What are the elements of an effective middle level school? Visit our Pinterest or Learnist boards for professional, research-based articles and information focused on best practices and elements of an effective middle level school.
Class Size - Class sizes are always a challenge for schools. Effective middle schools find innovative ways to reduce class sizes. The research behind the need for smaller classes, as well as ways to reduce class sizes, are investigated here.
Homeroom or Advisory - Advisory is a crucial component of effective middle schools. Curating effective student-teacher relationships is essential to help students navigate the challenges of adolescence.
Site Planning - Collaborative site planning is essential for effective Middle Schools. The importance of, and ways to design successful site planning is described on this board.
Planning Time - Individual and shared planning time is extremely important when teaching 10-15 year old students. These resources justify common planning time and provide materials to make this time more effective.
Technology Integration - Exemplary middle schools recognize that students are media consumers. This board includes resources on the purpose of technology in middle schools, the responsibilities of the district, and the importance of training.
Comprehensive Literacy - Exemplary middle schools focus on building literacy and reading skills across all curricular areas. This board addresses ways to make that happen for 10-15 year old learners.
Counseling - Effective middle level schools emphasize Counseling and other comprehensive pupil services activities, including long-range academic planning, and build these into a student’s experience. Pupil service programs should be designed to provide both social and academic support to students and their families as students transition through adolescence.
Co-curricular Participation - Effective middle level schools encourage participation in academic, social, and athletic co-curricular opportunities. Providing a variety of opportunities for students to be involved is beneficial for the school, as well as the students.
Master Schedule - An effective master Schedule is crucial. Meeting the academic, social, and emotional needs of 10-15 year olds is made easier if the Master Schedule is well designed.
Relationship Building - Relationships are essential for healthy adolescent development. Making sure each student has one adult advocate is a difficult, but important part, of an effective middle school.
Teams & Houses - Effective middle level schools use Houses, Teams, Pods, or other organizational structures to facilitate community, communication, and relationships. This organizational structure maximizes communication between faculty and helps to create smaller, more meaningful and more productive learning communities within the larger school environment.
Flexible Grouping - Grouping students is necessary to improve communication and collaboration. Various forms of grouping should be utilized in every class. These boards include a definition of flexible grouping, as well as a variety of ways to group.
Life-long Learning - Exemplary middle schools lay the foundation for life-long learning. This board investigates various facets of how to create learners instead of students.
Exploration Across the Curriculum - A well-rounded middle school experience allows students to see the interconnectedness in what they are learning and doing. Integrated curriculum, as well as opportunities for experiences inside and outside of school are necessary.
Assessment - Exemplary middle schools use a variety of assessment formats and utilize several different types of assessments when making decisions about students.
Variety of Strategies - Middle school students learn in a variety of ways. Having a repertoire of learning strategies creates a more effective educational experience for 10-15 year old students. This board addresses those issues.
Student Directed Decision Making - Involving students in decisions that affect them--class work, assessment, and building decisions--creates an investment in the school that increases academic achievement.
Applied Learning - Student learn better if they can connect what they are learning to "real life." Applied/service learning and project-based learning can all help with this process. These boards define these, and give examples of how to implement them.
Service Learning - This board highlights the importance of service learning for 10-15 year olds. It also includes several example of service learning projects you could do with your students.
Standards - Effective middle schools base their instruction on best practices and local, state, and national standards. This board includes links to various best practices, as well as examples of different standards.
Climate & Culture
Community Involvement - Exemplary middle schools foster a sense of community that not only resides within the walls of the building, but extends to both local and global communities. Resources for building community connections can be found on this learning.
Transitioning - Effective middle schools help their students transition into, and out of, the middle school. This board includes resources for educational staff and parents to ease transitions.
Behavior Expectations - Exemplary middle schools set high expectations for behavior as well as academics. Creating a safe environment with clear guidelines is imperative in creating high functioning schools.
Parental Involvement - Parental involvement in middle school is imperative for student success. This series of boards includes suggestions for involving parents of 10-15 year old students.
Recognize Achievement - Exemplary middle schools recognize student achievement in real and meaningful ways. This board provides research for the practice as well and meaningful ways to recognize achievement.
Safe Place - Exemplary middle schools provide a physically, emotionally, and psychologically safe place for all students.
Mission & Vision - The best mission statements provide guidance for schools and are created in collaboration with all stakeholders invested in the education of 10-15 year old students. This board provides insight into creating strong mission statements.
Teacher Leadership - Teacher leadership is imperative to high functioning middle schools. Finding ways to utilize teachers as leaders strengthens the educational foundation of the school.
Ongoing Professional Development - Continual professional development is crucial to improving the teaching and learning that occurs in exemplary middle schools. The following boards include information to maximize learning opportunities for your staff.
Facility Leadership - Though students and staff and immensely important in a high functioning middle school, the facilities cannot be overlooked. Resources to create a physically safe and high functioning environment for student learning are found here.
Securing Resources - Exemplary middle schools help teachers secure resources that stay current with teaching strategies.
Student Leadership - Student leadership is essential to exemplary middle school culture. Defining leadership, then providing growth opportunities for student leadership is crucial.
Professional Networking - Teaching is often a solitary profession. Connecting educators to each other, both within their own schools and externally, can improve classroom performance.