The middle school provides instruction in core content knowledge and skills as well as elective and exploratory experiences appropriate to the developmental needs of early adolescents. In bridging the gap between elementary school and high school, the middle school moves the student from the child-centered, team-teaching, and unit approach of the elementary school to the departmentalized, diversified, and comprehensive instructional program available in the high school. The middle school day is divided into 7 academic periods and a lunch period. Each academic period is approximately 50 minutes long, and the lunch period is about 30 minutes long. The city’s three middle schools offer a unified body of instruction based on the Standards of Learning for the Commonwealth of Virginia. All middle school students take at least one period of each of the four core academic areas: English, math, science, and social studies. Descriptions for these core academic courses are found in the Core Curriculum section of this document. In addition to the core academic courses, all students participate in physical education and health coursework. In some cases in the sixth grade physical education and health might be part of an exploratory rotation. In the sixth or seventh grade, these classes might be in conjunction with band or orchestra. Family life education is a part of the health curriculum, but parents may complete an "opt-out" form and have their child receive alternate assignments in place of the family life content. Remaining periods are commonly used to provide additional instruction in English or reading, exploratory courses, or elective courses. The exploratory and elective offerings vary among the schools, and information regarding each school’s specific program offerings is found in the section devoted to that particular school. Additional special programs and services offered for middle school students are outlined in the section on Differentiated Instruction. The section on Instructional Sequences illustrates possible course sequences for the core curriculum through the high school level, and several pages of the High School Program of Studies are provided to put the middle school program in the context of high school graduation requirements and diploma seals.

Middle School Attendance Zones

The school a student attends is determined by the student’s place of residence within geographical attendance zones; however, a portion of the student population of Paul Laurence Dunbar Middle School for Innovation is drawn from an applicant pool of students living outside of that attendance zone. Inquiries about the application process for Paul Laurence Dunbar Middle School for Innovation should be addressed to the department of information technology in the school administration building at 515-5017.

Middle School Promotion Guidelines

 A student’s grade in a middle school course is determined by the teacher of that course. The teacher determines a numerical value for the student’s achievement on each graded assignment, and a final percentage grade is calculated by the grading software provided by the school division. Extra credit through projects, outside activities, reading assignments, and other teacher-approved work is encouraged.

Middle school promotion and retention guidelines are set by school board policy. Please refer to the complete Lynchburg City Schools Policy Manual found on line at  The Promotion, Retention, Acceleration policy is listed at P 7-25. As of January 2007, the following is a summary of the promotion/retention guidelines for middle school students:

To be promoted from sixth grade to seventh grade, students must pass four courses. Students in advanced English must pass English and math, history and/or science, and/or one additional course. Non-advanced English students must pass two English classes (literature and writing) as well as math and either history or science. Students not promoted because they fail one or more core content courses must successfully complete the appropriate summer remediation courses to be considered for promotion.

To be promoted from seventh grade to eighth grade and to be promoted from eighth grade to ninth grade, students must pass five courses. Advanced English students must pass the four core academic subjects (English, math, science, and history) and one elective for promotion. Non-advanced English students must pass two English classes (literature and writing) as well as math, science, and history/social studies. If a student passes four core courses but not an elective, the principal may use his/her discretion in promoting the student. Students who fail one or more core courses must pass these courses in a summer school program to be considered for promotion.