Highlights of Exemplary Practices Aligned with the 18 Characteristics of Successful Middle Schools
Characteristic #5: Comprehensive counseling and support services meet the needs of young adolescents.
Each grade level at Mayfield Middle School has its own dedicated counselor, and two additional teachers with counseling backgrounds are employed to oversee social emotional courses in the school. Counselors are planners and facilitators for the transition programs both into and out of Mayfield. 6th graders have a full-day celebratory orientation that includes parent meetings, building tours, question and answer sessions with current 8th graders, and team building games. The 6th grade staff oversees a two-day overnight camp experience. Outgoing 8th graders have informational meetings for students and parents, building tours, speakers from career training programs, as well as one-on-one scheduling meetings for every student.
Characteristic #6: The school engages families as valued partners.
Mayfield Middle School engages families through regular and frequent communication. Parents have live access to student progress through Schoology gradebook, and teams provide updates through newsletters or emails. The parent organization (MMSA) involves families in planning opportunities such as birthday celebrations, eighth-grade graduation, and teacher appreciation events throughout the year. Parents are welcomed into the school for meetings with administrators, counselors, and teaching personnel.
Characteristic #7: The school collaborates with community and business partners.
Members of the Mayfield community engage with the school in several ways. During Career Day about 35 volunteers from area businesses, colleges, and medical facilities conduct sessions with students. The school hosts an annual art show and Science Showcase to celebrate student achievements with the larger community. Mayfield has an annual Day of Service in which students rake leaves in local yards and contribute to various other projects benefiting nearby nursing homes, crisis centers, elementary schools, and animal shelters.
Characteristic #9: Curriculum is challenging, exploratory, integrative, and diverse.
Mayfield Middle School utilizes a variety of both standardized and informal measures to determine where each student is on the learning spectrum so that true personalization can be met in the curriculum. Students are empowered to oversee their own authentic and engaging education through student-led debates, robotics lessons, videography/podcasting, Socratic seminars, and other strategies. Critical and creative thinking produces rich and meaningful dialogue where students can independently recognize if a thought or a solution makes sense. Students are encouraged to see the connections between classes in their learning. Communication goals enable students to be comfortable speaking in public to both their peers and adults, as well as developing skills necessary to express their thoughts in written form.
Self-paced units are utilized for much of the learning, and this allows students to move through their learning at their own pace while developing skills related to time management. They are empowered to set their own goals and priorities for how class time should be used, then design a plan and enact it. Mayfield operates on a full-inclusion model which allows all students access to rigorous academic content with needed supports. Teachers use strategic groupings to create smaller focused communities to meet the diverse learning styles of students. Teachers are intentional and strategic, employing a variety of learning methods when using technology. These methods allow for student choice so that they can determine when they prefer to work collaboratively, individually, on Chromebooks, on paper, or a combination. A blending of digital learning with traditional research-based best practices provides students with learning that combines the skills of collaboration, communication, and creativity. The school offers twenty-five elective courses, including art, STEM, physical education, digital media, and others.
Characteristic #18: Organizational structures foster purposeful learning and meaningful relationships.
All students at Mayfield Middle School are on teams comprised of five homeroom teachers (Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, and an Intervention Specialist), with three teams per grade level. Each team works collaboratively to develop routines that promote team spirit, positive social interaction, and academic support. The school also has an exploratory team, and all teachers also are part of department and grade level teams that work together to analyze data and prepare engaging, content-related experiences that promote individual student growth through the PLC process. Staff shares their knowledge of new technologies and methods with each other through the teaming and PLC models as well as micro-teaching sessions conducted through staff professional development.
Teachers are encouraged to “flex” the traditional schedule within interdisciplinary instructional time to have blocks of time to group students based on need, interest, or learning style. In addition, they can utilize this schedule to develop projects or specific in-depth learning tasks. Mayfield has both a Leadership Team and an Instructional Leadership Team in addition to PLC’s and common team planning times.