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SDMS Academics

Our school supports the growing independence for students in grades 7-8. Students are challenged to reach their full potential. With opportunities to learn in new and different ways including Project Lead the Way, students are engaged in project based learning that teaches relevant topics through hands on experience.

Academic Achievements

  • "A" Rating from the Indiana Department of Education (2013-2014 AND 2014-2015)
  • 98% of Eligible 8th Grade Students passed the End of Course Assessment Algebra Exam for High School Credit (2013)
  • Honors Level Classes for English, Math, and Science.
  • High school credit offered in Geometry, Spanish, Biology, Algebra, and Health.
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College Bound Focus

Our unique "No Excuses" College Program sets the expectation for all kids that you can go to college. This interactive, fun program allows each class to "adopt" a university and learn more about college in general.

Preparing students for college is a common thread throughout all of our schools. From K-12, our students are engaged in programs that set the tone for potential college aspirations and include college visits during Middle School.

While college isn't right for everyone, we believe that all students should understand the opportunities that exist. For those that choose to follow the college path, we offer an award winning Dollars for Scholars program that has awarded an impressive $1 million dollars of scholarships since its inception. For those who opt for a technical route, our students have access to numerous vocational opportunities at the Southeastern Indiana Career Center.


Courses for High School Credit:

Language Arts
English 7, English 8, English 7 Honors, and English 8 Honors

Math 7, Math 8, Pre-Algebra, Intermediate Algebra, Honors Algebra, and Honors Geometry

Science 7, Science 8, Biology, and Physical Science

Band, Choir and Show Choir

Social Studies
Social Studies 7 and Social Studies 8

Engineering, Art, Computers, Composition, Family and Consumer Science, and Careers


High Ability Program

How Do You Determine if a Child is High Ability?

A High Ability Student is one who: "performs at, or shows the potential for performing at, an outstanding level of accomplishment in at least one domain when compared to other students of the same age, experience, or environment; and is characterized by exceptional gifts, talents, motivation, or interests."

SDCSC High Ability Philosophy
We believe that High Ability students have a right to:
• Know about their giftedness
• Learn something new every day
• Seek guidance in the development of their talent(s)
• Feel good about their accomplishments

We also feel that High Ability students should have access to:
• Education grounded in recognition of individual differences and unique learning needs.
• Instruction responsive to their individual learning rate, style, and complexity.
• Learning environments that incorporate activities to help these students develop independence, creativity, and critical thinking skills.

We provide an appropriate range of educational services to effectively meet the cognitive and affective needs of all high ability students. All students will have equal access to high ability programming, including students with limited English proficiency, students with cultural or socioeconomic differences, and students with unique learning needs.

SDCSC High Ability Program Goals
Goal 1:
High Ability students in grades K-12 will be successfully identified regardless of gender, race, age or socio-economic background.

Goal 2
All staff and stakeholders will be trained in the academic, social, and emotional needs of High Ability students.

Goal 3
We will provide a challenging academic education that develops critical, creative, and evaluative thinking processes in order to provide the necessary tools for effective problem solving.

Goal 4
We will provide an environment for high ability students that fosters their social and emotional needs by promoting an appreciation of giftedness.Content needs to  be discussed.

SDCSC High Ability Mission Statement
Our mission is to develop, implement, and maintain an appropriate systematic range of services to meet the individual, academic, social, and emotional needs of all high ability learners so that they may reach their fullest academic potential.

Parent Teacher Meetings

Please contact the SDMS office to request a parent/teacher conference; 812-926-2090; option 2.


South Dearborn Middle School students are eligible to apply for two unique scholarship opportunities:

• Twenty First Century Scholars
• Squires Challenge Scholarship

1.  About the Twenty-First Century Scholars Scholarship

Indiana started the Twenty-First Century Scholars program in 1990 to ensure that every student could afford a college education. Income-eligible 7th and 8th graders who enroll in the program and fulfill a pledge of good citizenship are guaranteed to receive up to four years of undergraduate tuition* at any participating public college or university in Indiana. For students who wish to attend a private or independent institution, the state will award an amount comparable to that of a public institution. If the student attends a participating proprietary (private career) school, the state will award a tuition scholarship equal to that of Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana.

