Junior High Curriculum & Instruction

  • Our junior high schools offer a variety of educational opportunities and support programs for all students. The curriculum is aligned to the Illinois Learning Standards and incorporates the Common Core Standards.

    The junior high instructional program includes the following subject areas:

    • Language Arts (reading, writing, listening, and speaking):
      • Junior high students participate in a double period of language arts each day, which includes a reading class and a writing class. The curriculum balances the teaching and learning of reading strategies, writing processes, listening, and speaking skills.

    • History | Social Studies
      • Grade 7: The social studies curriculum centers on United States history—the Constitution through the Civil War period.

      • Grade 8: The social studies curriculum centers on United States history—Civil War to the present time.

    • Science – Junior high students will engage in learning opportunities that are aligned to the national Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). These learning opportunities focus on getting students excited and curious about the big ideas of science. We also focus on building student’s confidence in their ability to figure out the world around them. Across the 7th and 8th grade years, students will explore physical, earth, and life sciences through questions. For example:

        • “How do things inside our bodies work together to make us feel the way we do?”
        • “Where does food come from and where does it go next?” 
        • “How do changes in the Earth's system impact our communities and what can we do about it?”
        • "Why do things sometimes get damaged when they hit each other?"
           
      • Grade 7: Students engage in the study of the life sciences, including cell structure, ecology, biological studies, genetics, and health.

      • Grade 8: Students engage in the study of the chemical and physical sciences, including chemical interactions, forces, motion, atomic structure, and health.

    • MathematicsThe primary focus for our students' math experiences in junior high is to build mathematical thinkers. We want students to leave our District feeling confident in their math abilities. This is accomplished by engaging students in learning math by doing math, solving problems in real-world contexts, along with constructing mathematical arguments by utilizing their understanding of mathematical big ideas.

      • Grade 7
        • Pre-Algebra: This course is a compacted curriculum of both 7th and 8th Grade Common Core State Standards which includes: number systems, rational number operations, ratios, proportionality, percentages, expressions, solving linear equations, inequalities, exponents and scientific notation, graphing proportional and nonproportional relationships, angles and angle relationships, circumference and area of circles, volume of cylinders, spheres, and cones, and the Pythagorean Theorem.

        • Pre-Algebra x2: A two-period-long course where students engage in the same learning as the standard Pre-Algebra course. This allows students to access the Pre-Algebra content with the additional support of extended time.

        • 7th Algebra 1: This 7th Grade algebra course introduces the fundamental principles of algebra. Course topics include linear equations, graphs and inequalities, systems of equations, exponents and scientific notation, simplifying and factoring polynomials, quadratic equations and functions, rational expressions, and introductory radical operations. 

      • For seventh-grade students who took Algebra 1 in sixth grade, the following courses are also available:

        • Advanced Topics of Algebra 1 (see course description below)

        • Honors Plane & Solid Geometry (see course description below)

      • Grade 8
        • 8th Grade Math: This course aligns to the 8th Grade Common Core State Standards with a focus on problem solving and application. Topics include the real number system, linear equations, modeling relationships using functions, bivariate data, identifying and solving systems of linear equations, transformations, solving problems including congruence, similarity, the Pythagorean Theorem, surface area, and volume.

        • 8th Grade Algebra 1: This course introduces students to the fundamental principles of algebra. Algebraic symbolism, simplifying expressions, solutions to equations, the graphic representations associated with variables, and statistical variability are among the course topics. Additional points of emphasis include graphical representations, connections to related functions, and algebraic processes applied to word problems. Common Core State Standards provide the foundation for the course. 

        • Algebra x2: A two-period-long course where students engage in the same learning as the 8th Grade Algebra 1 course. This allows students to access the Algebra content with the additional support of extended time.

        • Advanced Topics of Algebra 1: This course is designed to focus on problem solving, word problems and higher-order thinking. It incorporates previously learned concepts from 7th Grade Algebra and delves deeper into the material and application process. 

        • Honors Plane & Solid Geometry: This advanced course is a comprehensive study of plane and solid geometry including constructions, formulas for measurement and formal proofs. It is based on the theorems and axioms that relate points, lines, planes, and solids. Topics are covered in great depth, especially area and volume of solids. Additional emphasis is placed on the integration of algebraic techniques in solving geometric problems. Students must successfully complete 7th Grade Algebra 1 to take this course.

        • Accelerated Algebra 2: This highly accelerated high school course is designed for students who demonstrate a strong command of algebra and geometry. M328, Accelerated Algebra 2 is provided at a high school location. The course briefly reviews concepts presented in earlier course work and then rigorously expands and applies them to other areas of mathematics. In addition, selected topics from pre-calculus are studied. Ideas presented in this course involve advanced techniques of graphing and solving equations and inequalities and will prepare students to take Trigonometry/Calculus A. This course requires a graphing calculator. Students must successfully complete Honors Plane & Solid Geometry to take this course.

    • Health

    • Physical Education

    Enrichment Offerings
    The Junior High Enrichment Program consists of courses in fine arts, practical arts, technology, and foreign languages. The Enrichment Program is designed to provide students with exposure to some courses in the above areas.

    Additional Offerings

    Academic interventions or targeted assistance may be provided to qualified students based upon the consideration of multiple data points. Interventions or supports are provided within a student’s daily schedule. 

    Mental Health and Social/Emotional Learning

    D15 Homework Guidance

    As a district, we believe that any work assigned to students, including homework, should be done with a high level of intentionality and planning. Student well-being should be considered and the amount of homework assigned should be age-appropriate.

    We encourage families to identify a specific time and place for children to complete homework. If any concerns arise regarding homework, please contact the classroom teacher.

    The following guidelines for suggested amounts of time to be spent on homework may be helpful:

    Homework Guidelines

    Grade Level

    Maximum Total Minutes per Day* 

    (total minutes across all content areas)

    Kindergarten

    10

    Grades 1 & 2

    20

    Grade 3

    30

    Grade 4

    30-40

    Grades 5 & 6

    45-60

    Grades 7 & 8

    45-60

    Extracurricular Activities

    The district offers a variety of optional extracurricular activities for students, including clubs, sports, and music. These activities vary from school to school.