Highlights of Exemplary Practices Aligned with the 18 Characteristics of Successful Middle Schools
Characteristic #3: Every student’s academic and personal development is guided by an adult advocate
Every Wednesday morning students meet for 50 minutes to learn skills to manage academics and their well-being.
Students are responsible for tracking their grades weekly using a digital reflection form that asks them to list their grades for each class and indicate if they have raised any grades since last week’s reflection. An adult acting as their academic advisor tracks this progress and helps them develop strategies to improve or maintain satisfactory academic performance.
In addition to tracking academics, all students participate in a book study of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens” by Sean Covey.
Characteristic #18: Organizational structures foster purposeful learning and meaningful relationships.
Practice Common Assessments
Teachers use common assessments to gauge student progress toward learning goals, evaluate instructional strategies and design instruction in collaborative planning.
Practice Habits of Discussion
Teachers use Teach Like a Champion Strategies to help students’ build habits of discussion and use academic discourse.
Characteristic #8: Educators are specifically prepared to teach young adolescents and possess a depth of understanding in the content areas they teach
Characteristic #17: Professional learning for all staff is relevant, long term, and job embedded
Practice Professional Communities of Practice
Adult learning is built into our PLCs where we analyze students work, compare instructional strategies, design action research projects, and reflect on our teaching.
Characteristic #9: Curriculum is challenging, exploratory, integrative, and diverse.
Practice Pre-AP Curriculum for All
All students participate in a Pre-Aps rigorous ELA curriculum, Springboard, in 6th-8th grade. Pre-AP is also offered in Visual Arts, English 1, and Algebra.
Characteristic #5: Comprehensive counseling and support services meet the needs of young adolescents
Counselors make themselves known to students by regularly offering an overview of their services for students and parents, conducting needs assessments, doing class lessons monthly, leading small groups, and leading a peer mentoring group called Sources of Strength.