In the TIS middle school we are intentional in creating an experience that is focused on individuals and providing them with rich opportunities to explore, discover, and make long-lasting relationships. Students can take part in rich fine arts programs including band, choir and drama. They have the ability to explore technology; to participate in athletics, and are exposed to a variety of new experiences that allow them to discover and develop their unique interests and talents. Our curricular and co-curricular programming provides students the opportunity to grow in knowledge about the world and their place therein.
The TIS middle school has a rich history and dedicated teachers who are passionate about serving the middle level learner. It is my pleasure to extend to you a warm welcome on behalf of myself and all our teachers and staff.
Mr. James Delzer
Middle School Principal
The Tianjin International School curriculum provides a holistic program that balances the development of concepts, skills and character. Our approach focuses on the growth of the developing child addressing social, physical, emotional and cultural needs in addition to academic welfare.
Our program centers on guided inquiry and collaboration as instructional methods to provide an environment that fosters problem solving and critical thinking, as well as subject competencies. Whenever possible, trans-disciplinary links are made across subjects to maximize learning connections.
Chinese, Physical Education, Music and Visual Arts are taught by Specialists to form a comprehensive, varied and rich educational experience. Technology is used as a tool that enhances and broadens the scope and quality of student learning.
The language of instruction is English, with additional support for non-English speakers.
In 6th grade science, students explore the Earth's structure and its place in the universe by working individually and in groups. They look at space, weather phenomena, geology, energy resources, and tectonic plates. Students in 6th grade are introduced to the processes of gathering and analyzing scientific data, creating models, and formal nonfiction writing.
7th grade science is an overview of common strands in physical science that involve the various forms of energy. Students connect the scientific inquiry processes to everyday problem solving through culmination projects in which they apply the concepts they have learned. Additionally, students reinforce their observation and analytic skills through hands-on and virtual labs.
8th grade Science focuses on Life Sciences and introduces the concept of scientific inquiry through laboratories. It examines the wonders of living organisms and the complexity of cellular structure and function, organization of living organisms, and the interaction of life forms. Students are able to apply this scientific knowledge to their daily life and discuss its effect on the world at large.
English Language Arts are an integral part of our middle school program that all students study. Students are challenged to grow in their speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills in preparation for a successful high school learning experience. The program uses a mixture of both nonfiction and fiction texts and heavily focuses on writing and grammar.
6th grade math combines the practice of foundational math skills with an exploration of basic pre-algebraic and geometric concepts. Topics include: whole number operations, integer, decimal, fraction, and percent computation; variables and variable expressions; data displays; congruence; similarity; and geometric figures.
Students begin Pre-Algebra by reviewing negative numbers and variables. The focus of the course then shifts to solving equations, beginning with simple one-step equations and building to more complex, multi-step equations. Additional topics include fractions, rates, ratios, proportions, percentages, probability, data displays and geometry, with an emphasis on the inclusion of variables.
Algebra I builds on the work accomplished in Pre-Algebra. Students explore increasingly complex linear functions and equation and inequality manipulation including solving systems of equations and inequalities. Students also explore exponential and quadratic equations, FOILing and factoring, and properties of exponents.
Geometry introduces and explores logical and spatial reasoning through the use of both inductive and deductive reasoning. Algebra is a necessary prerequisite for this course, as students often use geometric principles to set-up and solve algebraic equations. Connections are made between the concepts and their applications in the real world.
6th, 7th, and 8th grade art classes allow students to explore a range of art media while gaining a working knowledge of the elements and principles of design. Students will also build the skills necessary for creating artwork that fully and accurately expresses their creativity and ability.
Middle School students may choose between choir and band, and also have the option of taking Theatre. The middle school performing arts program builds upon the knowledge learned in elementary level, while beginning to delve into greater depth in vocal and instrumental repertoire. The Middle School Band and Choir perform a variety of musical styles, including jazz, pop, Broadway, and classical. As part of their music performance classes, middle school students continue their study of music theory and are given the opportunity to engage in creative projects. It is our goal that Middle School students graduate to the High School with a solid understanding of music theory, knowledge of instrumental and/or vocal technique, and an appreciation of the work it takes to produce a unified performance.
The middle school physical education program gives our students a physical outlet during the school day, supports physical development in early adolescence, instructs in how to make healthy choices and live a healthier lifestyle, and teaches foundational skills for participation in competitive and recreational athletics. Classes are held in the school gymnasium, on the outdoor turf field, and in the fitness room at TIS. The goal of the middle school PE program is to create an inclusive atmosphere where students can participate in sports and build confidence and awareness of themselves. Additionally, students are prepared to take part in TIS sports at a more competitive level.
At TIS we understand that living abroad and going to school away from home and old friends can be challenging for children of all ages. If not addressed, this can affect their behavior as well as their academic performance. For many students, living in China makes it more difficult to choose subjects and select colleges that would best fit their passions and skills.
