Beavercreek News Current
December 1, 1997
In the Schools
G. Ronald Bickert, Ph.D.
Superintendent, Beavercreek City School District
In The Schools
Middle School Structure Examined

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On Nov. 7, 1995 the Beavercreek community approved a $42-million bond issue in order to allow the Board of Education to proceed with the PRIDE (People Representing an Interest in Developing Education) recommendations addressing growing enrollment, returning to a four-year high school, and accommodating a middle school structure. The construction project is well underway. These physical improvements will further the district's ability to provide a quality instructional program with a safe, functional environment. See PRIDE Recommendations and the Middle School Concept
In the fall of 1999, Beavercreek city schools will return to a four-year high school (grades 9-12) with elementary buildings housing grades K-5 and middle school buildings grades 6-8. This grade restructuring is designed to maintain positive learning environments, to improve student achievement and attendance, to raise the level of student self-esteem, to increase parental and community participation, to promote self-discipline, and to support and maintain a disciplined environment. cf. Middle School Results
Middle school students are a major focus of this transition. Because children ages 10 to 14 face a time of dramatic changes in their physical, social, emotional and intellectual growth and development. The new middle school programming will be a vital force in inspiring student achievement. This rate of change is different for every student, therefore the student/teacher/parent association is essential at this stage. cf. Where Are the Model Middle School Curricula?
Middle schools are designed specifically to provide a developmentally appropriate learning environment for these early adolescents. The teachers and students divide into teams according to their grade level and remain with their teams throughout the day. Teachers tell us that this concept allows them to plan integrated curriculum and become familiar with their students. Students participate in learning that is related to their daily lives and are taught by teachers who are committed to instruction, guidance and support for all students. cf. Developmentally Appropriate Instruction
Our goal is to create model school environments that promote teaching and learning. It's important that students have strong academics and that those strong academics translate into positive feelings about their school. In order to achieve our goal we will incorporate the following characteristics into the middle school concept: Students Lose When School's Attention Shifts from Student Learning to New Structures
  • Challenging, content-rich curriculum for all students, with interesting themes tying the different subject areas together.
cf. Thematic Learning
  • High expectations for all students clearly articulated by schools and teachers through standards or other methods.
cf. Test Aversion
  • Focus on students' long-term success in education and work.
cf. School to Work
  • Recognize the distinct developmental. and educational needs of young adolescents.
cf. Young Adolescents
  • Collaboration and communication among teachers and parents.
see Parent Teacher Conference
  • Strong commitment to continuous training for teachers and other staff.
Is Training Effective?
  • Empower teachers and administrators to make decisions about the experience of middle grade students.
Empowerment
  • Staff middle schools with teachers who are proficient at teaching young adolescents and who have been specially prepared for assignment to middle grades.
Middle School Teacher Preparation
  • Create small communities for learning where stable, close mutually respectful relationships with adults and peers are considered fundamental for intellectual development and personal growth.
Affective Outcomes.
  • Ensure success for all students through the promotion of cooperative teaming, flexibility in arranging instructional time and adequate resources for teachers.
cf. Success for All
In preparation for the transition in 1999, we began teaming the seventh grade in 1996. This year all seventh- and eighth-grade students are in teams. When the sixth-grade students move into the middle school, they will also be teamed and will remain separated from seventh- and eighth-grade students throughout the day. Improvements and additions to existing facilities will allow building principals to keep individual grades in close proximity to one another. Will pre-algebra and other advanced coursework be available to sixth graders? See Unanswered Questions
After the election of 1995, parents, community members and staff formed a middle school committee to study strategies necessary for the transition. Subcommittees considered communication, teacher assignment, extra curricular activities, teaming/blocking, staff development, restructured day, parent teacher conferences, advisory groups, foreign language, special education and academic placement (including the needs of gifted students.) These subcommittees are making recommendations to the Board of Education for consideration and/or modifications. Their work with parents and community members will be directed toward meeting the needs of all our students. If you would like detailed information, contact my office at 426-1522, ext. 606.
Foreign language is the only PRIDE Recommendation addressed by the middle school committee.


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