Presidio Knolls Middle School Program
Our middle school program is philosophically aligned with the progressive, student-centered aims of our preschool and elementary programs. We believe the middle school years should be joyful, challenging, transformative, and prepare our students to live healthy, connected, just, and successful lives.
We also believe that fluency in a second language is critical in the 21st century and a prerequisite for being an effective global citizen, and we follow the research that shows immersion during middle school is critical for true bilingualism and biculturalism.
At Presidio Knolls, our middle school students engage in rigorous, collaborative, hands-on learning that includes extensive exploration off campus and outside of San Francisco.
A Day in the Life of a PKS Middle Schooler
A typical middle school day is structured in two parts. In the mornings, students attend:
English class, where they read, engage in round-table discussions, write poetry, and hone the metalinguistic awareness they have already developed as bilingual thinkers.
Math class, where our students use an inquiry-based approach to master the basics of computation and analysis. They then apply these tools as mathematicians, engineers, demographers, and philosophers. In part, they do this through a series of math “deep dives.”
Chinese class, where they continue to refine their abilities as readers, writers, listeners, and speakers of Mandarin.
The fine and performing arts and physical education.
Afternoons are project-based and interdisciplinary, during which students focus on sustained, deep, authentic examination of complex issues. They are asked a series of challenging, open-ended questions, and need to construct and present complex answers - work that requires research, long-term planning, real-world application, and lots of tinkering.
PKS students complete four projects each year in an extended “project block (usually 120 minutes long). Completing each project requires an open and flexible mind, fearlessness, long-term planning, and true bilingualism and biculturalism. See 6th Grade, Project #1: Tales of Two Cities/ 双城记
Three of these projects take place on the ground in China as part of the PKS东南西北 travel program.
The project block is co-taught by bilingual and bicultural teachers, one with a STEAM background, and one with a social science background.
Our projects align to Next Generation Science Standards, Common Core ELA standards, and California state history standards.