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Thinking, Creating, Reflecting: Impacting the Future


Upper School

Ages 10 - 14

  • Date created

    January 15, 2018

  • Last updated

    November 2, 2022


Adolescence is a time when social emotional learning and a focus on identity is critically important. At Spectrum, students are encouraged to become independent learners, taking on even more personalized projects. Such projects may include connecting with outside experts, developing mentor relationships, and creating evidence through digital media. Students learn the 21st century skills needed to be engaged in high school, the workforce, and beyond. What is most unique is this model gives students the opportunity to take creative risks without fear of failure.  Teachers work closely with each student to support and nurture their passions, while creating appropriate academic rigor meant for that child’s developmental needs. Teachers and parents collaborate through in person, email, and text conversations to attend to the whole child. Often you may find students on personalized field trips, including time at Rockford University. Finally, as part of our philosophy of progressive education, Upper School students identify ways to make an impact on their community and are expected to show evidence of creating a positive impact in our school community and beyond.

What to Expect

Students are becoming independent thinkers and learners

They are striving to be responsible and self-directed

Curiosity is encouraged. Students have more choice in what is studied, as well as how projects will be created and assessed

Students are encouraged to ask questions in order to develop deeper understanding

Students are developing more sophisticated problem solving strategies

Common core standards are incorporated within the curriculum

Upper School students continue to work on developing as a whole child (resolving social conflicts, the arts, etc)

High school readiness with exposure to a wide range of content

21st century literacy skills

Daily technology integration including video editing, blogging, and Google Drive

Problem Solving and Problem Based Learning

Psychosocial education for students and parents

Personal, meaningful relationships with all students and parents

Inside the Classroom

Little Clevelands’ Collection! May 16 – May 20

Our last session with Liz Ocana, saying goodbye with a 

Little Clevelands’ Collection! May 9 – May 13

Thank you Mrs. Puetz for bringing the Rockford Symphony Orchestra's 

Little Clevelands’ Collection! May 2 – May 6

Continuing to work through IVS, Khan, and Math essentials, but 

Little Clevelands’ Collection! Apr. 25 – Apr. 29

Independent (DIY) Interest Group at Flow! Final day 

Little Clevelands’ Collection! Apr. 18 – Apr. 22

Pizza Day: another delicious Interest Group experience!Creating some healthy fun 

Little Clevelands’ Collection! Apr. 11 – Apr. 15

Tennis with Coach Dan!Legends in the Making! No Holds Barred: 

World Explorers’ & Trail Blazers’ Journal! Apr. 4 – Apr. 8

PE at RU! The Trailblazers played Uno with Miss 

Little Clevelands’ Collection! Apr. 4 – Apr. 8

Mmmmmmmmmmmm! Cannolis, and cheesecake, and pound cake, oh, my! The 

Little Clevelands’ Collection! Mar. 28 – Apr. 1

Solofest Results! Congratulations to the following band students for earning 

Little Clevelands’ Collection! Mar. 14 – Mar. 18

Lilah's Pi-scape and Pi(a)ku along with more Pi Day art 

Little Clevelands’ Collection! Mar. 7 – Mar. 11

A fascinating Mars presentation by Jim Hopkins!Library Trip! Mining, female 

Little Clevelands’ Collection! Feb. 28 – Mar. 4

Engineering the next space landing dock prototype for Mars!Scientists at 

Little Clevelands’ Collection! Feb. 21 – Feb. 25

Programming our blindfolded “Rover” to get through a difficult trail 

Little Clevelands’ Collection! Feb. 14 – Feb. 18

Middle School started off this morning with a mental agility 

Little Clevelands’ Collection! Feb. 7 – Feb. 11

Work Time!Mission to Mars Day Five: the Human Body on 

Little Clevelands’ Collection! Jan. 31 – Feb. 4

Studying the Constitution!Ownership of Learning! It’s amazing to see Middle 

Little Clevelands’ Collection! Jan. 24 – Jan. 28

January Field Trip! We made stops at the Winnebago County 

Little Clevelands’ Collection! Jan. 17 – Jan. 21

We are preparing for our Challenger Mission to Mars which 

Little Clevelands’ Collection! Jan. 10 – Jan. 14

Showcasing our work at the Little Cleveland’s Biology Museum! 