Our school counselor and advisory teachers meet with students who may be having emotional or social difficulties and help determine the best course of action, which may include a recommendation of counseling with a professional provider. Conversations with the school counselor are confidential unless there is a threat of harm to oneself or others. Counselors are available on campus to individuals or groups of students to discuss problems relating to emotional growth, social adjustment, academic achievement or any other issues.
ACADEMIC SUPPORT SERVICES
The TIS community embraces individual learning processes and is committed to supporting children in inclusive classrooms with additional supports. The professionals in Academic Services collaborate with parents and faculty members to create student-centered learning plans. These plans are designed to increase student opportunity to show mastery of content through multiple means.
ENGLISH LANGUAGE SUPPORT
Mastery of the English language is crucial for each student to be successful at an international school. To determine the level of English language support needed, non-native English-speaking students are tested for English ability during the admissions process. The English Language Services (ELS) Program develops individual learning plans for non-native English speakers from Grade 1 – Grade 8 according to the English language needs of each individual student. Through close interaction with parents and TIS Staff, ELS teachers provide students with help in all areas of language acquisition in order to reach a high level of English language proficiency and achieve full participation in TIS curricula.
Our Middle School ELS Department provides two tracks to meet the needs of students whose English level is below their grade level. Placement is based on standardized English proficiency test results.
ADDITIONAL PROGRAM FEATURES
CHINESE LANGUAGE & CULTURE
All middle school students who have demonstrated adequate English ability have the opportunity to study Mandarin. There are three main goals for middle school students interested in learning Mandarin:
Building a strong foundation of high-frequency vocabulary.
Working on basic grammar rules, sentence structure, and discourse patterns.
Developing cultural knowledge and global awareness. This includes providing students the opportunity to go on field trips, eat new foods, learning about daily life for students their own age in China and learning about and celebrating Chinese holidays.
Although the study of English and the ongoing development of important literacy skills are fundamental elements of the curriculum, our students are also part of the global dialogue where multiple languages are advantageous. As an American school with an international perspective, we believe that a strong language program enhances the educational journey and encourages our students to develop alternative perspectives, cultural understanding and empathy.
At TIS, we see technology as a tool that supports a school community and facilitates learning.
As an important tool inside and outside of the classroom, students use technology to inquire and communicate. Through our technology program, we ensure that every student in our community has access to campus and worldwide electronic resources. These tools encourage students to adopt and employ technology during their tenure at TIS, preparing them for college and professional environments as responsible digital citizens.
The campus is connected to our data network allowing student and guests to wirelessly access electronic material in all academic and community spaces. In accordance with our standards, students must abide by acceptable use policies and guidelines found in the school handbook. To help encourage these standards our network is regularly monitored and acceptable barriers have been put in place for the safety of our students.
Our Middle School curriculum takes full advantage of digital resources and tools carefully selected to enrich learning across disciplines. Research and critical thinking skills are introduced through web searches protected by the school’s robust firewall and filters.
The Tianjin International School library is a vibrant, welcoming environment for students, staff and parents to enjoy and is specifically organized to service our diverse school community. Our Library resources support the teaching of the curriculum and develop our student's interests and hobbies. Library lessons are also linked to the curriculum and teach essential information skills for 21st Century learning.
Our Library Strives:
- To ensure learners grow as competent, ethical users and producers of ideas and information.
- To prepare life-long learners who are effective communicators, critical researchers and problem solvers.
- To collaborate and share with audiences beyond our school walls.
- To model our school’s mission and support learners in the pursuit of aesthetic growth and personal learning pathways.
We are constantly seeking to strengthen our partnership with parents and one of the ways we do this is through reporting to parents and actively involving parents in their children’s learning.
An opportunity for students to meet with their parents and teachers is through our Student Led Conferences at the end of the first and third quarters. Progress Reports are written in the form of report card comments at the end of the first semester and third semesters.
Parents can also make appointments with teachers throughout the year to discuss their concerns.
PowerSchool is the most widely used web-based student information system, supporting 10 million students over 65 countries. Benefits for parents and students include: real-time grades, attendance, comments, assignments, scores and much more - right from the teacher’s grade-book directly to students and parents.
At TIS, we believe that co-curricular activities are an important part of education that extends beyond the classroom. Co-curricular activities provide motivation for learning, character building, physical growth, and creativity while developing confidence and educating the whole child. Students who are involved in Co-curricular opportunities become more invested in the school experience, therefore increasing the opportunity for higher academic performance and social well-being.
TIS has a fantastic athletics program that grows our students in the knowledge of the sport, and then teaches them how to compete at their highest levels.
In middle school, the students are given equal playing time in games and tournaments. The emphasis is on students learning the rules, skills, and strategies of the sports they are playing. We currently feature soccer, volleyball and basketball for the middle school.
CONCERTS & PERFORMANCES
Public performance is a fantastic way for young learners to develop confidence and is an integral part of our program. Throughout the year, Middle School students showcase what they’re learning for peers and parents at seasonal performances in the winter and spring.
Clubs are a great tool in our aim to develop well-rounded students. The school sponsors a number of activities that give Middle School students an opportunity to explore and excel in a particular sport, hobby, or area of interest.