8th Grade Course Selection Overview—2019

William Diamond Middle School

The course selection and team placement processes for the 2019-2020 school year are about to begin! Please note the following about how those processes will unfold:

  1. Teachers enter math and world language course recommendations:  Your child’s teachers will enter a recommendation into Aspen.  This recommendation will be visible to you through the online Aspen student portal on May 18.

Math Offerings and Placement: The Math department offers three levels of courses for eighth graders: Mathematics 8, Mathematics 1, and Mathematics 1 Honors. Placement in math courses is based on grade-level common assessments (i.e., unit-based tests, comprehensive tests, and national challenges) and teacher recommendation.   Please see our Program of Studies for a thorough description of these course offerings. CLICK HERE to read about how math placement works.

World Language Offerings and Placement: The World Language department offers advanced language courses as well as rigorous continuing courses in 8th grade Spanish and French. The same curriculum is covered in both courses and both strive to raise the proficiency levels of all students. Students who demonstrate excellence in the skills of speaking, listening, comprehension, writing, and reading will be recommended for the advanced class.  There is no advanced level in Mandarin. Please see our Program of Studies for a thorough description of these course offerings.

The World Language department uses a rubric to ensure fair and accurate 7th – 8th-grade placement.

  1. Parents complete the Student Information Sheet by May 24.  We will use this information as we form teams for next year and as your child’s new teachers get to know your child.  Please do NOT make requests for specific teams or teachers. Also, note that we typically do NOT honor friend requests unless there are extenuating circumstances.
  2. Online Course Selection: course selection will occur online at home through the Aspen student portal from May 18 to May 24.  We will provide your student with a handout that includes his or her password to access the student portal and directions for navigating the course selection process.  To prepare for course selection, parents and students should review the Program of Studies (available online on the Diamond homepage) and the list of courses listed below.

  1. Course Selection Verification: We will print and mail home course selection confirmation sheets, listing the courses your student has selected for the 2019-2020 school year.   If the course list is correct, you don’t need to do anything. If changes need to be made, please mark the changes, sign the form and send it back to us by June 5.
  2. Final placement decisions: In early August, we make a number of adjustments to student schedules, especially as we use MCAS scores, final grades, and additional teacher and parental input for those students who may benefit from our intervention programs (e.g., Mega Math or Guided Learning).  Affected students will be notified over the summer.
  3. Team Placement: In late August we will mail home team placement letters.
  4. Student Schedules: Students receive their schedules on the first day of school.

Thank you in advance for helping us with the course selection process.  With your input and the input of your child’s teachers, we hope to create learning environments in which all students are challenged and supported as they grow academically, socially, and emotionally.