Tagged “Community Engagement”

Supportive Environment Eases Middle School Transition

Marietta Sixth Grade Academy, Marietta, Georgia

National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform, a whole child partner, has named Marietta Sixth Grade Academy as a Georgia Lighthouse School to Watch. The academy—located in Marietta, Georgia—helps ease the difficult transition from elementary school to middle school. Principal Gabe Carmona emphasized that the school’s achievements have come about largely as a result of the collaborative efforts of students, staff, and the community as a whole. The school was recognized not only for its academic excellence, but also for its supportive environment among other factors.

Strengthening Bonds, Growing Confidence

Coastal Middle School, Savannah, Georgia

Coastal Middle School has been named a Georgia Lighthouse School to Watch by whole child partner National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform. Located in Savannah, Georgia, the school works to develop well-rounded students through a strong extracurricular program that supports and enhances the academic experience. Principal Kelly Coursey cites the strong bonds and high levels of trust between her staff, the students, and their families as a major factor in the school’s success. This ongoing outreach initiative helps build rapport between the groups, which in turn creates a close-knit, supportive learning environment.

Setting Real Goals Makes Success a Standard

Ecker Hill Middle School, Park City Utah

Ecker Hill Middle School—located in Park City, Utah—joins an elite group in being designated as a Utah School to Watch by whole child partner National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform. After Ecker Hill implemented a schedule that allows students time to catch up on their work, the school has seen important improvements in student performance. Principal Traci Evans spearheaded these efforts, citing planning time as a crucial factor for successful student development and support programs. The school also views parents as integral players in academic success and employs an open door policy to strengthen those ties.

Community Stakeholders Motivate Middle School Excellence

Vilonia Middle School, Vilonia, Ark.

Vilonia Middle School joins twelve other exemplary Arkansas schools as one of whole child partner National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform’s Diamond Schools to Watch for 2013. Located in Vilonia, Arkansas, the school prides itself on its staff’s “can-do” attitude and passion for learning and teaching. Principal Cathy Riggins cites the school’s ties to the local community as a source of support and motivation for continuing educational excellence.

Suburban School and Community Encourages Students to Live Healthy Lives

Hendrix IB Elementary School, Boiling Springs, SC 

"This suburban school provides programs that promote healthy eating, stress reduction, cardiovascular fitness, and personal and social responsibility. After-school Zumba workouts numerous community resources are available to families and provide support for a healthy lifestyle. Project Fit America, a national nonprofit public charity dedicated to getting kids fit, is integral to supporting the school in reversing the lack of fitness in children and in teaching children to take personal responsibility for their health.


School Library Program Engages Students and Meets Community Needs

Pine Grove Middle School, East Syracuse, N.Y.

East Syracuse Minoa’s Pine Grove Middle School earned the 2011 National School Library Program of the Year award from the American Association of School Librarians (AASL). The Pine Grove library program was given this honor for its ability to transform and meet the needs of the community. The library plays a vital role in providing students with learning experiences that embrace real world connections, interdisciplinary work and community partnerships. Efforts at the school have integrated the library program into curriculum, literacy, technology, and all areas of educating the whole child.

Community Vision Drives School Growth

Apple Valley Middle School, Hendersonville, N.C.

Apple Valley Middle School (PDF) is located in rural North Carolina in one of the Nation's largest apple-producing areas. Eventhough the school has a high percentage of disadvantaged students, the school thrives and is continually striving to reach higher growth. The school atmosphere is warm and welcoming and is supported by the community in many ways. A variety of partners in the community, including counselors, mediators, and community support centers, support the work at Apple Valley. Faculty, staff, and students see the principal as the person who holds the school together, but they also see the administrative staff as a well-balanced team. The school is the heart of the community and is heavily involved in helping the community it serves.

Nurturing Environment Drives Academic Excellence

Seventy First Classical Middle School, Fayetteville, N.C.

Seventy-First Classical Middle School (PDF) located in Fayetteville, N.C., is a 100% School of Choice. This school demonstrates tremendous academic success and has been labeled a School of Excellence in North Carolina since 1998.The students and staff appear happy, and there is valuable input and buy-in from stakeholders when making
decisions for the school. Parents are very pleased with programs and the care and concern shown by teachers and staff. Seventy-First Classical Middle meets the needs of their students, parents, teachers, and staff in an environment where excellence is expected, yet students are nurtured."

Elementary School Leads Students Through a Journey of Learning

Eldridge Park Elementary School, Lawrenceville, N.J.

Eldridge Park has created a culture of character where every first step and all the steps thereafter lead their students on a journey that has already begun to shape the paths of their lives. Students, staff, and community members describe Eldridge Park as a cocoon that prepares and places the most beautiful of butterflies into the world—their children. A smiling principal meets students at the morning buses, a police officer high-fives students walking to school, and teachers meet students coming to early-morning clubs with projects ready. Daily activities and projects connect to core values. Families are actively involved and are a regular presence within the school. Students are encouraged to be “bucket fillers”—people who celebrate one another’s successes. Eldridge Park is an inclusive, family-oriented, and high-energy environment where going the extra mile is a way of life.

Technology and Student-Centered Strategies Promotes Digital Citizenship in Students

North East Independent School District, San Antonio, T.X.

North East Independent School District (NEISD) in Texas is an American Association of School Librarians’ (AASL) 2011 National School Library Program of the Year (NSLPY) Award recipient. To create lifelong learners at NEISD, the school library program works to “model and promote the effective integration of technology and student-centered strategies to support the access, use, evaluation, and creation of information; and model, teach, and practice the ethical use of information in order to promote good digital citizenship in students, teachers, and the community.” Along with skills to evaluate information, technology skills are embedded into the core content areas when teachers and school librarians collaborate to design lessons. Products of these lessons incorporate various presentation tools, including podcasts, slideshows and videos. This allows students to not only complete their work, but share it with others, like their parents and peers, by posting it on classroom or library blogs.

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Fast, Free, Online: The ASCD School Improvement Tool

Designed for use in schools and districts, the free ASCD School Improvement Tool offers educators a comprehensive and completely online needs assessment.