Elective Program

Elective Department

Department Lead: Barbara Knitter

Elective Teachers:

  1. Bryce Beckel
  2. Barbara Knitter
  3. Julie Norris
  4. Penny Oliver
  5. Roy Palacios
  6. Maggie Rangel
  7. Mark Schoeller

The Elective program at TRMS provides students with an opportunity to explore subjects outside of the core classes. Students are allowed to have some choice in what classes they would like to take. Those choices can reflect their personal interests or broaden their knowledge and appreciation of the world outside their comfort zone.

Elective Classes:

  • Art: Students will experiment with various materials: soft pastel, watercolors, acrylic paints, paper mache’, clay and more. They will also have the chance to make 3d art. Art class focuses on helping students to turn their innovative thoughts into works of art! This year-long elective is based in the California State Standards…but you won’t realize how much you are learning because you’ll be having too much fun! Email jnorris@musd.org if you have any questions.
  • AVID: AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination) is a course that aims to empower students to enroll in and graduate from 4-year colleges/universities. The course will focus on organizational skill, Cornell note-taking, study groups, and other effective academic techniques. In addition, students will go on field trips and academic workshops. There are two classes of AVID: one for 7th graders and one for 8th graders. 2.5 GPA requirement. Students must not need intensive support in math to participate. Email bknitter@musd.org if you have any questions.
  • Band I and Band II : Ideally students will have at least one year of experience, but novices are always welcome to join. There are levels of this class for all wind and percussion instruments. Piano players are encouraged to also learn another instrument, such as flute, piccolo, clarinet, bass, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, alto/tenor/baritone sax, French horn, trumpet, trombone, baritone, tuba, percussion.
  • Chorus: Do you like to sing? Well then, this class is for you.
  • English-Language Development (ELD): Designed to help students whose native language is not English, this class is designed to help students access the curriculum in schools where English is the lingua franca. Students will utilize the iLit program as well as engaging class activities to do so.
  • Ethnic Studies (Facing History MS): Students will gain an understanding of issues that affect us on local, national, and international levels. They will make connections on how our historic past has shaped our present culture, and will come to their own conclusions on what must be done to positively affect our world. This class will examine issues of identity, participation in society, and legacy through a series of activities, readings, reflections, and videos.
  • Leadership: This class is open to students who are highly motivated to improve their leadership skills by their involvement in school activities and events, student government, student and staff recognition programs, and other forms of service that benefit the students and staff of Thomas Russell Middle School. Leadership skills are developed through lessons on goal setting, communication, decision-making, leadership styles, and parliamentary procedures.
  • Math Intervention: The intervention class was designed to motivate and support students in the math curriculum. Students demonstrate a need for this class based on math achievement data, which includes but is not limited to district benchmarks, teacher recommendations, and state test scores. When students no longer need support in math, they are exited from the class and are placed in another elective for the remainder of the school year.
  • Quest: Quest for Success is a year-long elective class with lessons in basic hand-sewing skills, beginning cooking and baking, recycling for a better world, and awareness of the deaf community with an introduction to American sign language. Other areas that may be covered include, but are not limited to, improving study habit skills, strengthening interpersonal relationships and improving higher thinking skills.
  • Office Assistant: Motivated 8th graders who want to help around campus are selected to be office assistants. This elective requires students to multi-task and work on their collaboration, organizational and speaking skills.
  • Teacher's Assistant (T.A.): 8th graders who become T.A.'s work on organizational skills and multi-tasking while helping on class run smoothly. Occasionally, T.A.'s also serve as tutors to their peers.
  • Yearbook: Students will learn the basics of yearbook, photojournalism, graphic design, writing journalistic stories, writing captions, interviewing, learning organizational skills, marketing, sales, and deadlines. They will have a lot of fun and forget that they are learning so many new skills! Contact Ms. Norris at jnorris@musd.org for questions.

Quest Elective - Too Good for Drugs Workshop

The Quest Elective offers a 10-week workshop in the fall to support students prevention and support as they potentially encounter destructive substances. The following content will provide you with an overview of what is made available to parents and students prior to the workshop beginning. Parents do need to consent to their child's participation in the workshop.

Permission Slip

Content Covered

Too Good for Drugs Objectives