- Central Middle
- The Academies
Meet the Academies:
The Academies at Parkway Central Middle will provide students and their families options to make the middle school experience more personalized and engaging so they are more successful and uniquely prepared for success in high school and life. In addition to still offering a traditional middle school option, there will be new academies that offer other approaches to learning as well.
One Page Comparison of Academies
Quick Comparison of Academies
Research Based Middle School Model
Typical Teaming structure
Student Centered Instruction
Ownership of Learning
Personalized Learning Model
Creativity and Inquiry Driven
Voice & Choice
Standards Based Competencies Focus
Higher Teacher Direction
Blend of Strategies
Blended Learning Model strategies
Initially Teacher Directed
Increasingly Co Created
Project Based Options
Project/Problem/ Inquiry based
with Student Options
Student Choice increases
Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
Why were these academies created?
While we have been successful in implementing middle school philosophies for over two decades, we are seeing recent trends, innovations, and opportunities in public education across the United States show promising results. Our review of these practices in relation to our mission and vision for all students at Central Middle School is guiding us to offer more choices in middle level education. While we still believe the middle school concept proves beneficial to students, we are joining the growing movement to offer more personalized learning paths for our community as choice programs.
Why are there this number of academies?
Based upon our study of practices among other successful schools and districts combined with our long time belief in ideal team sizes, this number seems to be the right fit. Each of the six grade leveled teams or three personalized learning teams would be able to serve approximately 95-110 students, thus keeping us within a manageable threshold to confidently achieve our goals for programming. Once students choose and are selected for the various teams or academies, and as our population continues to change, we may need to adjust accordingly. Allowing choice will add another layer of decision making with staffing, schedules, and structures.
How do I know which academy will be best for my child?
Our goal is to provide families with sufficient information and guidance to make the right decision for their child. We encourage the decision to be a collaborative one between students and parents. However, our staff will be there to assist as necessary in the process of making a decision. While our goal for our middle school students is to develop their voice and ownership of their learning, we recognize and encourage parents to continue playing a large role in guiding educational choices and decisions. Additionally, all academies will be able to teach students the curriculum effectively and prepare students for their high school years.
How are students selected for the different academies?
Students and their families will rank their preferences for the academies during the registration process. Based upon interest level for each of the academies, staffing decisions and final placement will need to be completed. We will try our best to accommodate the top preferences made by families. However, if we realize we will not be able to successfully implement each academy, then the desired choices may not be possible. When changes are deemed necessary, a few options would be considered - adding staff to an academy if the number of students registering for it far exceeds the size limitations, reducing or eliminating an academy with not enough students interested in it, or coming up with a selection process (like a lottery system) to keep the academies at a manageable number.
Do we have to commit to an academy for all 3 years?
When you make the choice of an academy, you are choosing it for a year. You may make changes between years; there is not a three-year commitment required. However, the continuity of staying in one environment, particularly one of the personalized learning academies, can have benefits (3-year learning journey, multi-year relationships with the same teachers). When questions of success or fit arise, we will engage students and families in a problem-solving process with our educators to work through issues.
If my student is going into 7th or 8th Grade, is a personalized learning academy worth it?
A couple of our goals are to increasingly engage students in their learning and create environments for students to grow as learners. With this, the short answer is YES. It may not be the same experience as students starting in 6th grade, but the year or two of learning in a preferred environment will still be beneficial.
Were the different academies created to accommodate certain types of learners (gifted, advanced, remedial, struggling, musical, athletic, special education, etc)?
None of the environments hold an expectation that learners come in ready to fully own their learning. All environments provide opportunity to grow in a student's ability to be an independent learner. Our goal is to meet each student where they are and move them forward. Each of the environments also includes and welcomes students with special needs, Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), and 504 plans.
Will students in one academy ever interact with students in another academy?
Yes, students will interact with students from other academies at lunch, during electives, PE and if they choose to stay for after school activities.
Some of the aspects of the academies seem to overlap with other academies. Is this true?
While each academy has a particular focus and theme, the instructional and assessment practices used in them are not necessarily mutually exclusive to one another. Our teachers will continue collaborating and work to implement great strategies to meet the needs of students. These efforts will be reflective in the practices we implement across all academies.
Does this mean that my student will be learning online in certain academies?
There is no significant difference in screen time planned for the different academies. Each academy will use Schoology to house homework and online resources, and they will somewhat differ in how that information is accessed. However, the intention in all academies is to make the best use of in person instruction.
Will my child be ready for high school?
All of our learning environments support the outcomes for middle school students in the Parkway School District. The outcomes of each student are impacted by the effort and focus they put forth at school within whatever learning environment they are enrolled in. Success in high school years requires independence and organizational skills as well as academic preparedness. Environments that help develop those skills in middle school will help a student succeed down the road.
How will grading be handled in the separate academies?
While there may be various ways of grading students based upon the types of assignments, projects, tests, and other assessments given to them, all teachers will still use Infinite Campus to capture the progress and achievement using the same categories and calculations.
Extended Information for Academies