Middle School Academics

Academic LIfe

Making Waves Academy’s (MWA) middle school (grades 5-8) develops foundational skills in mindsets anchored in MWA’s core values and commitment to inspiring students to continue to grow and improve, achieve excellence, and prepare them for rigorous high school curriculum and coursework, in ultimately applying to and graduating from college or pursuing an appropriately challenging post-secondary education or career pathway.

Making Waves Academy middle school is particularly effective because it offers:

  • A long-standing leadership team, faculty, and staff with years of combined experience at MWA and in K-12 education. They apply research, best practices, and experience to address various student-learning needs, build relationships and rapport with students and parents, and develop foundational habits, skills, and knowledge required to excel and achieve in high school.
  • High-quality, rigorous, and engaging instruction that is aligned to California Common Core standards.
  • Comprehensive support services for students and families that include academic support and intervention, nutrition, transportation, social worker support, and clinical psychological services support.
  • Facilities designed to enhance learning such as well-equipped classrooms, science labs, a Maker Space lab, art rooms, art and music rooms, outdoor playground and turf fields, and a gymnasium. Laptops are provided to every student to use and take home.  

Curriculum and Instruction

Making Waves Academy middle school has a rigorous, holistic academic approach that provides our students with the opportunity to complete an educational program that prepares them for high school, college, and beyond. MWA’s instructional program is designed to empower youth to become analytical thinkers who can apply subject knowledge to solve real-world problems. Based on current knowledge of best practices that work for our targeted student body, we continually update the instructional program and curriculum content to ensure our students’ success.

CHOICE After-School Program

The DREAM Program provides additional academic intervention, homework help, and extracurricular activities for students requiring additional support. The program operates from 3:00-6:00 pm daily. DREAM is funded by the After-School Education & Safety (ASES) Program Grant.

English Language Development (ELD)

Making Waves Academy’s (MWA) English Language Development (ELD) Coordinator oversees and supports teachers with common strategies that support English Language Learners (ELL) continuing to progress in their English language listening, oral, and writing skills. The ELD Coordinator monitors school-wide academic achievement and progress for all MWA students. Our goal is to help all middle school students successfully attain Reclassified Fluent English Proficient (RFEP) status by the start of their ninth-grade year. For remaining ELL students, the coordinator works with them to attain RFEP status as soon as possible.

Special Education (SPED)

Making Waves Academy (MWA) is a member of El Dorado Charter SELPA and either delivers or makes arrangements for supporting students with Individualized Education Plans (IEP). MWA employs a site-based team consisting of a Director, RSP teachers, aides, and service providers for instruction, support, and assessments.


At MWA we believe in the power of various forms of formative and summative assessment that inform both instruction and student efficacy.

  • Classroom-Based. At MWA, students take a variety of different formative assessments that help them prepare for their classroom-based summative assessments and end-of-year assessments. Formative assessments might include exit tickets (five minutes or less) or quizzes (half the period). For example, exit tickets are used to check for understanding tied to the learning objective for that class period. Quizzes help students and faculty know where students are in the process towards mastery of the subject. Summative assessments are an opportunity for students to show more comprehensively what they have learned. Students in the sixth-eighth grades take finals at the end of the fall and spring semesters – another opportunity for students to demonstrate mastery at a higher level.
  • CAASPP (SBAC & CAST) Assessments. As a public school, our students participate in the California statewide testing called the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP). As part of this statewide system, our upper school students in 5th-8th grades take the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments (SBAC) in math and English. 5th and 8th grade students also take the California Science Test (CAST).    Students practice for these end-of-the-year assessments through a variety of interim and benchmark assessments evenly dispersed throughout the school year. These forms of assessments not only provide students and faculty with formative data on levels of mastery attained for each student, but also provide a valuable opportunity for practice for the CAASPP.
  • PSAT/SAT. Students in the eighth grade begin preparation for both the PSAT and SAT by taking the PSAT 8/9 exam. PSAT 8/9 is developed by the College Board (the developer of the SAT and PSAT exams) to help assess junior high level college-readiness (eighth-ninth grades). The assessment data derived from this exam help students and faculty determine where individual students are with respect to college-readiness as well as being used to predict which Advanced Placement (AP) courses the student would be successful in taking in high school.

Professional Development

Making Waves Academy (MWA) commits to ongoing professional development based on instructional best-practices.

  • Site-Based. MWA schedules weekly professional development meetings every Friday throughout the school year. Students are released early on Fridays to allow for up to two hours of professional development for faculty, admin, and staff.
  • Off-Site. MWA supports faculty, admin, and staff in attending professional development opportunities off-site at area, regional, state, and national conferences on topics that are content-specific, instructional practices-based, and leadership-based.
  • Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). PLCs are being developed in different areas to allow faculty to explore and develop instructional approaches and strategies that support coherent, standards-aligned and vertically aligned instruction. Topics include issues like the use of technology for blended learning classroom strategies.

Saturday Academy

Select students are expected to attend Saturday Academy sessions over the course of the school year in order to receive additional academic intervention support. Saturday Academy hours are typically between 9:00 am and 12:00 Noon.