Middle school serves as a transitional time for students. As such, we strive to:

  • Provide a nurturing environment for developing young adults through patience and understanding and promote self-value, cooperation, positive attitudes and tolerance.
  • Foster the budding interests of our students by offering expanded elective choices and academic pacing options.
  • Emphasize core knowledge by providing students with a solid academic base for future educational challenges in high school and beyond.

Core Structure

Middle school students are required to complete the core courses of language arts, math, science and social studies each year in grades 6, 7 and 8. Advanced tracks are available for core subjects.

Students will be placed into math and language arts sections based upon data compiled from test scores, teacher observation, classroom participation, and overall achievement within their prior course. Each section will be developed for students placed in appropriate tiers. Tier 1 students will be provided on-grade level course content along side of resources to help individualize student instruction tailored to their needs. Tier 2 students will have instruction that focuses on reinforcement as well as on-grade level course content. The Tier 3 students will be placed into a course that delves into further reinforcement of basic foundation skills. This course gives students the opportunity to work through and expand on skills that have been a challenge to master. Tier 3 also provides resources to individualize instruction for students.

Elective Structure

Students have the opportunity to choose from a variety of electives in the subjects of arts & humanities, business & technology, health, safety & PE, world languages and leadership. Elective course information may be found in the Middle School Electives section of this catalog. A health course is required in 8th grade, and all other elective schedules in grades 6-8 will be individualized to student interests and needs. Please contact your Guidance Counselor with questions about middle school electives.


Virtual Lessons, Office Hours & Homework Help

Every middle school course offers at least one live virtual lesson each week. The lesson will be hosted by your teacher, using a headset and webcam, and is open to all students in the course. Many middle school virtual lessons have optional attendance, though students may be required to attend virtual lessons based on the course subject and student performance. Virtual lessons last 45 minutes to an hour and take place on a set weekly schedule.

Teachers also host Office Hours during standard business hours, where they will be present in a virtual classroom at a scheduled time and be available to assist students with any assignment questions on an as-needed basis. PALCS offers online Homework Help after standard business hours, Sunday through Thursday nights, from 6 pm to 8 pm. Students may log in as needed and speak with a PALCS teacher.

Extra-Curricular Activities

Middle school students can attend any of our open chats or online activities. In our offices, students are able to participate in the monthly Middle School Connect program that alternates themes around science, math, art and socialization games. Around the state, families are welcome to attend any of the numerous field trips hosted by our teachers and parent network coordinators. Further information on PALCS activities can be found at https://www.palcs.org/all-programs, and enrolled students should check the PALCSchool for up-to-date field trips, event listings and contact information for these activities.

Academic Programs

The University Scholars Program and the Center for Performing and Fine Arts are available to PALCS students 6th grade and up. Information about all these programs can be found on their program pages.

PALCS middle school guidance counselors each maintain a non-academic course where families can access supplemental monthly lessons that explore topics like study skills, time management, career awareness, transition to high school, positive character traits, bullying, and friendship. Guidance resources for parents and students are also posted in this course.


Advanced Coursework

Within core classes, advanced options are available. These advanced options are designed to take students deeper into the content and will be designated as an Advanced Language Arts, Advanced Science or Advanced Social Studies class. Math classes may be designated as Advanced or specialized into a course such as Algebra I. To be eligible for advanced courses, students must have strong academics, strong test scores, and teacher recommendation.

Supplemental Assistance

Students who need additional, intensive practice in Reading and/or Math will be placed into the Voyages through Reading and/or Voyages through Math program. These students are identified through multiple measures of classroom performance. Courses for each grade level are structured the same, but tailored to specific grade level content. These programs will also provide additional live, small group virtual lesson instruction tailored to the student’s needs.

Voyages through Math is a course for Tier 2 students who are scoring close to proficient, according to grade level standards. The course will use the program TransMath and will address the three critical foundations of Algebra which include fluency with whole numbers, fluency with fractions, and particular aspects of geometry and measurement. These specific areas will cover key topics to the conceptual depth necessary for proficiency.

Voyages through Reading is a course for Tier 2 and Tier 3 students who are scoring basic/below basic, or lower/slightly lower than grade level, according to grade level standards. The course will use the program Language Live and will focus on fluency, comprehension, grammar, vocabulary, and writing.

Special Education

Special Education services are available for PALCS students. Accommodations are highly individualized on a student-by-student basis. More information is available on the PALCS Special Education page.


Fast Facts
  • Over 150 highly qualified teachers work at PALCS. Teachers work from one of our offices, in either West Chester or Pittsburgh.

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Middle School Course Descriptions »

View Middle School Course Descriptions

All our course information is available right here on palcs.org.
Middle School Course Descriptions »

Click on a name below to meet our elementary school academic administration, listed here with their respective support. You can also click on a grade to see teachers and support staff who work with each specific grade in alphabetical order. You can view other employees on our Organization page.

Mr. Mark Allen

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Director of Academics; Founder and Director of the PALCS Center for Performing and Fine Arts

Mr. Kevin Reigner

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Middle School Instructional Coach
and Data Specialist

Ms. Sarah Boccasini

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Middle School Reading Specialist and Data Interventionist

Ms. Sarah Boccasini

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Middle School Reading Specialist and Data Interventionist

Ms. Sarah Boccasini

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Middle School Reading Specialist and Data Interventionist

 
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