Camino de Paz Middle School
ACADEMICS IN GRADES 7, 8, 9 (Middle School)
The students at Camino de Paz are challenged daily in core academic areas in both regularly scheduled classes and practically applied tasks integrated with the natural world, our farm, and the local community. It must be emphasized that our curriculum runs in three year cycles. Students are expected to finish the cycle to complete the full curriculum. Our curriculum is guided by the New Mexico Department of Education standards and benchmarks. Standardized tests are taken every spring. Students are expected to show steady improvement in their work according to their abilities and strengths.
Students are given a solid foundation in arithmetic, moving into pre-algebra and algebra as their cognitive development matures. Math is taught across the curriculum using texts, hands-on materials, and practical problem solving.
HUMANITIES and WORLD LANGUAGE
Humanities units combine social studies and history with literature and writing. Our farm and ecology tours give students experience in public relations and public speaking. Students draw on primary and secondary source materials, maps, and internet research for reports, seminars and creative projects. All students are required to write a formal research paper each year. Camino de Paz is a dual-language school. Emphasis is placed on cultural literacy and communication skill. Students in the Middle School are expected to develop a working Spanish vocabulary and basic grammar.
ARTS and CRAFTS
In our use of wool, clay, and wood, we honor the master craftsmen and artists who surround us. Working with natural materials forms a bridge to culture and place. Our fiber arts program includes shearing, carding and spinning, making natural dyes, dying, felting and weaving. In addition lessons are given in drawing, painting, wood carving, clay, and theater arts, depending on the interests of the students.
The Camino de Paz Marimba Ensemble has played at public events (bookstores, fairs and farmers markets), as well as nursing homes, child care centers, pre-schools and elementary schools. Since playing marimba is a fun and valuable music experience for beginners and advanced musicians alike, all students participate.
BUSINESS and ECONOMICS
The farm school environment provides many opportunities for real-life problem solving. Student-run businesses include vegetable produce, eggs, wool, textiles, and goat dairy products, including soap. Practical applications of math, chemistry, biology and physics are used on a daily basis. Students have developed a network of independent grocers and coops to distribute their products throughout the Northern half of New Mexico. Moreover, they retail their produce, dairy products and craft items at Farmers Markets. They conduct weekly business meetings to evaluate their business and stewardship plans.
ECOLOGY and SCIENCE
Beginning with the natural world around them, students’ scientific inquiry expands to form a solid background in biology, ecology, physical science and chemistry. Ecology (soil and water studies, species surveys, etc.) engages us in local issues and practices in regard to agriculture, water, soil, healthy food, food justice, and sovereignty, all of which underpin the larger society.