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Lifelong Learning

Building Profile

Welcome to Horizon Middle School! As you walk through the doors of Horizon Middle School, you will experience enhanced educational programming and numerous activity options. You will have the advantage of learning and working in a state-of-the-art facility that was designed to accommodate small learning communities of core classes, exploratory classes and activity areas.

Located near the Meadows Golf Course and Horizon Shores housing development, Horizon Middle School serves students in grades 6-8. The building is on the outskirts of the city, near farmland and open spaces, so nature is accessible and brought into our classrooms.

Although a large school, Horizon embraces small learning communities for our students called houses. We have three houses in each grade (e.g., 6A, 6B and 6C), with each house serving about 140 students. This setting allows for individual relationships with teachers and creates a strong sense of belonging for students. The classroom settings are small and conducive to learning.

Horizon teachers encourage and promote parent support and collaboration. Educating students is a partnership, and we need parents and guardians to work with us to ensure their children thrive and find success at school.

Our School History

Horizon Middle School opened for the 2004-05 school year. The design of the school was awarded the Grand Prize for design excellence in the 2005 edition of Learning By Design, a national publication that showcases excellence in school and university design. A school district design team of 17 parent, teacher and administrator representatives worked with architects from Rozeboom Miller Architects, Minneapolis, Minn., to ensure that the school's design would be appropriate for implementation of the middle school model for students in grades 6-8.

The school was named using the metaphor, horizon, which represents the dawn with the sun rising on the horizon just as the middle school students are at the dawn or beginning of the next stage in their education and their lives. Middle school is also a time when students are expanding their knowledge — or their horizons — by learning and studying a variety of subjects and participating in new activities.

Curriculum and Learning

Horizon, like all Moorhead Area Public Schools, focuses on a student learning and achievement. We offer a diverse, Minnesota Standards-driven challenging curriculum that takes into account the 21st century learner. Horizon embraces and supports a teacher-led "bring your own device" (BYOD) approach to incorporate additional technology into our classrooms.

Students experience a seven-period day. Periods are 55 minutes long except for the 15-minute period 7 organizational period at the end of the day. This advisory period is where teachers spend time on activities that promote study skills, citizenship, scholastic achievement, leadership, and awareness of current news events.

Horizon student receive 55 minutes of core instruction each day in language arts, math, social studies and science. At each grade level, students take a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) exploratory class that is part of Project Lead the Way. Students in grade 6 take the following electives: STEM, art, world language and healthy lifestyles. Students in grade 7 take Gateway to Technology, Spanish, STEM and art as their electives. Students in grade 8 take STEM, Chinese, theatre arts and health for electives.

Students in grades 6-8 have physical education every other day opposite their choice of a music class (band, choir or orchestra) or an individual learning time (homework completion). Physical education at Horizon is co-educational and stresses fitness, flexibility, aerobics and team sports.

As a staff we strive to be responsive to our students and their needs. We collaborate with one another through teacher team time and professional learning communities (PLC) as we work to be data driven and responsive to students' needs.

SIOP, or Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol, is a research-proven approach to classroom instruction and lesson design that has been an initiative of the Moorhead Area Public Schools for the past three years. SIOP is a focus on solid and proven teaching methods that help all learners, especially those with language needs, process and learn more effectively. Teachers remain focused on three main components:

  • Lesson planning with lessons focused around a content objective that states what students should learn and a language objective that states how students should demonstrate their learning
  • Building background knowledge by linking learning to concrete experiences
  • Interaction and student engagement strategies


Horizon Middle School has implemented AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) school wide and AVID elect, which targets students with academic ability and motivation, but who may not have all the skills to be college ready. By implementing AVID strategies across the entire school, all students gain skills in organization, note taking, analyzing and interacting with their notes, and critical reading and writing.

The AVID leadership elective class is designed to prepare students who have a GPA of 2.0-3.5 and a desire for higher education for admission to a four-year college or university after graduation from high school. Determination is a key component of the AVID program. Although AVID serves all students, it focuses on the least served students in the academic middle.

In the AVID leadership elective class, students will learn skills that will prepare them to be successful in advanced courses in both high school and college. Writing, inquiry, collaboration and reading methods are used to accelerate students’ skills. Twice a week, college tutors come into the AVID classroom to help answer questions that students have about difficult content. Students also explore potential careers and visit colleges and universities.

To be part of the AVID leadership elective, students must apply to the program and complete an interview. The application can be found in SPUDS Landing during the registration period each year. A teacher recommendation and parent signature are required for a student to be considered for participation.

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)

Horizon utilizes an assets approach to student management. We follow an initiative called Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) to create a common approach and language for how we manage our behaviors and ourselves. The goal of PBIS is to create and sustain school environments that are respectful, responsible and safe for adults and students. We ask students to be responsible for themselves, their belongings and their learning. We also expect them to be respectful to themselves and to one another. Our building must be safe so we ask students to make good choices that allow for all to learn and work in a setting that is violence free and conducive to learning.

Additionally, Horizon uses a counseling program designed to help young people with their social, emotional, mental and academic concerns. A counselor is assigned to each grade level. Besides working with PBIS, the counselors are responsible for student mediation, problem solving and discipline, consultation, personal and group counseling, crisis counseling and 504 Administration.

Extracurricular Activities

Learning and development continue even after the bell rings. Activities at Horizon Middle School allow students to explore their interests and abilities, improve their skills and learn teamwork. Academic groups include Science Olympiad, Math Masters, Destination Imagination and Lego Club. Athletic activities for students in grades 7 and 8 include cross country, basketball, football, golf, gymnastics, swimming and diving, tennis, track, volleyball and wrestling. Students may also participate in activities such as Student Council, yearbook, the school play and intramural activities for sixth-grade students.