Little Clevelands’ Collection! Jan. 3 – Jan. 7

Working on their scripts and props for Future Problem Solvers!Learning 

Little Clevelands’ Collection! Dec. 13 – Dec. 17

Peanut Butter Jelly Time! Our Middle Schoolers made us so 

Little Clevelands’ Collection! Dec. 6 – Dec. 10

Work Time this week!Sneak peek on their way to the 

Little Clevelands’ Collection! Nov. 29 – Dec. 3

Loving that Spectrum students are still engaged with Future Problem 

Little Clevelands’ Collection! Nov. 15 – Nov. 19

The Little Clevelands working on their character autopsies for their 

Little Clevelands’ Collection! Nov. 8 – Nov. 12

eSports! Nolan discussing eSports with potential program provider. Look for 

Little Clevelands’ Collection! Nov. 1 – Nov. 5

We are taking a field trip to LZ Peace Memorial 

Little Clevelands’ Collection! Oct. 25 – Oct. 29

Just Another Manic Monday! We are putting out the school’s 

Little Clevelands’ Collection! Oct. 18 – Oct. 22

Reading from Spoon River Anthology! Check out our Fall Field 

Little Cleveland’s Collection! Oct. 11 – Oct. 15

Physical Education at Rockford University! We had so much fun 

Middle School Highlights! Oct. 4 – Oct. 8

The 6th graders constructed a story in Sign Language about 

Middle School Highlights! Sept. 27 – Oct. 1

Hi, Middle School Families! Our year is off to a 

Middle School Highlights! Sept. 20 – Sept. 24

A cool morning! A cool morning means we have the 

Middle School Highlights! Sept. 13 – Sept. 17

Illinois virtual school math with Mary Beth and Dawn!Creating Cymbeline 

Middle School Highlights! Sept. 6 – Sept. 10

Miss Lindsay came up with a fun Roman numerals outdoor 

Middle School Highlights! Aug. 30 – Sept. 3

INTAKE CONFERENCE NOTE: Since we will be on our field 

Gummi Bears’ Highlights! May 17 – May 25

Amazing Middle School trip to Fiesta Cancun! Morning puzzlers...1000 pieces 

Gummi Bears’ Highlights! May 10 – May 14

Identifying and practicing with Science equipment!Signing our Middle School yearbooks 

Gummi Bears’ Highlights! May 3 – May 7

Nailed it, Jude! No amount of photos could possibly capture 

Gummi Bears’ Highlights! Apr. 26 – Apr. 30

Let the games begin! Week-long Amazing Race recap! 

Gummi Bears’ Highlights! Apr. 19 – Apr. 23

Here are the media links from: WREX WIFR MyStateline ...all 

Gummi Bears’ Highlights! Apr. 12 – Apr. 16

A student-created timeline of early human history! Lily preparing for 

Gummi Bears’ Highlights! Apr. 5 – Apr. 9

I Am (Soy) poems in Spanish!More wonderful Art!Job well done 

Gummi Bears’ Highlights! Mar. 29 – Apr. 1

Picking our personal science projects!Terms for our Spanish scavenger hunt! 

Gummi Bears’ Highlights! Mar. 15 – Mar. 19

Experimenting with air pressure and properties of air!Que es esto? 