*The scholarship amount may be reduced depending on the availability of funds and the availability of the student's family to contribute to college.

As a Twenty-First Century Scholar, students can get help finding free tutoring, mentors, and even a part-time job, and once the student gets to college, those who are Twenty-First Century Scholars receive support to finish those college degrees.

The goals of the Twenty-First Century Scholars Program are:
  1. Reduce the number of students who withdraw from high school before graduation.
  2. Increase the number of students who are prepared to enter the workforce upon graduation.
  3. Increase the number of students entering post secondary educational institutions in Indiana.
  4. Encourage eligible students to attend post secondary educational institutions in Indiana by reducing the financial burden on the eligible students and their families.
  5. Decrease drug and alcohol abuse by encouraging higher educational pursuits.
  6. Increase individual economic vitality.
  7. Improve the overall quality of life for many Indiana residents.
Seventh and eighth graders qualify and may apply if:
  • A resident of Indiana (determined by the residency of the parent/guardian).
  • A U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen.
  • Enrolled in the seventh or eighth grade at a charter school, freeway school, or other Indiana school recognized by the Indiana Department of Education.
  • Fulfill the Twenty-First Century Scholars Pledge.
  • Meet eligibility requirements established by the Program.

Students must apply no later than June 30, after their 8th grade school year.

Application and details available online at:

Also available:
Southeastern Indiana Scholars Regional Support Program @ 1-888-346-5683
Twenty-First Century Scholars Central Office @ 1-888-528-4719
The Learn More Resource Center Hotline @ 1-800-992-2076

For More Information:
Twenty-First Century Scholars
W462 Indiana Government Center South
402 West Washington Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Direct: (317) 233-2100
Toll-free: (888) 528-4719

2. Squire Challenge Scholarship

South Dearborn Dollars for Scholars is a non-profit organization providing financial assistance to students seeking two-year and four-year post-secondary educational opportunities. South Dearborn Dollars for Scholars is part of Scholarship America, a national network of community based volunteer directed chapters located throughout the country. Since 1991, our chapter has awarded scholarships totaling more than $535,000 to 652 South Dearborn students pursing a post-secondary education.

South Dearborn Dollars for Scholars Squire Challenge Awards Policy

1. Criteria:
  •  3.0 cumulative GPA for the 8th grade
  • Participation in at least one (1) school activity each trimester in both 7th & 8th grade – sports, club, band, choir, play, newspaper, academic team, etc.
  • Participation in at least one (1) community service activity in both 7th & 8th grade (at least 5 hours per year)
  • Application / Recommendation signed by teacher, SDMS staff member, activity leader, sponsor, etc.
2. The number of SD Squire Challenge Scholarships awarded and the amount of each scholarship certificate will depend on the amount of funds generated during the school year. The Squire Challenge Scholarships are non-competitive – all students who meet the criteria have an equal chance of receiving a scholarship.

3. After completing all the sections to be filled out by you (the student), please give your application to a teacher, SDMS staff member, activity leader or sponsor. They should complete the Applicant Appraisal section and then they will return your application to the South Dearborn Middle School Front Office. The SDMS office will complete the GPA section.

4. Recipients will receive a Scholarship Certificate at the 8th grade Honors Ceremony. Scholarship checks will be issued upon graduation from South Dearborn High School and payable to the college you will be attending if the following criteria are met:
  • Graduate from SDHS with at least a 2.5 GPA
  • Volunteer at least 10 hours of community service per year, each year of high school
  • Continued participation in school activities, community activities (church, 4H, scouts, etc) or after school jobs all 4 years of high school (at least one activity/job per trimester)
  • Be accepted and attend full-time an accredited post-secondary institution.

