Academic Offerings

Academics Overview

We live out our mission and vision through our academics and curriculum.

McAuliffe Manual offers middle school students a rigorous curriculum with a focus on international studies, language, science, social studies, math, and arts. We teach strong core classes and offer engaging Enrichments classes with some outside vendors like Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Studio, Craftsman Apprentice, etc.

What We Offer

What We Offer

McAuliffe Manual is an incredibly diverse school that offers a style of Expeditionary Learning for all students. We are small enough to know all students while maintaining a variety of courses for all students; GT students are offered advanced courses, Spanish Speakers the Seal of Biliteracy, and students with disabilities are given the supports they need to succeed. 

  • Rigorous core content curriculum that is proven to increase student achievement. We follow the state standards, linked here. CDE State Standards. Each content will be adding units that directly coordinate with the work we are planning for expeditions next year and beyond. 
  • Enrichment periods offer accelerated learning for students below grade level, GT courses, a wide variety of electives, and classes from various outside partners. We are recruiting community partners for some of these offerings (i.e. Cleo Parker Robinson Dance , Project Voice, etc.).
  • Expeditions: Each grade level has multiple expeditions throughout the year that are integrated into the curriculum of their core content areas (i.e. Washington DC, Denver Zoo, Morrison History Museum, etc.).
  • Multi-Intensive Center. This group of students will be experiencing all offerings in science and social studies with their grade level peers and with their paraprofessionals as support. 
  • Culturally responsive practices in classes, advisories, and learning outside of the classroom. We have provided professional development for our staff around what it means to be a culturally responsive school and worked on what supports are appropriate to meet the needs of many in our trauma impacted community. With culturally responsive teaching comes the need for appropriate social and emotional supports for our students. 
  • A strong Wellness/Mental Health Team composed of: 1 full-time School Psychologist, 1 part-time School Psychologist, and 1 full-time School Counselor. We also partner with MHCD and Maria Droste to offer more counseling services to our students and families.
  • Well-rounded Advisory curriculum. Advisory occurs at the beginning of every day and is utilized as a time for community building and learning outside of core and elective courses. Lessons include social-emotional curriculum, social-justice lessons, academic skill building (grade checks, study skills, etc.), and community building!
  • Intensive learning opportunities outside of the school. We know perspective-building opportunities create opportunities for students to dream big and see their full potential. We envision our students rafting down the Colorado River, traveling internationally, or road tripping through south-west Colorado while diving deep into their curriculum along the way. 
Advisory Information

Advisory Information

What is Advisory?

Advisory is the first period of every day for students at McAuliffe Manual Middle School. From 8:10-8:45 all students will be in a class with their Cohort that is led by their Cohort Leader/Advisory Teacher. During this time students will have time to eat breakfast together and then participate in the lesson of the day. Advisory is a time for our students to ease into the school day and prepare themselves for learning. It is also a sacred time of the day carved out for community building and connection. 

Why do we have it?

We have Advisory time at McAuliffe Manual Middle School because we deeply value community and believe it is the foundation of a great school. We believe that Advisory is one way we live out our McAuliffe Manual Mission Statement:

McAuliffe Manual Middle School is a diverse, inclusive community of learners that nurtures students to lead fulfilling, balanced lives and transform our community and world. We are committed to the personal growth, high achievement, and equity of opportunities of all students to prepare them for high school and to support their lifelong success and well-being.

Structure of lessons

Mindful Mondays – Students engage in lessons to increase their emotional intelligence and spend time checking-in with their own wellbeing. These lessons focus on social-emotional wellness and are prepared by our School Psychologist.

Grade Check Tuesdays – On Tuesdays, students will participate in a weekly grade and missing work check with their Advisors. This is a great way to hold students accountable and allow students to take ownership over their education.

Social Justice Wednesdays – These lessons focus on social-justice issues and causes that affect our school community, greater neighborhood/city, nation, and world. Students have the opportunity on these days to engage in lessons to learn more about their personal identities, as well as, the identities of others. Students will learn more about allyship, kindness, and acceptance. Students will be given the tools to develop their personal opinions, passions, and beliefs.  