Gummi Bears’ Highlights! Mar. 8 – Mar. 12

Social Studies presentations on animal and human relationships!Building atoms by 

Gummi Bears’ Highlights! Mar. 1 – Mar. 4

Newton's Second Law of Motion! Experimenting with effects of different 

Gummi Bears’ Highlights! Feb. 22 – Feb. 26

Ancient Civilization Presentations! Ancient Civilizations presentation prep is underway. We 

Gummi Bears’ Highlights! Feb. 15 – Feb. 19

Lily gets her one-to-one novel in Spanish! Size affects gravity, 

Gummi Bears’ Highlights! Feb. 8 – Feb. 12

Vintage innovation, classroom decor going green! The Most Dangerous Game! 

Gummi Bears’ Highlights! Feb. 1 – Feb. 5

Practicing our computer typing!Early morning makers activities!Newton's Laws of Motion 

Gummi Bears’ Highlights! Jan. 25 – Jan. 29

Book club, using the reading skill of asking questions! 

Gummi Bears’ Highlights! Jan. 18 – Jan. 22

Root words! Creating our own charts to track the languages 

Gummi Bears’ Highlights! Jan. 11 – Jan. 15

Working on shading and curved plane in Art class with 

Gummi Bears’ Highlights! Jan. 5 – Jan. 8

We will be writing essays based on AP-level Document-Based Assessment 

Gummi Bears’ Highlights! Dec. 7 – Dec. 11

UPDATE! All of Middle School will return to in-person learning 

Gummi Bears’ Highlights! Nov. 30 – Dec. 4

Converting fractions, percentages, and ratios, as well as reviewing mean, 

Gummi Bears’ Highlights! Nov. 16 – Nov. 20

Before it’s gets cold, we had to enjoy the weather 

Gummi Bears’ Highlights! Nov. 9 – Nov. 13

New instrument on trial! Some silly voices 

Gummi Bears’ Highlights! Nov. 2 – Nov. 6

Photography! Monday, we tried something very different. I asked the 

Gummi Bears’ Highlights! Oct. 26 – Oct. 30

Math! Very proud of how this project 

Gummi Bears’ Highlights! Oct. 19 – Oct. 23

Tyranny! The girls are working on creating a poster series 

Gummi Bears’ Highlights! Oct. 12 – Oct. 16

Thanks to Brady's grandma for the lovely classroom sign! Teaching 

Gummi Bears’ Highlights! Oct. 5 – Oct. 9

Making math study guides for our first exam this week!Fun 

Gummi Bears’ Highlights! Sept. 28 – Oct. 2

Novella's terracotta warrior drawing before we sculpt! Enjoying our new 

Gummi Bears’ Highlights! Sept. 21 – Sept. 25

China An amazing session with the girls on early China 

Gummi Bears’ Highlights! Sept. 14 – Sept. 18

Who needs a comfy chair to read when you can 

Gummi Bears’ Highlights! Sept. 8 – Sept. 10

Teachers and classrooms ready to rock and roll!Take What You 

Democratic Republic of Middle Scoolers! May 25 – May 29

8th Grade Graduation: 2020 Style! It was an amazing celebration 

Democratic Republic of Middle Schoolers! May 18 – May 22

Congrats to our 2020 8th Grade Grads! While we cannot 

Democratic Republic of Middle Schoolers! May 11 – May 15

Letters from the GRADS: Annika and Diana!Different methods of communication! 

