To learn more about our Middle School Curriculum, click Middle School Curriculum Overview
At Annunciation Catholic Academy, service is integrated throughout the Liturgical Year and the curriculum. At the end of every Mass, we are commissioned “to go forth to love and serve the Lord.” Service is at the heart of our lived faith. In Middle School, each grade gets an opportunity to go out into the community to do service. The students can choose between 10 – 12 different local agencies to not only visit to learn about that agency, but to actually do hands on service. Some agencies include Catholic Charities, Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry, Second Harvest Food Bank, Sharing Center Values Reborn Store and JMJ Life Center. Parent chaperones help to transport and supervise students on these service days.
As a school, outreach projects are conducted throughout the Liturgical Year. During Advent, Catholic Schools Week, Lent and May, the entire school works together to collect items or money to benefit others. Whether it is money being collected to help build a school in our Sister Diocese in the Dominican Republic or collecting socks and underwear to benefit local children through the parish Be An Angel program, students are given opportunities to truly understand what is meant by Jesus’ commandment to love our neighbor. Throughout the year, individual classes take time to visit nursing homes, make cards for soldiers or the elderly or other projects which help our students develop empathy for others and their situations. There is an emphasis not on just knowing the teachings of our faith, but on finding ways to put them into action.
Middle school students at ACA have the opportunity to be involved in special events throughout the year. Activities include house events, dances, and middle school leadership rewards.
The Leadership Academy seeks to provide our middle school students with the skills and character traits to “Do the right thing, at the right time, for the right reason.” The Leadership Academy is a unique program that integrates gospel values with the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Stephen Covey. Each middle school faculty member focuses on developing one of the seven habits and incorporates this value in the daily curriculum. Students are rewarded individually and collectively when they demonstrate leadership traits in the classroom. We believe that every child can be a leader. The goal of our program is to provide all of our middle school students with the tools to be successful, principled leaders now and in the future.
Beginning in the first year of middle school, each student is paired with a faculty advisor. This advisor meets with a small group of advisees prior to the start of each school day. The student is paired with this same faculty member throughout the middle school years. The advisor assists with guidance and serves as an advocate within the school community.
Middle School Houses
All middle school students are placed into “houses” during their middle school years. Each “house”, named for a particular saint, is made up of four advisory groups. These groups work together throughout the year to earn points for their house. Points are awarded for community service, church involvement, academic accomplishments and participation in extra-curricular activities. This program builds school spirit, encourages student involvement and fosters teamwork while promoting an atmosphere of fun. Once a month, middle school students replace their uniform polo shirts with their house shirts to show house pride. At the end of the day, students gather with their house-mates and participate in group activities such as quidditch, capture the flag, trivia, charades, and games based on “Minute to Win It” activities to promote team building within each house.
Student Led Conferences
Once a year, students are involved in planning and conducting a student-led conference. The student led-conference provides students with the opportunity to share their progress with their parents. While preparing for the conference, students are enabled to monitor and judge their own success over time. They work to develop an awareness of the skills necessary to grow in each subject area while setting goals for themselves within each class. Through this process, students benefit by learning how to evaluate their own work and how they can utilize the feedback to take responsibility for their work.
One of the most exciting opportunities our students have is exploring the many career choices that lay before them. Once a year students spend a day shadowing a professional who is employed in an area of interest to them. Armed with a series of questions they must ask about the profession, each middle school student experiences firsthand what is involved in the career they have selected. Students have shadowed attorneys, radio personalities, pre-school teachers, veterinarians and even a pilot for a freight carrier. The experience has helped students determine if they should apply for certain magnet programs offered at local high schools or if they still need to explore a more general liberal arts education while they develop their interests further.
Seventh and eighth grade students also participate in the school’s Buddy Program. Each eighth grade student is paired with an incoming kindergartner and each seventh grade student is paired with a first grader. The older students serve as role models for their buddies and are involved in several special activities with them throughout the year. They also accompany their buddies to Mass and help them become actual participants in the liturgy.
At Annunciation Catholic Academy, we understand the positive impact that hands-on experience and active participation can have on our students. The team of middle school teachers works together every year to integrate exciting field trip opportunities into our curriculum. These trips coincide with our learning objectives, often offer an inter-disciplinary approach to a topic, and actively engage the students in the themes and content presented in the classroom. Some of our field trips also allow students to grow in their faith and develop their confidence as they represent the academy while serving in the community or attending events sponsored by the Diocese of Orlando. Over recent years, we have completed a geography scavenger hunt at EPCOT, explored the Florida Aquarium, experienced a medieval village and tournament at Medieval Times, toured the Kennedy Space Center, and exercised our responsibility to care for creation with hands-on nature projects at the San Pedro retreat center.
Students who demonstrate a special talent and love for writing may be inducted into the Annunciation Catholic Academy Quill Society. The induction ceremony normally takes place in September of each year, and the student maintains this honor throughout his or her time at ACA. Junior Quill and middle school members participate in and sponsor poetry and essay contests. Middle school members often teach writing lessons they have chosen and prepared themselves to the primary and intermediate classes. The Quill Society has recently launched a middle school newspaper called The Comet, entirely designed by the students. Quill meetings are held regularly to plan activities promoting excellence in writing throughout the school.
National Junior Honor Society
National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) is an organization for students excelling in academics, leadership, service, character and citizenship. Students earning a 94% average, demonstrating involvement in extracurricular activities and engaged in community service work are invited to apply for NJHS as 7th and 8th graders. These students continue to serve the school community in a variety of ways including acting as tour guides, assisting with Grandparents Day, and babysitting for Annunciation Child Care preschoolers during informational meetings for parents.