Here's some MORE "after high school" information:  

"Find Your Own Way:"  Education is the key to your future.  But is traditional, four year college?  Going to one of Indiana's big-name schools is a great choice, but it's not the only way to go.  Choose the path that best for YOU!  Getting a good education doesn't have to mean four years on one campus.  You might be surprised to find out that a two year Associates Degree, or even a one year workforce certificate could help you begin a career in a high-paying field. Choose from in demand fields like nursing, dental hygiene, building construction management or radiation technology -- all "hot" jobs according to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.  Inf act, in many parts of Indiana, men and women with a recent two year Associates Degree earn more than those who earned a four-year Bachelor's Degree.  With a two year degree from a nearby Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana or on campus at Vincennes University, you can transfer to a four year college or university if you decide to continue your education.  Talk to the school.  Talk to a college counselor and see what the right choice is for YOU!

Special Education

Special education is the practice of educating students with special needs in a way that addresses their individual differences and needs. Common special education needs include, but are not limited to, specific learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, emotional disabilities, language or speech impairments, traumatic brain injuries, etc.

The Individual with Disabilities Act (IDEA) is the federal law governing special education services. The special education law for the State of Indiana is Article VII, which is supported by the Indiana State Board of Education.

Schools use different approaches to providing special education services to students. These approaches can be broadly grouped into four categories, according to how much contact the student with special needs has with non-disabled students.
  • Inclusion: Students with special education needs spend all, or most of the school day, with students who do not have special needs.
  • Mainstreaming: This refers to the practice of educating students with special needs in classes with non-disabled students during specific time periods based on their skills.
  • Segregation: In this model, students with special needs do not attend classes with non-disabled students.
  • Exclusion: A student who does not receive instruction in any school is excluded. Students who have been suspended or expelled are not considered excluded.
Students with special needs are instructed using differentiated instructing, and typically are provided with accommodations and/or modifications to further enhance academic success.

Locally, special education services are supported by the Ripley-Ohio-Dearborn (R.O.D.) Special Education Cooperative. Parents/guardians wishing more information pertaining to special education services may contact their child's home school. Contact may also be made to the R.O.D. Special Education Cooperative at 812-926-2090.  Visit the Ripley-Ohio-Dearborn Special Education Cooperative web site.


Section 504 is a part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that prohibits discrimination based upon a disability. Section 504 is an anti-discriminatory, civil rights statute that requires the needs of students with disabilities to be met as adequately as the needs of the non-disabled are met. Section 504 is not associated with special education services.

To be covered under Section 504, a student must be qualified. The student must be between the ages of 3 and 22 years of age, and have a disability, as aligned to state and federal law. Federal law states, "An individual with a disability means any person who: 1) has a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more life activity; b) has a record (documentation) of such an impairment; and/or c) is regarded as having such an impairment.

An impairment may include any disability, long-term illness of various disorders that lessen the student's ability to access learning in the educational setting because of a learning, behavior, or health-related condition.

Parents/guardians requesting more information about Section 504 are encouraged to contact their child's home school.

Speech & Language Services

Good speech, language, and communication skills are an important part of school success.

Speech & language therapy is offered throughout the entire South Dearborn School Corporation, including each elementary school, the middle school, as well as at the high school level.

Every child is unique and has an individual rate of speech/language development. Children learn speech gradually and as they mature and get older, they often correct speech errors on their own without intervention. If a child is unable to correctly produce sounds when he/she reaches a certain age, speech therapy services may be needed.

Speech and language services are available to students that qualify under Indiana's Article 7. These services focus on remediating skills in the areas of articulation (speech sound production), expressive & receptive language (grammar, vocabulary, word retrieval, listening comprehension), fluency (stuttering), voice disorders, as well as pragmatics (social skills). A student may be referred for an evaluation in the area of speech and/or language impairment by the speech-language pathologist, a teacher, or a parent. Speech and language therapy offers students the ability to participate in individual and group therapy type situations.

At South Dearborn Community Schools speech screenings are given at the kindergarten level either at pre-registration (Kindergarten Round-up) or at the beginning of the school year. If a referral is needed at any stage in a student's school career, you will be contacted by the school's speech-language pathologist. If you have concerns about your child's speech-language development do not hesitate to contact the school speech therapist.

Important early intervention speech therapy evaluations/services are also offered to students who qualify, prior to entering kindergarten, from ages 3-5 by contacting the ROD Special Education Cooperative at 812-623-2212.