The MMSA faculty and administration work collaboratively with the district or other companies to provide high-quality services to students with disabilities. A Special Education Coordinator is responsible for conducting IEP meetings to assess, review and revise IEPs. Auxiliary and related services identified through the IEP (such as speech and language service or physical therapy, for example) are provided by the District or special companies.
Students with disabilities have an equal opportunity with students in the regular education program to participate in and, where appropriate, receive credit for non-academic, extracurricular, and ancillary programs, services, and activities. Students with disabilities receive the same notices concerning school-sponsored programs, activities, and services as other students.
Providing a healthy culture that promotes safety, security, strong relationships, and a sense of belonging are some of the most critical components for providing a framework to support students with at-risk characteristics. Within this type of environment, students feel secure in approaching faculty and support staff for assistance.
Students at the MMSA with limited proficiency in English achieve proficiency in the English language through the use of the school’s services and teaching methods. MMSA hires at least one certified ESL teacher and adapts staffing according to the student population. MMSA ensures that ELL (English Language Learner) students will not be excluded from curricular and extracurricular activities based on an inability to speak and understand the language of instruction. Parents whose English proficiency is limited receive notices and information from the school in their native language so that MMSA is able to encourage the participation of all parents in the MMSA community.