Thunder Thursdays – On Thursdays, students will watch the Thunder Announcements produced by their peers and coordinated by the Assistant Principal. After announcements students will practice their professional email skills by writing thoughtful and thankful emails to other students or staff that they are grateful for that week.

Connection Fridays – Connection Fridays were created to provide students a space at the end of the week to participate in the beneficial practice of reflection. Students will reflect on their week and brainstorm goals for the following week.

If you have questions or comments regarding Advisory time, please reach out to any of the lesson coordinators listed above, your student’s Advisory teacher, the school Counselor, or Principal. 

Special Education

Special Education

Department of Individual Education Plans (SPED)

Our vision is to ensure that 100% of our students are supported in the actualization of their IEP transition goals with whole child support in a rigorous environment, through love and accountability, in order to achieve post-secondary readiness for college, career, and life.

Enrichment Block

Enrichment Block

McAuliffe Manual offers a 42-minute Enrichment block that occurs at the same time for all 6th-8th grade students. This best practice in scheduling offers an opportunity for students to engage in learning activities they want to explore. Enrichment gives students an opportunity to build perspective in an area of interest that typically wouldn’t be available during a regular school day. We offer over 30 different Enrichment options that are led by both staff and outside community groups. 

We are always looking for viable community partnerships to grow our Enrichment program. We look for organizations and opportunities that are catered to the developmental needs of adolescent students and provide engaging curriculum that our students can relate to and enjoy. Some of our past and current partnerships include: Project Voice, SOS Outreach, Sources of Strength, and CareerSpark. 

Gifted & Talented

Gifted & Talented

At MMMS, we are committed to providing our GT students with opportunities to explore their passions and expand their academic experiences.  The GT educator will inform and support students, families and staff in the exploration of those passions and experiences. At MMMS, we offer Honors coursework for math and English Language Arts.  These courses offer rigorous task and progress at an accelerated rate.  The GT educator will work in conjunction with classroom teachers to differentiate instruction to meet the needs of our GT students  The GT educator will plan with the ELA educators at each grade level.  The GT educator will support math instruction at each grade level through co-planning, and push in support for 8th, 7th and 6th grade two to three times a week.  The GT educator will support science and social studies educators through weekly check in’s.  The GT educator, will meet with each grade level GT cohort 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students to address the social and emotional needs of our GT students during their school day bi weekly.  The GT educator is a important part of the MMMS community and educational staff and is part of weekly grade level meetings, staff development, content planning meetings, and data dive meetings. At MMMS, we will keep families informed about our GT programming and opportunities for their child though a monthly newsletter to families and posting information about our GT programming to our school website.  The GT educator will make themselves available to families and students for conferences and the development of their child’s ALP during the fall and spring semesters.  ALP’s will be developed and revisited in conjunction with the students and families.  We will be informed of out disparity data and continue to monitor all students for opportunities for academic growth and achievement and consideration for participation in GT programming.   At MMMS, we strive to see success for all students.

Other resources available:
  • Access the DPS Gifted & Talented website here
  • Throughout the United States there are many programs for high ability students.  Click here to see more about the programs/organizations involved.
  • Western Academic Talent Search – opportunities for 3rd – 9th GT students to take ACT, PSAT, or SAT. There are benefits and programming and/or scholarship opportunities available to participants. Registration is open Sept through December.
  • Optimist Brain Bowl: A challenging and fun opportunity for students to participate in a rapid response general knowledge competition that promotes teamwork and enthusiasm for academics.
  • DPS Shakespeare Festival: Yearly in April
  • Center for Bright Kids
Travel, Community Service, College and Career Exploration

Travel, Community Service, College and Career Exploration

As students progress from 6th to 8th grade, their experiences, exposure, and dependent-learning will grow in the areas of travel, community service, and college/career exploration. 

