Developmental Designs for Middle School

Amigos School 6th, 7th and 8th graders take part in Developmental Designs for Middle School (DDMS) which offers multiple strategies designed to keep young people safe, connected, responsible, and engaged in learning. To help students deal with the many social, emotional, physical and intellectual changes occurring in adolescence, DDMS offers an approach that healthy, enjoyable relationships are the foundation for success in school. In order to establish and foster those relationships, teachers must know their students, students must come to know and appreciate each other, clear rules for behavior must be drawn and learning must be active, exploratory, relevant, and varied.

DDMS focuses on three areas of learning: Community-building, Needs-based Behavior Management, and Engaged Learning. The six principles of DDMS are:

  • Social learning is as important to success as academic learning
  • We learn best by constructing our own understanding through exploration, discovery, application and reflection
  • The greatest cognitive growth occurs through social interactions within a supportive community
  • There is a set of personal/social skills that students need to learn and practice in order to be successful socially and academically: Cooperation, Assertion, Responsibility, Empathy, Self-control
  • Knowing the physical, emotional, social and intellectual needs of the students we teach is as important as knowing the content we teach
  • Trust among adults is a fundamental necessity for academic and social success in a learning community.