During these middle school years, students need academic challenges and social experiences in an environment which provides stability. To accomplish this, students work with the same administrator and guidance counselor during their three years at the school. Additionally, schedules are organized to allow students to spend part of their day in a small unit and part of their day with a larger number of students.
The academic program is organized to meet the needs of preadolescents. It is intellectually challenging and provides opportunities to discover and develop new talents and skills.
Social interaction is also an important aspect of the early adolescent's development. BF's aim in this area is to provide social activities which are appropriate for this age.
Benjamin Franklin Middle School is a two house structure. Each house, Franklin and Ridge, is comprised of grade level teams. Five teachers and approximately one hundred students comprise each team. Student placement in a house is the result of an effort to balance the teams by using the following criteria: academic competence, gender, sending elementary school, and course selections.
There are advantages to the house plan. The "school within a school" concept creates a manageable environment for children and teachers. It provides opportunities for a group comprised of a house administrator, a guidance counselor, teachers, and students to get to know one another well over a three year period. At the same time, there is ample opportunity for contact with students in the other house through unified arts, music, physical education, health, and co-curricular activities.
An English teacher, a social studies teacher, a mathematics teacher, and a science teacher and their one hundred twenty five students comprise a team at each grade level in each house. These staff members teach five sections of their specialty and one section of an assigned elective. They have a common meeting time which provides opportunity for interdisciplinary planning, parent conferences, and the sharing of information about students' progress.