Highlights of Exemplary Practices Aligned with the 18 Characteristics of Successful Middle Schools
Characteristic #2: The school environment is welcoming, inclusive, and affirming for all.
A collaborative culture
Lee County Middle School West prides itself on being an establishment that believes a student learns and thrives in a school that is a family. One of our best attributes is our school climate. At West, our faculty and staff love coming to work, love each other, and love building a stable and nurturing community that best serves our students. Together, we really are a famiLEE. We fully embrace the middle school concept and care deeply about the students as well as the school as a whole. We believe in creating a strong collaborative culture that embodies trust and mutual respect. We believe that every choice made should be what is in the best interest of our students.
Characteristic #9: Curriculum is challenging, exploratory, integrative, and diverse
WIN – What I Need program
One way LCMSW strives to meet the needs of students is through our WIN program. WIN stands for What I Need and is a daily school-wide extended learning time. WIN was created to provide students more time to explore their interests, enrich their learning, and/or allow for remediation with identified deficit areas. WIN classes are based on student interests and teacher recommendations. WIN is not only student-centered, but also fluid; as the needs of LCMSW students change, so do WIN classes.
Our WIN classes include Student News Programming, novel studies, 3-D design, Coding for Girls, STEM, Robotics, Forensics, Personal Finance, and Trojan Scholars, which is a multi-age peer tutoring program that hosts approximately 100 students every day and requires students to set weekly goals, collaborate with their partners, and develop personal and peer accountability. Having a designated time each day for WIN gives competition teams, such as Model UN, Bridge Building, and Remote Operated Vehicles (ROV) the opportunity during the school day to work on projects, enabling students to participate in extracurricular activities during school hours. WIN classes also give teachers an opportunity to interact with students outside of their grade level and team and give students an opportunity to develop relationships with teachers they wouldn’t normally see.
Characteristic #1: Educators respect and value young adolescents
LCMSW also gives students a voice through student committees. At West, we know that students are the ones with their fingers on the pulse of our culture and climate. Our school’s culture ultimately falls in the hands of our students, so we want to hear from them! We have a student PBIS team, Trojan Leaders, that meets during WIN and analyzes PBIS data, confers over underlying causes of leading behavior trends, and creates surveys, lesson plans, and video content for the school news.
We also have a student advisory committee that meets with the principal to talk about student perspectives and school needs as well as a Student Government Association that meets monthly to discuss needs and community service ideas and projects. These committees consist of a diverse group of students and inform school leaders and teachers about the needs and wants of our student body.
Characteristic #6: The school engages families as valued partners
As a school community, LCMSW strives to build family connections and facilitate students in practicing communication skills, as well as accountability, through student-led conferencing (SLC). Student-led conferences are exactly what they seem - a parent conference led by the student. In these conferences, students demonstrate their skills and knowledge to their parents through work samples, reflections, and goals. Parents and students have the opportunity to create goals together, including family goals, and both parents and students are able to provide feedback for teams to improve the practice every year. For students who cannot have a parent or guardian attend, other teachers in the building volunteer to meet with those students during planning. SLC is a practice that is rewarding for students, parents, and teachers.
Lee County Middle School West believes that students learn where they are loved. We believe the most successful students are those who are given a voice, opportunity, and a safe place to make mistakes as well as accomplish greatness, and we strive to provide that for each and every student in our building.