The Curriculum Enrichment Program stimulates learning within creative and artistic contexts. Art, music, and drama are woven into the core curriculum to deepen each student's knowledge and comprehension and to provide multiple ways for students to express their understanding. Students are encouraged to be creative and imaginative in their pursuit of knowledge and to take responsible risks throughout the learning process. The curriculum enrichment coordinator works collaboratively with the classroom teacher to incorporate necessary and relevant oral and written language-learning opportunities for the learners. Ultimately, the coordinator and classroom teacher strive for the seamless integration of arts and academics, supported by language intervention within the naturalistic context of the classroom.
Middle Division students have the option of participating in interscholastic team sports. The ideas that guide Middle Division athletics may be summed up succinctly:
Opportunity – Students have opportunities to be on a team if they wish to. They learn to adhere to demands of play and the commitment required by their coaches.
Quality – Our idea is that every athlete, team, and coach will develop their talents to the fullest and compete to best of their ability.
Sportsmanship – Winning is not just achieved on a scoreboard, but requires the highest standards of conduct from athletics, coaches, and spectators.
Typically our policy concerning participation on athletic teams is a ‘no cut’ policy that invites students to try out and play. At the middle school level it is important for students to play as a team, regardless of their abilities. Athletic competition is an extension of the classroom – students are invited to learn and grow from their experiences.
General/ Choral/ Orff Music Programming
Students in the Lower Division are scheduled for instruction in music offerings as a part of their school program. Orff methodology and Orff instruments are a central feature of the music curriculum. Learning to read music based on time signatures along with the versatility of the Orff instruments combine to allow students to learn to play high percussion instruments while learning musical rudiments. Stimulating, challenging, engaging, rewarding… are some of the words used to describe this program.
Choral Music Ensemble is available for students in grades 3-5. This performance based elective is a select group of chorally talented students who perform at various points during the academic year. The Ensemble will often be accompanied by pre-band Orff students who provide musical accompaniment for the Choral Music Ensemble.
Middle Division students may elect Choral Music. Musical selections for this performance group are of a more complex nature and include Orff instrumentation combined with musical theater.
Lower Division students explore the elements of artistic expression posed by colors, lines, shapes, and dimensions. Art classes are scheduled weekly and students are challenged to explore drawing, painting, clay and sculpture, and the various medians of artistic presentation. Art shows at the School allow for student art to be showcased.
Middle Division students may elect studio art. Once again students are challenged by the elements of artistic expression to create on a variety of media. The history of art and art appreciation content are important pieces of the courses offered students in 6th-8th grade.
Speech and Language
Lower Division students who require additional support in expressive and receptive language skills benefit from small group as well as classroom instruction and experiences in the area language development. Students are provided myriad opportunities to speak publicly.
Middle Division students are offered a variety of elective opportunities in the areas of public speaking and forensics. Students who elect these courses apply skills in ambassadorial roles within the School community.
Helping to build an understanding of some of the key foundations of good citizenship within our community is a touchstone of character formation programming at Swift School. Character studies and initiatives, advisory programs between the divisions, community service, leadership programs, and community development each comprise the School’s overall character formation program.
Digital Learning Environment (DLE)
More than SMARTBoards and SMARTables, the DLE provides students with instructional formats that are akin to the digital world. As Swift School moves to the second phase of the DLE, learning materials that traditionally were presented in the form of textbooks and workbooks are being crafted in digitized formats so students work directly from teacher directed laptops to student laptops. The old notion of a library is being transported to a library on every student desk. Applications of digitized learning allow students to both work and store their work accomplishments in a single location – on the files created on their laptops. Digitized assignments are ‘pushed’ out to students on their school and on to their home computers. The days of searching through tons of paper and looking for lost assignments are almost over for Swift students. ‘The dog chewed up my homework’ isn't something we hear at Swift!
The content areas of science and social studies provide students opportunities to ‘learn how to learn’. Organization skills as they relate to the management of materials, time management, planning, executive function, and strategies for planning to complete assignments are the elements of the study skills courses for both Lower Division and Middle Division students. During the intermediate and middle years students are taught how to use instructional materials effectively and efficiently. Outlining content, highlighting, test preparation, study guides, note taking, and the use of computer files are topics of study.