Democratic Republic of Middle Schoolers! Apr. 27 – May 1

Science shock! On Monday, Ms. Shannon assigned the students a 

Democratic Republic of Middle Schoolers! Apr. 20 – Apr. 24

We may not be in your presence, but we’re always 

Democratic Republic of Middle Schoolers! Apr. 13 – Apr. 17

We are so proud of our Middle School students! They 

Democratic Republic of Middle Schoolers! Apr. 6 – Apr. 9

Middle School interpretations of The Preamble to the Constitution! "As 

Democratic Republic of Middle Schoolers! Mar. 30 – Apr. 3

In Darkness novel study! Some pictures from our In Darkness 

Democratic Republic of Middle Schoolers! Mar. 23 – Mar. 27

Thank you so much to Terry "Double T" Turen for 

Democratic Republic of Middle Schoolers! Mar. 9 – Mar. 13

Dr. Steinbach Visit! Amazing visit from Dr. Steinbach today. He 

Democratic Republic of Middle Schoolers! Mar. 2 – Mar. 6

Enjoy our latest ZNoodles Podcast with Pistol Pete! Dancing in 

Democratic Republic of Middle Schoolers! Feb. 24 – Feb. 28

A huge THANK YOU to the drivers/chaperones who came on 

Democratic Republic of Middle Schoolers! Feb. 18 – Feb. 20

Another wonderful delicious! Science with Sharon!STOP...Can't Touch This! (D.R.o.M.S 

Democratic Republic of Middle Schoolers! Feb. 10 – Feb. 14

The gang, ready to roll, at Future Problem Solving (FPS) 

Democratic Republic of Middle Schoolers! Feb. 3 – Feb. 6

Some fun snowman building at recess!Art fun!Enjoy our latest Z-Noodles 

Democratic Republic of Middle Schoolers! Jan. 27 – Jan. 31

Please enjoy our latest podcast episode of Z-Noodles, featuring Skylar 

Democratic Republic of Middle Schoolers! Jan. 21 – Jan. 24

Very excited to share our latest episode of Z-Noodles Podcast! 

Democratic Republic of Middle Schoolers! Jan. 13 – Jan. 17

Check out our latest Z-Noodles episode! Just another Monday working 

Democratic Republic of Middle Schoolers! Jan. 6 – Jan. 10

One of our Board members came across an out-of-school online 

Democratic Republic of Middle Schoolers! Dec. 16 – Dec. 20

Next Podcast! Amazing podcast interview with Michael, Frankie's cheer coach. 

Democratic Republic of Middle Schoolers! Dec. 9 – Dec. 13

Working on publishing our young authors!Working on element cards & 

Democratic Republic of Middle Schoolers! Dec. 2 – Dec. 6

Some good book club discussions this week!Fun with Sharon and 

Democratic Republic of Middle Schoolers! Nov. 18 – Nov. 22

Rockford University collaboration! Some really wonderful experiences at Rockford University 

Democratic Republic of Middle Schoolers! Nov. 12 – Nov. 15

Wednesday! Making holiday pop up cards after we did a 

Democratic Republic of Middle Schoolers: Nov. 4 – Nov. 8

Working on cards for Operation Gratitude for Veterans Day!Escape Room! 

