Middle School

International Middle Years Curriculum (IMYC)

The IMYC Process of Learning creates opportunities to connect learning and develop a personal perspective, work with peers, take risks in a safe environment, and become confident, independent, and engaged learners. Learning with the IMYC follows six-week units based around a conceptual idea or theme, called the “big idea.” Students link the learning in their different subjects through this big idea, analyzing what they are learning from personal, interpersonal, and global perspectives.

Students regularly reflect on IMYC learning connections by responding to structured questions. This process is called “reflective journaling” and is designed to help them formulate their personal and conceptual understanding of the subject knowledge and skills that they are learning about. At the end of each six-week unit, students work individually or in small groups to create and present a media project that reflects their understanding of the ways their subject learning links to the big idea. This gives students the opportunity to express their own ideas through modern and creative media.

Common Core English Language Arts and Math

Middle School literacy and math goals are based on the National Common Core Standards. Strong literacy skills are imperative to academic success, and our program focuses on all students developing strong reading and writing skills. Our mathematics curriculum and instructional materials foster deep conceptual understanding required for successful future learning in high school and beyond.

In addition to offering students a small class size for all subjects, we further individualize literacy and mathematics instruction by implementing even smaller group instruction based on ongoing assessments administered throughout the school year. Students are grouped based on their strengths and growth areas, and receive targeted instruction that maximizes their learning opportunities. Knowing that students will rely on their foundational skills in literacy and math for years to come, we support students in making progress toward individual academic goals while meeting or exceeding U.S. national standards.

CMI’s Common Core Standards-based English Language Arts and Math curricula incorporate the following elements:

  • Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop helps children develop a lifelong love of reading and writing, with enhanced opportunities to choose readings based on their interests and to express their unique voice as writers. In small groups, Workshop introduces students to new reading and writing skills and strategies, and then provides supported opportunities to practice them individually and in small groups. With frequent opportunities for students to articulate their thinking, Workshop reinforces the personal goals of communication and thoughtfulness.CMI’s English Language Arts curriculum is also aligned with National Common Core learning goals, to support students to make progress toward individual academic goals and to meet or exceed U.S. national standards.
  • Discourse-driven math instruction focuses on hands-on exploration, problem solving and conceptual understanding, beyond carrying out math procedures. Exploring multiple pathways to solve problems builds adaptability and resilience. Student debrief questions and exit tickets help both students and teachers monitor understanding and provide next steps. The Eureka Math curriculum provides the basis for instruction, to ensure that math learning goals are aligned with National Common Core Standards.
  • Extensive use of small-group work and the station model across all classrooms provide enhanced opportunities for differentiation. Collaborative teamwork supports students in practicing respect, communication, and cooperation.

Arts Education and Integration

Research shows that arts education and integration into the curriculum can lead to cognitive and motivational enhancements in learning. In addition, this approach offers inclusive learning opportunities for different types of learners. Students’ success in the arts is related to the nature of the instruction, which relies on a combination of both verbal and nonverbal teaching. Arts integration taps into students’ visual, kinesthetic, and auditory strengths, engaging them more deeply in learning. Research confirms that students are more motivated to learn through arts-integrated projects that include music, movement, visual art, and drama. In addition to arts-integrated learning in our academic subjects, we promote a well-rounded education that includes the arts as an autonomous part of the curriculum. We provide our students with music and visual arts classes during the school day and in our extended day programs.


CMI’s Middle School academic program is thoughtfully designed to integrate Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (or STEAM). The IMYC provides the framework needed to ensure that interdisciplinary thinking, learning goals and project tasks are connected across these subject areas. At the same time, the CMI Curriculum also meets Common Core Literacy and Math Standards, and integrates Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), International Society for Technology in Education) ISTE standards, and (National Council for Teachers of Mathematics) NCTM Standards. This behind-the-scenes alignment of standards and learning goals ensures that students not only develop the 21st-Century knowledge, skills, and understanding they need to succeed in these critical areas, but also have opportunities to experience the wonder, curiosity, discovery and joy that comes with hands-on STEAM exploration. For more information about CMI’s STEAM Program, please contact our director of middle school, Lorna Dill, at lorna.dill@creativemindspcs.org.

Global Languages

To prepare students with the skills required to engage successfully in a globalized world, CMI offers students arts-integrated global language classes in Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. Middle School students specialize in either Spanish or Mandarin in order to achieve higher levels of proficiency.

Personal Goals and Dispositions

At CMI, we know that in order for our students to be ready to participate in a global society, they will require more than academic skills. They will need strong social and emotional intelligence in order to navigate an increasingly diverse, global society. The Middle School curriculum provides developmentally-appropriate opportunities for students explore the personal goals and dispositions emphasized in the IMYC Framework. Thoughtfully-designed activities allow students to practice these traits throughout the school day and year.

IMYC Personal Goals include:

  • Adaptability – We are okay with change. We are able to change our actions or attitude to fit new situations.
  • Communication – We share and let others share their ideas. We can express ourselves in a variety of ways, with different types of people.
  • Cooperation – We work together and support each other to achieve a goal. We understand that everyone can contribute something different when working together.
  • Inquiry – We ask questions to learn new things. We plan investigations to seek truth and better understand important issues.
  • Integrity – We are honest and we help others. We have strong moral principles and we act on them to improve the lives of others.
  • Resilience – We try again, even when it is hard. We handle disappointments with maturity and continue to work toward our goals despite setbacks.
  • Respect – We treat others the way we want to be treated. We learn about and accept one another’s differences with kindness.
  • Thoughtfulness – We think about what we have learned and how it affects ourselves and others. We reflect on our strengths and weaknesses to identify ways to better ourselves.