Curriculum Alignment

Middle School Course Alignment

Middle School Course Alignment for Social Studies, Math, and World Languages

Seattle Public Schools is proud to lead the way in creating consistent, rigorous, and appropriate middle school courses for all our students as part of our commitment to racial equity. As shared in February 2020, we are aligning course offerings for middle schools and K-8 schools across the district to bring predictability to all our families and create common pathways to college and career.

As was previously announced, starting in the 2021-22 school year, every SPS sixth and seventh grade student will be taught using the Board-approved Amplify Science curriculum, regardless of Highly Capable (HC) eligibility.

We are also pleased to announce that courses will be similarly aligned for social studies, including Since Time Immemorial, mathematics, and world languages starting in the 2021-22 school year.

NOTE: The FAQs below will be updated as new questions are received. Use the SPS online contact form to submit questions and you will receive a response from staff as soon as possible.

Social Studies and Since Time Immemorial

Starting in the 2021-22 school year, district-adopted curriculum Since Time Immemorial: Tribal Sovereignty in Washington State will be taught at all grade levels as the primary curriculum for American Indian history.

Course titles will remain the same for grades 6, 7, and 8, but geography and Eastern Hemisphere will be discontinued. Courses will follow the revised Washington State Social Studies Standards for grades 6 and 7. All students will follow the same course sequence regardless of Highly Capable (HC) eligibility.

The course sequencing for grades 6-8 will be:

  • Grade 6: World History and World Geography, with Since Time Immemorial
  • Grade 7: Expand to one full year of Washington State history, with a specific focus on Since Time Immemorial
  • Grade 8: U.S. History and Government, with Since Time Immemorial

FAQ

How will students learn about geography and Eastern Hemisphere if those courses are discontinued?

Geography and Eastern Hemisphere will now be incorporated into World History. Geography is also incorporated into social studies curriculum for all K-12 students.

Why are only grades 6 and 7 shifting to follow the revised Washington State Social Studies Standards?

The shift in standards necessitated realignment in grades 6 and 7. There were no other significant standards shifts from our current curriculum in other grades.

Math

For the 2021-22 school year, students in grade 6 will be enrolled in the next math course in the sequence based on their grade 5 math course enrollment. This ensures that all students receive instruction in the foundational K-8 math standards that lay the groundwork for algebra and higher math courses that students will take in high school.

The Math Content Area of Curriculum, Assessment, and Instruction will partner with all middle and K-8 schools to ensure that by the 2022-23 school year there is at least one acceleration pathway available for students who are ready for a faster pace or more challenge while in middle school, either through compacting content or doubling up. While individual schools may design their own acceleration opportunities, the Math Content Area can support schools who plan to offer the Math 7/8 Compacted course in grade 7, or who plan to allow students to double-enroll in Math 8 and Algebra 1 in grade 8.

SPS has transitioned away from skipping over a math course as a district-supported acceleration option because it results in students missing foundational math learning crucial for success in later math courses. To reach advanced coursework opportunities, such as Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs, students only need to be accelerated in math by one year, which can happen in middle school or high school.

For additional questions about math enrollment for students qualified for advanced learning or highly capable services, please contact the Advanced Learning department or review your middle school’s Continuous School Improvement Plan.

FAQ

What is the sequence of math courses that students are expected to take starting in grade 6?

The course sequence is math 6, math 7, math 8, algebra 1, and geometry.

If my student doubles up on math courses, will they have to drop an elective?

In most cases, yes. The additional math class will serve as the student’s elective.

World Languages

World languages at the middle school level was previously offered as a two-year sequence. For example, students could take Spanish 1A for two semesters in grade 7 and then Spanish 1B for two semesters in grade 8. Students then had the option to move forward one year of world language credit for high school credit. Some schools also offered an exploratory language option that was not for high school credit.

As a part of this middle school alignment plan, the goal of all middle schools is to provide an opportunity for all students to earn at least one high school credit of world language. World language at the middle school will now be offered in a one-year sequence. For example, students will complete Spanish 1A in a semester and Spanish 1B in a semester. This is the same way world language is offered in high school. Students will now receive high school credit for completing world language in middle school. Some schools may still choose to offer the exploratory language option which is not for high school credit. Languages offered will vary by school. This new world language alignment will increase the opportunity for all students to be able to take world language through the one-year sequence and will increase the number of students earning high school credit for world language in middle school. This will also increase the opportunity for schools to offer level 2 of a world language within their master schedule and will increase the opportunity for students to take higher level language courses in high school.

FAQ

Will my students have to repeat a language level?

No. The current yearlong 1B courses will be phased out and all middle schools will be offering world language in a one-year sequence by the 2022-23 school year.

How can I find out which languages my student’s school offers?

It is best to check with your child’s school about course offerings each spring

What if my student’s school doesn’t offer the language that they are interested in?

Are there options to take a world language at another school?

No. We recommend sharing this interest with your school leadership and community.