As we researched course descriptions, theories, and concepts related to honors classes, we found the definitions of honors classes explain what we are already doing at Dunstan Middle School. The National Collegiate Honors Council lists five components of honors classes.  An example:

#5  To help students become more independent and critical thinkers, demonstrating the ability to use knowledge and logic when discussing an issue or an idea, while considering the consequences of their ideas, for themselves, for others, and for society.

This is the goal for every class, every day at Dunstan Middle School.

So what does the Dunstan honors program look like?  It looks like freedom of choice.  Select one, two, or all subjects at the honors level; this is not an all or nothing program. Dunstan staff will admit students based on a body of evidence including grades, test scores, attendance, and behavior, in collaboration with current teachers.  There is no separate application process.

Our honors courses will take the standard curriculum for a middle school class and cover additional topics, or delve deeper into the existing topics.  It’s like rocket fuel for your brain.  It’s not about ‘more work’, rather exposure to more complex material.  A deeper look might include an extended science lab, water sample tests taken from the gulch behind the school, additional primary sources in history, or complicated synthesis of literary topics, that requires written articulation of the aforementioned complicated synthesis.  In other words, analyze and synthesize the facts, back it up with evidence, and have the courage to express findings orally and in writing.

This is not for the faint of heart. We take students to levels that will prepare them for high school and beyond.  We might not prove complicated concepts such as String Theory…but then again, we might.  Don't hesitate to explore the honors opportunity at Dunstan Middle School.


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