Students are required, with appropriate guidance, to take ownership of certain aspects of their learning and experiences by the time they reach 8th grade

Please see table below for an outline of student progression and development in each category:

TravelCommunity ServiceCollege and Career Exploration
6th GradeStudents experience local travel that is limited to within the state of Colorado.Assignments will be on the shared Manual-McAuliffe Manual campus. Projects will be given to grade level groups and be completed with teacher supervision.Students will receive lessons focused on the development of middle-school appropriate skills (i.e.time management, organization, etc.). Students will explore their learning styles and complete the RIASEC.Students will engage in Career Chats and experience guest speakers related to career exploration. Students will visit a local community college or trade school in the Denver metro area. 
7th GradeStudents will have the opportunity to experience travelling outside of Colorado, but within the U.S.Assignments will be in the surrounding neighborhood and community. Projects will be given to grade level groups and be completed with teacher supervision.Students will take personality, strengths, and interest inventories.Students will experience guest speakers related to career exploration and have opportunities to go on off-campus career field trips. Students will visit a local university/college in Denver and possibly an HBCU on their class trip.
8th GradeStudents will have the opportunity to travel outside of the U.S. for an international trip.Student chosen volunteer assignment with any organization in any location. Hours will be logged and tracked through Advisory.Students will take career interest inventories and attend the 8th Grade Career Fair put on by DPS. They will interact with career and college representatives, as well as, high school representatives. Students will have opportunities to visit high schools around Denver during the Fall of their 8th grade year.Students will have many opportunities to participate in off-campus career field trips around Colorado. Students will visit a state university and military academy in Colorado (i.e. CSU, CU, AFA).

Core Content



McAuliffe Manual offers the visual arts elective to foster culturally inclusive visual arts skills (drawing, painting, sculpture, mixed media) in interested students.  Art is an essential part of the human social condition and thus essential to the IB MYP curriculum.

Language Arts

Language Arts

Our efforts in the Language and Literature Department are guided by the Common Core State Standards and the aims and objectives of the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program.

Through literature, we hope to empower students with close reading skills that enable them to tackle any text in any subject with confidence. Our lessons require understanding of reading on the literal level, but also encourage deep thematic thinking about texts as well as careful analysis of any author’s craft. Our anchor texts include short fiction, poems, novels, narrative nonfiction, and argumentative texts from a range of historical periods and cultures.

Through writing, we develop skills in narrative, expository, and argumentative writing genres by facilitating a mastery of the writing process through a writers’ workshop approach. We study exemplar texts, looking closely at how skilled writers use language, and then practice those skills for mastery in order to produce our own texts.

As readers and writers ourselves, we seek to do all this while fostering a deep appreciation and love of reading and writing and an enduring understanding that language is an essential tool for communication. We know that with hard work and perseverance, out students will develop the literacy skills that will enable them to succeed in school and and contribute to the world as a global citizen.



At McAuliffe Manual, our units and lessons are in complete alignment with the new Common Core State Standards that Colorado has adopted and is a mastery-based curriculum. Each lesson develops students’ problem solving abilities by building their conceptual understandings, skills, mathematical processes, attitudes towards math, application of math in real-world contexts, and self-awareness. Additional resources are utilized to differentiate for below- and above-grade level students. We are using Illustrative Mathematics as our curriculum. The materials are curated  to best meet the needs of our students.

As an IB Middle Years Programme candidate school, McAuliffe Manual provides both Standard Mathematics and Accelerated Mathematics courses. The Standard Mathematics course sequence teaches Common Core Standards at the pace recommended by the state of Colorado. Upon successful completion of the standard pathway, students will be prepared for High School Algebra 1 during their 9th grade year and will be on track for completing Pre-Calculus math during high school.

The Accelerated course sequence concentrates 7th grade Pre-Algebra, 8th grade Algebra, and High School Algebra I into two years. Accelerated courses include the same Common Core State Standards as the Standard courses, but the pacing of the courses is faster. Upon successful completion of the accelerated pathway, students will be ready for Geometry during their 9th grade year and will be prepared for taking AP math or HL (Higher Level) IB Math during high school. Decisions to accelerate students into high school mathematics before ninth grade are based on solid evidence of student learning, work ethic, and commitment. Students who are not placed in the accelerated math sequence at McAuliffe may still take an AP math or HL IB Math course in high school by successfully “doubling up” on math courses during their 10th or 11th grade year, as DPS recommends.

