This is the time of the year to make reports about the status of an organization and it is my privilege to report on Morgan Middle School (MMS)!
The following information is not necessarily in any order of importance, but one of the missions of a school is reported with standardized, criterion referenced test score results. Let me begin by stating the CRT or Criterion Referenced Test scores from state produced tests that indicate how well MMS students did on these assessments of core knowledge that should be taught in every middle school in the state.
The following state core test results in language arts of 86% proficiency in 6th grade, 92% proficiency in 7th grade and 93% proficiency in 8th grade means that the stated percentage of students met the accepted state achievement of language arts core information.
The following state core test results in math of 85% proficiency in 6th grade, 89% proficiency in 7th grade, 86% proficiency in pre-algebra , 97% proficiency in algebra and 100% proficiency in geometry means that again the stated percentage of students met the accepted state achievement of math core information.
Finally, the following state core test results in science of 85% proficiency in 6th grade, 84% proficiency in 7th grade and 85% proficiency in 8th grade means that the stated percentage of students met the accepted state achievement of science core information.
In summation, MMS is one of the leading middle schools in the state when it comes to the percentage of students that achieved proficiency in language arts, math, and science. If it were appropriate to actually compare scores of all middle schools in the state, MMS would lead the state!
The literature is replete with the concept that students test better when their literacy skills are high. One would then speculate that MMS is doing something about literacy and it is a pleasure to report that every student is tested in reading and writing at least twice a year to establish information for all concerned about the literacy status of each student. Those that test above reading level have opportunities to excel with an advanced reading class and all can participate in Accelerated Reading activities that provide structured competition by advisories to improve their reading level; likewise, MMS provides remedial tutoring of the few who presently do not read on level. Writing data from at least three opportunities school-wide, coupled with numerous language arts class writing activities in each grade, provide excellent benchmarks and practice that provides data to drive instruction. The results of the Direct Writing Assessment, given state wide, indicates that 8th graders last year averaged in the proficient category together as a grade. If the state tested the 6th & 7th grades, the inference is that the results would also indicate a high level of writing proficiency per grade.
At MMS there is presently a successful after school program that provides extended learning opportunities for any student desiring tutoring or enrichment. The tutoring opportunity consists of an after school coordinator that can assist students in directing the students to teachers and or high school paid tutors; the enrichment activities consist of opportunities daily after school in homemaking activities or “Creative FACS” with Mrs. Whitear and shop experiences or “Technology & Engineering” classes with Dr. Rutherford. It is not unusual to see about 50 students in these two classes daily for enrichment activities.
Another exciting concept in which all 6th grade students of MMS participate is the rotation of these students through physical education teacher directed activities, the music teacher with piano instruction and technology & engineering teacher with shop activities on a regular basis daily during 6th & 7th hours. This opportunity to explore these three arenas is simply unparalleled in most middle schools in the nation. In many years of middle school association both with the literature and in actual experience, I have not experienced anything that fulfills the National Middle School advocated pillar of exploratory programs better.
Let’s now discuss the MMS intramurals that allows all students the opportunity to participate in team activities before school. MMS has a reputation in the past of providing one of the leading intramural programs in the state and this school year, Mr. Barlow has brought this experience back to students allowing all to play without the elimination of any due to participation ability.
No school is complete without the Arts and MMS is indeed fulfilling this valuable part of education by providing classes in our beginning and advanced band, the choir and advanced choir, the drama classes and the art classes. Each area of instrumental, choir, drama, and art classes allows not only instruction, but the much needed opportunity for a student to present their art to their peers, parents and patrons of the community. It is often reported that a middle school rides on the waves produced by art classes and in this case, MMS is like a surfer on the crest of a great wave benefitting all who participate.
Let me end my article by indicating the value laden opportunities that have transpired already during this first half of the school year at MMS: We have a Buddy Box that allows all at MMS the chance to indicate what might not be right with interactions of students with themselves and others. Already this box has identified a few serious situations that would not have ever been addressed. On the other side of the equation, we have a Kindness Box that allows students the experience of indicating the special, nice things that have happened to them and others. Some of these comments plus a selection of what we termed “Joy Essays” were highlighted in a touching portion of the holiday assembly and for a short time we applauded the good that happens daily by many. During this assembly the report of over 3,000 items of food collected by MMS Student Council was reported; then a student reported that the i-Pod she won was done so with the intent of giving it to some deserving student that might not otherwise be able to afford it and again a special feeling was captured that might be shared with others during the holiday time and beyond.
There are many school experiences in my work history in education, but no school has ever equaled what MMS has achieved. MMS exceeds what a middle school should be doing, yet the staff, students, parents and community that propelled it to that status will not rest with its present level of success. Paraphrasing Zig Zeigler one could say, all is well at MMS, but we are dedicated to the concept of getting better!