Many students who are strong academically are appropriately placed in non-Plus courses and will continue to be successful and have their needs met in that placement.
South Lyon Community Schools provides the Plus Program classes in Math and English Language Arts to meet the needs of the small percentage (approximately 2%) of academically talented middle school students who are better served in a specialized program than in general courses. The classes in this program are designed to challenge this small subset of students. The students are held responsible for more depth and complexity of understanding while moving through the curriculum at an accelerated pace.
The Plus Program is housed at Millennium Middle School and Plus classes are offered in math and language arts to students in grades six, seven and eight who come from throughout the district.
A critical part of middle school adolescence is the social component. Observations of the friendship patterns of academically talented students reveal that they seek others with similar interests and abilities. The students selected for this program have a common bond and share an ability and a motivation to achieve. Grouping together for instruction for a small segment of the day is one obvious way to enhance their self-esteem and social development. They support one another in academics and in the social/emotional arenas. Research has shown that students in academically talented programs have a greater chance of reaching their potential.
The Language Arts Plus classes offer the students enrichment and acceleration options in language arts. Diverse learning styles are addressed through individual, cooperative, and collaborative projects. Plus language arts classes follow the same units of study as non-Plus courses at each grade level but are enhanced with more complex texts, more challenging writing assignments and additional projects, programs and units such as:
- Michigan Future Problem Solving Program and/or Scenario Writing
- Wordmaster Analogy Competition
- Thematic units
- Writing contests (e.g., Detroit Free Press Writing and Editorial contests, "America and Me" essay contest, Creative Communications poetry/essay anthology contest)
- Enrichment activities including guest speakers
The Mathematics Plus classes offer the students concepts beyond the regular grade level core curriculum. Students are selected for these classes because they have a very strong mathematical aptitude and an ability to make leaps of knowledge to solve mathematical problems, often without specific prior content exposure. Problem solving strategies are introduced, reviewed, and elaborated yearly.
The sixth grade Mathematics Plus students experience curriculum compacting and rapid pacing of materials. Both sixth and seventh grade district mathematics objectives are covered during this course. Successful completion of Algebra I at the seventh grade level allows students to enter Geometry in the eighth grade. Completion of Algebra I and Geometry earn students high school credits. Students successfully completing these courses enroll in Algebra II as ninth graders.
Successful completion of Algebra I is a graduation requirement. Math Plus students are completing Algebra I in seventh grade and Geometry in eighth grade. Incoming eighth grade students who are new to our district and have not already earned a credit for Algebra I in a previous district are not eligible for eighth grade Math Plus.