Tagged “School Environments”

Promoting Community Engagement through Youth Involvment

Honolulu, Hawaii

Ranked as one of the best places to live, Honolulu, Hawaii, is fully committed to serving its youth population. The city hosts programs such as YouthBuild Honolulu, a project aimed at motivating young and expectant parents to become self-sufficient, and 21st Century Ahupua'a Ambassadors Program, an initiative that encourages students to learn and be proactive about creating a sustainable environment.

The city provides local government support for the Keiki (Child) Caucus, a partnership focused on identifying and recommending legislation about issues that affect youth and their families. These programs are specific examples of inspiring practices Honolulu is using to spread the importance of community engagement among a wide range of individuals and speaks to why the city is a three-time winner of whole child partner America's Promise Alliance 100 Best Communities for Young People recognition.

PRIDE Program Shines in Renaissance School

Tri-West Middle School, Lizton, Ind.

"Dream ... Believe ... Achieve ... Remember ... Anything's Possible" is the motto that echoes throughout the hallways of Tri-West Middle School in Lizton, Ind., a recipient of the 2011 School to Watch® award from whole child partner National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform.

One of 2,000 Renaissance Schools in the United States, Tri-West Middle School motivates both its students and its staff to achieve excellence and be enthusiastic about education through various rewards programs, such as the High-Five Luncheon and Honor Roll Breakfast of Champions, events that applaud the students' and the staff's drive to succeed.


Integration of PBIS, RTI, and Character Education Escalate Achievement Growth

Charles M. Russell Middle School of the Performing Arts and Sciences, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Setting the stage for student engagement, performance, and growth is what Charles M. Russell Middle School of the Performing Arts and Sciences in Colorado Springs, Colo., is all about.

Through the integration of Positive Behavior Intervention Support, Response to Intervention, and character education, the school has escalated the growth and achievement of its students by incorporating academic practices with global and cultural awareness and helps instill a moral compass within each student.

Designated as a Colorado School of Character for the past two years and a School to Watch® by whole child partner National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform, Russell Middle School truly values creating an invaluable school experience for its students.

Middle School’s Vision Becomes Reality Through Strong Leadership

Franklin Middle School, Champaign, Ill.

"E2: To Exceed Expectations" is the vision of Franklin Middle School in Champaign, Ill., a recipient of the 2011 Breakthrough School Award from the MetLife Foundation and whole child partner National Association of Secondary School Principals.

Thanks to Principal Angela Smith's leadership, the school has created a positive environment focused on building strong relationships among the staff and students, collecting data through innovative methods that allow for effective responses to students' needs, and achieving excellence through collaborative leadership. Located in an economically challenged area with years of racial conflict and with 52 percent of the student body economically disadvantaged, 18 percent students with special needs, and 62 percent racial minorities, Franklin Middle School has transitioned from a rough past to an incredible present and a very bright future.

Motivation Is Key

Smokey Road Middle School, Newnan, Ga.

Motivation is key at Smokey Road Middle School in Newnan, Ga., a recipient of the 2011 Breakthrough School Award by the MetLife Foundation and whole child partner National Association of Secondary School Principals.

After previous instability, Principal Laurie Barron stepped in and placed a priority on finding a common mission, collaborative leadership, and a continued focus on academic improvement. Committed to making the school a place where students could flourish both in and out of the classroom, the school also partners with local businesses to recognize and reward students and celebrate their academic and nonacademic talents. For the last five years, Smokey Road Middle School has met its adequate yearly progress goals to qualify as a Title I Distinguished School.

Breaking Ranks in the Middle Tenets Inspire Foundation of Georgia School

Haymon-Morris Middle School, Winder, Ga.

When Principal Sheila Kahrs, named a 2010 National Middle Level Principal of the Year by the MetLife Foundation and whole child partner National Association of Secondary School Principals, opened Haymon-Morris Middle School in Winder, Ga., she knew that the foundation of the school would be built on three tenets of Breaking Ranks in the Middle: collaborative leadership, curriculum instruction and assessment, and personalized learning environments for students and teachers.

Since the school's opening, the staff has worked with these tenets to help students succeed at all costs, and it's paying off. Across 6th through 8th grades, 95 percent of students meet or exceed the state's standards in English and language arts, while 80 percent do the same in math. Founded on the vision, "Where caring, patience, and consistency inspire excellence," this 2011 Breakthrough School, as named by the MetLife Foundation and whole child partner National Association of Secondary School Principals, will continue to inspire.

Collaborative Atmosphere Encourages Student Success

M. O. Ramay Junior High School, Fayetteville, Ark.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T is what M. O. Ramay Junior High School in Fayetteville, Ark., is all about. Focused on academic growth, Principal Matt Saferite heavily prioritizes creating a collaborative atmosphere where teachers and students feel safe, appreciated, and valued. With more than 50 percent of the students coming from low-income homes, Ramay Junior High School understands that it's important to cater not only to the students' academic needs, but also to their basic needs.

After failing to make adequate yearly progress in 2006, Ramay Junior High School is proud to have met its goals for the past four years, and the achievement gap is continuing to close. Awarded the 2011 Breakthrough School Award by the MetLife Foundation and whole child partner National Association of Secondary School Principals, it's clear that compassion truly breeds success at Ramay Junior High School.

District Middle School Educates the Whole Child Through Arts Emphasis

John Philip Sousa Middle School, Washington, D.C.

Educating the whole child through an arts emphasis is at the forefront of a rigorous academic curriculum at John Philip Sousa Middle School in the District of Columbia. As an arts catalyst and full-service school, Sousa Middle School provides students the best of both worlds.

While dance, visual art, drama, and music are woven into every discipline, behavior, academics, attendance, social and emotional development, parents and the community, and teacher development play a huge role in the entire vision of the school.

Data-driven instruction is used to meet the needs of every student, and instructional coaches, mentors, and social workers are easily accessible throughout the day, allowing both students and teachers to receive support. Students are encouraged to participate in a variety of after-school programs, and the school recognizes extracurricular activities and sports as an important gateway to healthy development.

Whether students are in the classroom, on the field, or in the dance studio, the positive values instilled in their experience at Sousa Middle School will remain with them as they reach their full potential.

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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.