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Middle Schoolers to Experience 7-Period Day This Fall

Published by Saint Paul Public Schools August 8, 2019

 Middle School

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The transition to middle school can be exciting and challenging, especially for new sixth graders. That’s why middle schools are getting a powerful boost through the SPPS Achieves Strategic Plan this fall. 

As part of the SPPS middle school model, schedules have been adjusted to include a seven-period day instead of the traditional six periods. This change provides students with new opportunities to take electives that are more aligned with their interests. The model also introduces flexible schedules and a whole class period for an advisory class called Foundations.

Foundations is designed to ease the transition for students from elementary to middle school. The class helps build community and creates a connection between students and their team of teachers. Students will learn how to navigate middle school through important topics including academics, digital citizenship, social-emotional learning, and college and career topics. Staff, including counselors, will provide lessons in peer conflict, friendships, bullying, stress and anxiety. 

Educators will also see a benefit through a seven-period day. 

“Teachers will have a specific time every other school day where they can come together and examine how best to support students and their learning,” said Amanda Herrera-Gundale, Program Manager for Middle Schools. “They’ll be able to reflect on common instructional practices and make changes based on student needs.”

The middle school model – based on the Association of Middle Level Education (AMLE) – centers around a team of teachers and advisors who work together to meet the academic and social-emotional needs of a common group of students. In contrast, the typical junior high sees teachers often working independently with different groups of students and with little collaboration around serving student needs. SPPS no longer uses the junior high model. 

Middle school vs. junior high

The initial school sites set to strengthen their practices include K-8 schools and 6-8 middle schools.

Other changes for the 2019-20 school year include more college and career programs and the expansion of Writer’s Workshop to sixth grade.

Though the middle school model is not new to SPPS, the SPPS Achieves Strategic Plan has set the stage for a consistent middle school experience that is challenging, relevant and prepares students for their future in high school and beyond.

Sites that will roll out the middle school model this fall include:

American Indian Magnet, Capitol Hill Gifted and Talented, Farnsworth Aerospace (5-8 Campus), Hazel Park Preparatory, Linwood-Monroe Arts Plus, Battle Creek Middle, E-STEM Middle (to offer a seven-period day in 2020-21), Highland Park Middle, Murray Middle, Parkway Montessori and Ramsey Middle.

Learn more about the middle school model at