The Middle Years Program (MYP): Grades 6 - 8
Middle school is a critical time in every young person's life. As a parent, you can feel the changing seasons as your child starts to think about their future and what they hope to accomplish. It's no secret that their journey toward independence can cause some growing pains. This is why middle school is the prime time to be even more intentional about choosing a school environment. Where and how your student spends their day matters!
At Daystar Academy, we cultivate a positive culture where middle school students thrive academically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually. Below you'll find an overview of what we offer, including high expectations, individual attention, exciting trips, extracurriculars, and more.
To learn more about our program schedule a tour
An Atmosphere for Healthy Growth
Daystar is a deliberately diverse community where students are engaged, curious, and creative learners. Our teachers and staff intentionally build relationships with each middle schooler, ensuring they feel a sense of security and belonging. We understand how the mind of a middle schooler works and help them mature through the following:
A Non-Competitive Approach to Student Achievement: The International Baccalaureate grading system measures individual growth rather than growth compared to others. This creates a non-competitive environment and results in greater psychological health, social competence, and self-esteem.
Small Class Sizes: We keep our classes small so that students can access their teachers, and so that teachers can differentiate instruction based on unique learning styles. Teachers celebrate student differences and provide individual attention, coaching them to take risks without fear and reach their potential.
Spiritual Growth Through Discipleship: We don't use the Bible as a textbook or in a single class, instead looking at the world around us through the lens of God's truth. Middle schoolers participate in regular chapel and discipleship groups. Service and reflection are key elements to faith development at Daystar.
A Healthy Approach to Discipline: Middle schoolers are exploring, discovering, and learning about life as they mature. We know that mistakes are inevitable and utilize "Responsive Classroom" strategies to help students feel seen, heard, and understood. This approach allows us to address misbehavior in a way that is restorative rather than punitive.
Student Support: Highly personalized counseling services provided by our Student Support Services team are designed to align with our global view of learning, empowering students to be a part of the solution as we provide guidance across a wide range of areas - academically, socially, and emotionally.
An IB World School
As a fully authorized International Baccalaureate World School, we implement the IB Middle Years program, which focuses on eight subject areas that are constantly intersecting.
Subject areas include:
- Language & Literature
- Individuals & Societies
- Physical Education & Health
- Language Acquisition
In addition, the IB Learner Profile informs our commitment to helping students build strong character, serve those in need, and transform the world around them.
A variety of extracurricular activities are available to middle schoolers - student council, yearbook staff, and a variety of athletic teams including volleyball, soccer, basketball, cross country, and track and field. Club offerings are driven by student interest, and have included photography, knitting, cooking, fitness, film club, drum line, Lego robotics, and more.
Learning excursions are valuable at every age, but middle schoolers especially enjoy the sense of adventure that off-site learning brings. Students take 10-15 trips a year, exploring educational sites around the city and linking what they are learning to the real world. A few favorites include:
Visiting Star Farm, a resilient food hub that empowers local women, youth, and people with disabilities as part of a commitment to nurturing all generations of growers and food sovereignty leaders. It's part of learning to be a good neighbor and caring for God's people.
Exploring the Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie as part of a comprehensive study of A Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. Lessons from the past inform the future, and help students to engage in current events with care and concern.
Traveling to Indiana Dunes for an overnight trip to build community and foster relationships with peers. Students camp, cook, hike, and laugh together around a campfire. This strengthens their connections on campus and helps them harness their power of community.
Taking to the streets in the Pilsen neighborhood (rich in Latino culture) to find and discuss murals and enrich Spanish-speaking skills. Students explore murals depicting cultural norms, historical contexts, and artistic freedom, and then engage in lively discussion around them in Spanish.
High School Prep
Middle school is all about empowering students to take on new challenges as they move to high school and beyond. With a strong emphasis on executive functioning skills, we help middle schoolers manage their time, balance their school work with extracurricular activities and social lives, and develop strong study habits. Each day has a daily Study Support period where students can access their teachers for help with homework or work together to get their work done.
Middle schoolers learn best within a strong community where they feel a sense of security. We go above and beyond to make sure students and parents have peace of mind each day. Our facility safety measures exceed state regulations, and every staff member is thoroughly background checked. Daystar's campus has a formidable exterior (double sets of locked doors, surveillance cameras, etc.) so that the interior is safe for age-appropriate levels of autonomy.
Our campus is strategically located in the South Loop neighborhood of Chicago, adjacent to Lake Michigan and accessible by all major expressways and DuSable Lake Shore Drive. Families from all over Chicago and the surrounding area can easily access our school. Daystar families come from nearly every Chicago zip code and several suburbs!
The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. To this end the organization works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programs of international education and rigorous assessment. These programs encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.
In the IB Middle Years Program there are eight subject areas that are constantly intersecting as students learn throughout the program. Students are introduced to the concept of grouping their learning around these subjects in 6th grade and follow this idea through middle school and into high school in 9th and 10th grade.