San Diego French-American middle school students thrive in the bilingual, bicultural, and bi-literate setting that has been firmly grounded since the elementary level. SDFAS students who have attended the school from Pre-K/elementary school to 8th Grade flourish when transitioning to French lycées, to international schools preparing the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program, or to American high schools.
Beginning with 6th Grade, the Adaptation Cycle, students are expected to behave more autonomously, and to develop their independent thinking skills, while learning to interact as part of a group. Through the Central Cycle, 7th and 8th Grade students are encouraged to build leadership skills, and at the same time, to value the ethics of team spirit. The rigorous academic program supports the students in developing organizational and communication skills, in preparation for the challenges of high school study. Critical thinking and enquiry are essential components across the spectrum of the subjects studied, and in each language used. Students learn to be more self-confident in front of an audience by participating in in-class oral presentations, presenting topics or short performances at the Forum, and being involved in theatrical presentations.
As the middle school years can be challenging emotionally to adolescents who are learning to cope with the changes taking place within and around them, the school psychologist provides both individual and group support for students. The year begins with a short series of presentations that address issues such as self-respect, teamwork, conflict resolution, coping with bullying, and cyber-bullying etc. Students are encouraged to participate in discussion, and are provided with tools to use when encountering obstacles to personal relationships. Supporting the students emotionally is important for their academic and personal growth.
SDFAS further fosters independence and team spirit by sponsoring a middle school sports league team, competing in various events with small independent schools in the San Diego North County region. Each grade also participates in a week-long educational field trip that further encourages learning how to function as a team while learning to become more independent.
In addition, all middle school students are encouraged to develop an understanding of the society in which they live by participating in community service, either through school sponsored projects, such as visiting a local homeless shelter, contributing to an annual food drive, or by volunteering after school within their local community.