Democratic Republic of Middle Schoolers! Oct. 28 – Nov. 1

We had an amazing first community lunch. Thanks to Paige Sampson 

Democratic Republic of Middle Schoolers: Oct. 21 – Oct. 25

Science Class! Another great lesson with Sharon on Tuesday. We 

Democratic Republic of Middle Schoolers! Oct. 14 – Oct. 18

Yannik building a templar knight as a part of our 

Democratic Republic of Middle Schoolers: Oct. 7 – Oct. 11

Take a look at this TV news piece done on 

Democratic Republic of Middle Schoolers: Sept. 30 – Oct. 3

425 Manufacturing! Our class took in a presentation from 425 

Democratic Republic of Middle Schoolers: Sept. 23 – Sept. 27

Doing Pointillism to the soundtrack of Beowolf while doing our 

Democratic Republic of Middle Schoolers: Sept. 16 – Sept. 20

Fall Festival Art Project! Working on our Fall Festival Art 

Democratic Republic of Middle Schoolers: Sept. 9 – Sept. 13

Tie-Dye fun with shirts to wear for our field trips!Working 

Democratic Republic of Middle Schoolers: Sept. 3 – Sept. 6

WELCOME! Parents, you received an email, and here is the 

Middle School Memoirs: May 20 – May 24

Senior Weekend Trip! Some snap shots from our fun weekend 

Middle School Memoirs: May 13 – May 17

Spot It! Recognition. Patterns. Math. Attention to detail. Spot It 

Middle School Memoirs: May 6 – May 10

Invertebrates Lab Seeing how exoskeletons on insects work and hold 

Middle School Memoirs: Apr.29 – May.3

REMINDER! This is a friendly reminder that your students should 

Middle School Memoirs: Apr.22 – Apr.26

Earth Day! We conducted a trash pickup and used our 

Middle School Memoirs: Apr.15 – Apr.19

Mythical Beasts! Art Interest Group: projects, churches, and stained glass, 

Middle School Memoirs: Apr.8 – Apr.12

Wayfinding Day On Monday we had a Wayfinding Day. Students 

Middle School Memoirs: Apr.1 – Apr.5

Peer Editing Back to work right away this morning. We 

Middle School Memoirs: Mar.18 – Mar.22

Three-Day Angelic Organics Overnight Field Trip! Upper Elementary and Middle 

Middle School Memoirs: Mar.11 – Mar.15

A few friendly reminders for our Angelic Organics trip Mar. 

Middle School Memoirs: Mar.4 – Mar.8

Mardi Gras mask-making activities and a bead drop from Early 

Middle School Memoirs: Feb.25 – Mar.1

National "Say Something" Week Here's Middle School and Upper Elementary 

Middle School Memoirs: Feb.19 – Feb.22

Career Day A look at some of the many guest 

Middle School Memoirs: Feb.11 – Feb.15

Singing Telegrams Middle School delivered some singing telegrams to Early 

Middle School Memoirs: Feb.4 – Feb.8

World War I Starting our study of World War I 

Middle School Memoirs: Jan.21 – Jan.25

Hairspray Jr. Caught some Middle Schoolers doing some impromptu practice 

Middle School Memoirs: Jan.14 – Jan.18

Positively impacting the future, one day at a time...Kids at 

Middle School Memoirs: Jan.8 – Jan.11

2019: LET'S DO IT! Reminder: Wednesday, Jan. 30th, Upper Elementary 

Middle School Memoirs: Dec.17 – Dec.21

Farewell, 2018!Gingerbread Houses! Middle School students love making messes, let's 

Middle School Memoirs: Dec.10 – Dec.14

Art can be displayed in MANY ways! On Tuesday, December 

Middle School Memoirs: Dec.3 – Dec.7

Hello, December!Personal Projects success stories Here, we have 2 students 

Middle School Memoirs: Nov.26 – Nov.30

Wrapping Up November!Sophia making a difference Sophia shared the board 

Middle School Memoirs: Nov.12 – Nov.16

Rigorous Work, Processfolio Night, & Holiday Concert prep! It was 

Middle School Memoirs: Nov.5 – Nov.9

Middle School Memoirs: Nov.5 - Nov.9 Our class is in 

Middle School Memoirs: Oct.29 – Nov.2

Environment, Culture, and Community An amazingly fun field trip, a 

Middle School Memoirs: Oct.22 – Oct.26

Middle School was all about making a difference, both out 

Middle School Memoirs: Oct.15 – Oct.19

…aaaaaaaaand we’re LIVE! The Middle School level will begin their 

Supply List & Resources

Resources  This site explains our plan-do-review process, how children learn through active learning, and how adults support children in their experiences.  You will also find the KDI’s (Key Developmental Indicators) listed.  How we support students in fine motor development and pre-handwriting

Supply List

Students are asked to have:

Water colors
Pencils #2 sharpened
Sketchbook (any size)
Colored Print Paper (one package any color)
Paper Towels
Accordion Folder
Folders x3
Wide-Ruled notebook spiral x3
Aluminum foil (one roll)
Tape (duct, masking, and/or scotch)
Disinfecting wipes

If available for Fall projects (not necessary, but appreciated):

Light Meter
Local Field/Nature Guides
Tree/Animal/Plant ID books
Plant Press
Insect Repellant
Survival Guides and/or Novels
A Sand County Almanac By Aldo Leopold
Yoga mat

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