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Bala Cynwyd Middle School


Interdisciplinary Programs

There are two grade level and one combined 7th and 8th grade interdisciplinary programs offered at Bala Cynwyd Middle School. All programs require the completion of a student application. Because of the rigorous and challenging methods of the grade level programs, students are expected to be self-motivated, comfortable with independent and small group work, and well organized. Students are also expected to be working on or near grade level in all subjects areas. In order to ensure that all students’ needs can be appropriately met, parents should consult with their child’s team and give careful consideration to applying for these programs BEFORE the selection process is complete.

Grade 6 - eVOLVE

eVOLVE teachers visit each elementary school to introduce the program to the 5th graders, then present it again to interested students and parents at an evening Prospective Student & Parent Meeting in the eVOLVE classroom. Students are chosen by lottery from the pool of applicants. If you have any questions please contact Mr. Jamie Gaffga or Ms. Jennifer Nates at

Grade 7 - Communiqué

The Communiqué program teaches the same curriculum as found on all seventh grade teams but utilizes a block of time to integrate language arts, social studies, science, health, art, and music into the theme of communication. Communiqué provides students with hands-on experiences that emphasize critical thinking, using a variety of teaching modes to stimulate all students’ learning styles. Project-based and content-driven videography, publishing, advertising, journalism, technology, and research are integrated into the program. Students will leave the Communiqué classrooms (and may integrate with the other seventh grade teams) for math, foreign language, technology education, band, chorus, and orchestra instructions.
Students in the Communiqué program experience a rigorous, challenging curriculum with the benefits of flexible blocks of time, a small team with fewer teachers, connectedness to curriculum and classmates, and project-based learning with emphasis on critical thinking, group work, and personal management.Communiqué students are chosen by lottery from the pool of applicants. If you have any questions please contact Mrs. Messick ( or Dr. Tom Ricker ( at 610 645-1480 or by e-mail.

N.O.W. (New Options Work)

N.O.W. (New Options Work) is a district wide, seventh and eighth grade alternative education learning community at Bala Cynwyd Middle School. NOW covers the same curriculum as the 7th and 8th grade teams. This student-centered program values a diversity of learning styles. With challenging academic standards, students of both grades take part in a thematic humanities curriculum, with interdisciplinary units, which emphasizes diversity and multiculturalism in the United States. Students are nominated for this program by counselors and teachers. The small class size and co-teaching allows for a personal learning experience, where the uniqueness of each student is valued and nourished.

EXCEL Program

EXCEL is a highly individualized general education class based on the needs of students with an emphasis on reading and the development and improvement of skills across the curriculum. It is designed to guide and support regular education students toward high achievement. It grows directly out of several of our District’s Strategic Beliefs:

  • All individuals can be successful learners.
  • People learn in different ways and at different rates.
  • Excellence demands sustained effort.
  • High expectations yield high results. EXCEL is a regular education intervention.

Students will:

  • Make connections among ideas and between texts, with a focus on textual evidence and non-fiction reading.
  • Acquire and utilize grade appropriate organizational and study habits.
  • Develop an understanding of their learning style and self-awareness of their strengths and weaknesses.

EXCEL support will be scheduled flexibly dependent upon individual needs. Students are identified for EXCEL based on standardized assessments, record review, and teacher and parent input. Students may be scheduled to receive instruction and support during specials or during major subjects. The EXCEL teacher will also communicate with parents and provide help and support to parents as needed. A school counselor will work with the EXCEL teacher to provide additional support and to extend the school-home connection. New students who enter the middle school during the school year will be assessed before they are scheduled for classes to determine if there is a need for EXCEL support.