So many possibilities for learners at Dorothy Hamm Middle School! Opening a new middle school at the historic Stratford site is a unique opportunity to collaborate with staff, students, and families to design and implement an engaging, personalized, instructional program for middle school students. This post outlines the key areas of focus leading to the opening of DHMS.
Key Areas of Focus
Three key areas of focus underpin my work as an administrator with middle school students: First, I believe middle school staff must address the needs of the whole child by creating a school climate that is safe, trusting, and supportive. I will structure the school so that students can develop relationships and be a known part of a team, and I will design school practices that are inclusive and community oriented. Creating a mission, vision, and values around meeting the needs of the whole child is the first area of focus for our New Middle School leadership and its community.
Second, students who are in middle school are unique individuals with varying interests, aptitudes, and capabilities. I believe that schools should re-vision our one-size-fits-all instructional model to provide the opportunity for students to plan and engage in learning that they choose. Middle school students are primed to take ownership of their learning, track their own achievement data, and set their own course. Creating a personalized instructional program, in concert with APS staff, is the next key area of focus for the school leadership.
Finally, efficient and effective procedures and processes will be established so that the school can open and run smoothly and successfully. I believe that the planning to ensure that the procedures and processes support the vision of meeting the needs of the whole child and the unique personalized instructional program is vital to the success of the students and the school. Together with APS staff, the school leadership team must examine and plan for the logistics of nearly 1000 students entering the building ready to learn in the fall of 2019.
Personalized Learning Strategies
- Standards-Based Learning – provides clarity and direction around: curriculum in terms of what students should know (content) and be able to do (cognitive behaviors); instruction (differentiated delivery, compacting); assessment (of and for learning); reporting – accurate reporting of content/skills mastery
- Student-Directed Success – students collect and use their own learning data to: analyze their strengths and weaknesses; set learning goals, reflect on their learning; adjust their learning path accordingly (assessment for learning)
- Support for innovative approaches to instructional delivery: (some examples) student-centered learning, flipped classroom, flexible scheduling, project/problem-based learning, integration of technology, flexible grouping, stations/centers