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Academic Overview

The goal of the instructional program at Dwyer Middle School is to ensure access to high-quality curriculum and instruction for all students in order to meet or exceed the state's content standards.


Implement a results-oriented literacy program to raise achievement level of all students which:

  • aligns with current CCSS standards
  • matches current research
  • institutes best practices
  • applies state-adopted, research-based literacy interventions to help struggling students gain success

Language Arts

State-adopted reading/language arts materials serve as the core instructional program. Additional leveled readers, both fiction and informational text, are used during small group guided reading instruction. Grade level standards and the Reading/Language Arts Framework for California Public Schools drive the instructional program in reading/language arts at Dwyer.

The staff at Dwyer understands the importance of providing a balanced, comprehensive program. Students spend time involved in high-quality literature and work with expository text, reviewing foundational skills, and integrate language arts within other curricular areas. By the start of middle school we believe that all students must read to learn vs. learn to read as was a focus in the elementary years. Language arts is an integral part of all academic disciplines. Reading, writing, listening, and speaking are related, reciprocal processes that build on and strengthen one another.

In order to continue to raise the bar for all of our students and to close the gap for our struggling learners, Dwyer teachers have instituted a tiered approach to placing students in CORE language arts/social studies and math.

Each student is placed according to a multiple measures approach that includes GPA, SBAC assessments, teacher recommendations, district common assessments, and teacher created assessments. We have also continued our intervention programs for students who are at risk of not meeting state standards in both math and language arts.

Using multiple measures, each Dwyer student is assessed at the end of the school year and at the beginning of the next year to determine placement. To meet these student's needs, Dwyer has instituted a comprehensive, 3 tiered literacy program.

Students may be placed in one of three clusters at each grade level, including the GATE Cluster, General Cluster, and Intervention Cluster. The GATE Cluster includes students who Met or Exceeded standards on SBAC, scored well on the reading claim, and ELA letter grade met high expectations. Students may be placed in the General Ed. cluster; classes designed for students who are meeting or approaching standards on the SBAC and meet other criteria including GPA and teacher recommendations and district assessments. Students in Tier 1 may also be placed in the Intervention cluster. These students have scored not meeting or approaching standard on the SBAC and met other multiple measures criteria described above. Finally, Tier 1 includes Dwyer's Collab classes for RSP students and regular education students who have similar instructional needs. Tier 1 interventions include 6-Minute Solution to improve reading fluency for all students, and Reading Counts and the Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI) for all students in all CORE classrooms.

In addition, we offer Study Skills classes for students during the school day for students who are struggling academically with low grades.

History/Social Science

State-adopted instructional materials form the basis of the core program. All students are provided with a class per day focused on grade appropriate History-Social Science learning. Students involved in our CORE/Literacy classes, for students scoring 'Does Not Meet Standard' on the SBAC testing program, are provided with instruction in this area through reading in the content area with a focus on reading skills vs. History-Social Science instruction.


Priority is given to the teaching of mathematics, and placing students in the correct classes relative to their readiness to understand and acquire math skills. Students are constantly formatively assessed, and moved into the correct class regardless of the time of year.

Dwyer uses our board approved state-adopted mathematics materials. Grade level standards and the Mathematics Framework for Public Schools drive the instructional program in mathematics.

Students are placed in classes at each grade using multiple measures including SBAC scores, teacher recommendations, GPA, students work habits, and other formative and summative data. The following courses are available at each grade level:

6th Graders: Math 6 Collab (for students with below grade level skills), Math 6, Math 6 Gen. Ed (for students at/above grade level).  

7th Graders Math 7 Collab (for students with below 7th grade skills), Math 7(for students at 7th grade skills), Math 7 Accelerated (Student who are above grade level skills).

8th Graders Math 8 Collab (for students with below 7th grade skills), Math 8 (for students at 8th grade skills), Math 8 Accelerated (Student who are above grade level skills).


Dwyer follows the state mandated curriculum, including beginning the implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards. All grades/students take a full year of science instruction. Eighth graders take the California Science Test (CAST) at the end of the year.

Environmental Science is offered as a Science elective.

Physical Education

The California State Framework for Physical Education is the base for the program here at Dwyer. All students participate in a full year of physical education classes throughout each year of attendance. The focus of our physical education program is the development of healthy lifestyles, motor skills and movement knowledge, and social and personal skills as well as sports and game skills. Equipment is available to all physical education classes in sufficient quantity to ensure ease of program implementation at each grade level.