The Middle School schedule contains two opportunities for learning based on student preference: a Zhang Heng 张衡 Period (named for Zhang Heng, an astronomer, mathematician, engineer, and painter who lived during the Eastern Han Dynasty), and a meeting time for student clubs. The Zhang Heng 张衡 Period occurs once every eight-day schedule cycle and is an opportunity for students and teachers to delve more deeply into academic areas they are passionate about. Some examples of the Zhang Heng classes include Butterfly Grade, Chinese Knotting, French, Rugby and Laser Cutting Training (learning how to use the Phanachet Design Lab’s laser cutter). The club period—a lunch extended by 80 minutes—provides a viable meeting time for students clubs, something there is a demonstrated need for in the Middle School. Some examples of these clubs are Origami, Cooking Club, Student Government, Musical Theater, Furniture Design, and Hard Yards (an athletic training class). Teachers often come up with new ideas during the year, and we also encourage students to submit ideas.
CAIS News is a video news program produced by Middle School students for students, highlighting campus life at the 888 Campus. CAIS News meets during Club times once on the eight-day ZHONGMEI cycle and create two episodes each Club term (eight total for the year) which are shown to the whole Middle School during Community Meetings. These episodes feature school events, sports, innovative class projects, teacher bios, and student government announcements. CAIS News has become a powerful tool for student engagement and participation on campus. The News Crew benefits from learning hands-on media literacy and technology skills, communication and collaboration skills, responsibility, independence and boosted confidence.