• Since 2009, AACPS middle schools have operated on a six-period day and rotated encore classes as part of a nine-week “wheel” or on A/B or A/B/C days. This has worked well for some of programs, but not all.

    A team of school administrators, Central Office personnel, and resource teachers has spent the last two years considering what has worked well with this model, and what can be changed to help us increase academic achievement for all students. The work they have done has resulted in a new encore course model that AACPS will implement beginning in the 2019-2020 school year.

    The key components of the plan are:

    • Retention of the six-period day. Each day will consist of four core periods and two encore periods for students.
    • Core classes will be held daily, and encore classes will rotate on an A/B schedule (identical to high schools).
    • Reading interventions for students reading below grade level will be held daily in grades 6 and 7, and every other day in Grade 8. It is our hope that this model helps more students read at or above grade level earlier in their middle school careers.
    • Single-semester and full year encore classes will be available for students.
    • The nine-week “wheel” will be eliminated.
    • Students will have the option to enroll in World Language courses in grades 6, 7, or 8.

    We believe this model, which better aligns the magnet and comprehensive programs, will be less stressful for students and allow them to focus more on encore interests rather than requiring certain encore classes in a given schedule. Any student can, for example, take three courses of a World Language and earn two high school credits, thus fulfilling their graduation requirement while still in middle school. Students also will have the option of deferring World Language courses until high school and concentrating on art or dance, among other encore choices. The schedule also allows for increased instructional time for year-long performing arts courses and provides every-other-day physical education instruction for all students.

    The model will also reduce the number of teachers who are teaching courses outside of their certification area, resulting in better instruction and less preparation time.

    School counselors and other staff will be prepared to assist students as they schedule classes for the 2019-2020 school year. Please don’t hesitate to contact them with any questions.