Physical Education

Physical Education

McAuliffe Manual students participate in a Physical Education program as part of our curriculum, and we believe regular physical activity is not only part of a balanced and healthy lifestyle but also supports academic work and social interactions during the school day. Our PE program runs the full school year and provides students with 3.5 hours of physical education a week, while the average middle school student in Colorado only receives 52 minutes of PE per week.

We offer competitive PE for boys and girls as well as a non-competitive PE program for students who prefer less competitive sports and activities.

Comprehensive Health Curriculum

In 2020 we implemented a Comprehensive Health Curriculum in conjunction with our Physical Education Classes. Students that are enrolled in Physical Education will engage with this curriculum, which includes Sexual Education.

7th and 8th Grade will go through Interpersonal Communication, Self Management, Decision Making, and a PSA Final Project.

6th Grade will go through Foundations of Health and Wellness, Positive Communication, Self Management, and a PSA Final Project.

If you have any questions regarding the implementation of the curriculum please contact the Physical Education teachers.



McAuliffe Manual Middle School uses Amplify, a standards-based, hands-on investigations, literacy-rich activities, and interactive digital tools to empower students to think, write, and argue like real scientists and engineers.

Lessons are organized into thematic units and students investigate questions relevant to real-life problems by conducting investigations; collecting and analyzing data; developing and using models to explain phenomena, and engaging in argument from evidence, all in a literacy and discourse-rich environment.

Amplify Student Login

Social Studies

Social Studies

Social Studies classes at McAuliffe Manual challenge students to look beyond their understanding of their immediate time, place and culture. Our lens is the four key subjects within the social studies strand: geography, history, government, and economics, including personal financial literacy. Within this lens, our objectives are grouped into four primary categories: knowledge and understanding, investigation, thinking critically, and communicating.

In 6th grade

We explore the complex history, geography, economics, civics, and cultural interaction of the Western Hemisphere (except the United States). Students will gain an understanding of the importance of maps and other geographic tools and the connections that can be made by both physical and human geography. Students will also investigate the interaction of unique cultures like the Maya, Inca and Aztec and look at historic and modern conflicts over land, resources and governmental control. Students will become historians and critical thinkers, including the ability to utilize historical documents while writing argumentative historical essays.

In 7th grade

We build on students’ knowledge gained in 6th grade, continuing to focus on history, geography, civics and economics, and move into the Eastern Hemisphere. Topics covered range from the origins of civilization in Mesopotamia, China and India, to the great empires of Egypt, Greece, and Rome. We will investigate modern issues such as the Middle East Conflict, and continue to use historical documents to write argumentative essays. We also take part in the “History Day in Colorado” event, which invites students to research and present one of a wide-range of historical topics.

In 8th grade

We again focus on history, geography, civics and economics, this time through the lens of United States history from the Revolutionary time period through Reconstruction. Students will engage in debates and other real life learning experiences (mock congressional hearings, public policy portfolios, etc.) to show their mastery of the standards. Students will continually develop their own questions, research possible answers, and share their learning through both argumentative and informational/explanatory writing.

We base our instruction on the Colorado Department of Education’s academic standards for social studies, which can be found here, and Denver Public Schools’ social studies scope and sequence, which can be found here. We also place great emphasis on International Baccalaureate’s Humanities Framework for the Middle Years Program.

World Languages

World Languages

McAuliffe Manual offers Spanish in our World Languages program. In addition to gaining proficiency in another language, the courses aim to develop respect for other cultures and a lifelong interest in and enjoyment of language. Students must be proficient in literacy and math to participate.

Levels of Spanish study:

Beginner Spanish 1 – students have never studied Spanish before
Intermediate Spanish 2 – students have studied Spanish for 1 or 2 years
Advanced Spanish 3 – students speak Spanish fluently