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MADISON MIDDLE SCHOOL MOTIVATING SIXTH GRADE STUDENTS WITH SMALL LEARNING COMMUNITIES

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MADISON MIDDLE SCHOOL. MOTIVATING SIXTH GRADE. STUDENTS WITH SMALL LEARNING COMMUNITIES ... Madison Middle School serves approximately 600 students of which 89% are ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: MADISON MIDDLE SCHOOL MOTIVATING SIXTH GRADE STUDENTS WITH SMALL LEARNING COMMUNITIES


1
MADISON MIDDLE SCHOOLMOTIVATING SIXTH
GRADESTUDENTS WITH SMALL LEARNING COMMUNITIES
Superintendents Urban Principal Initiative (SUPI)
Dr. Tonya S. Dillard, Principal Ms. Gina Spicer,
Assistant Principal Mr. Dexter Saunders, Teacher
Leader 2007-2008
2
Abstract of the Study
The study explores what happens in sixth grade
when Small Learning Communities are implemented
in an urban middle school. Results showed an
improvement in school climate among sixth grade
students and an improvement in student
achievement in math.
3
Introduction/Background
  • Madison Middle School serves approximately
    600 students of which 89 are economically
    disadvantaged 5 are Limited English Proficient
    (LEP) students and 21 are enrolled in the
    Special Education Program.
  • Student Demograhpics
  • 66 African American
  • 33 Hispanic
  • 1 White

4
Introduction/Background
We were concerned about the difficulty sixth
grade students experienced adapting to the middle
school. Sixth grade students performed below the
other grade levels in learning gains in both
reading and math over the last three years.
They experienced difficulty adjusting to the
middle school setting, with multiple teachers and
classes to navigate. This can impact student
motivation to learn, their attitudes about school
and learning gains.
5
Introduction/Background
We set out to change the organizational structure
and climate, creating two small learning
communities by teaming students and teachers in
the sixth grade. Each team is comprised of
approximately 100 students and four teachers.
The teachers plan together once weekly.
6
Problem with Learning Gains Reading (6th Grade)
  • We analyzed FCAT Scores (SSS)
  • We compared grades 6, 7 and 8 for the last three
    years
  • We discovered a problem with learning gains in
    6th grade

7
Problem with Learning Gains Math (6th Grade)
  • We analyzed FCAT Scores (SSS)
  • We compared grades 6, 7 and 8 for the last three
    years
  • We discovered a problem with learning gains in
    6th grade

8
School Climate Problem - Students
School Climate Survey 2007 Adults at my school
help me when I need it
  • We analyzed School Climate Survey Results
    (students)
  • We identified areas of concern

9
Research Question
What will happen in sixth grade when small
learning communities are implemented in an urban
middle school?
10
Additional Research Questions
  • How will small learning communities impact
    student learning gains in reading?
  • How will small learning communities impact
    student learning gains in math?
  • How will small learning communities impact
    student motivation and attitudes toward school?

11
Literature Review
  • Small Learning Communities (SLC)
  • The process of organizing schools into small
    academies has been evolving over the past four
    decades.
  • The basic notion of SLCs is that an
    interdisciplinary team of teachers shares a few
    hundred students or less and are given
    flexibility to address the students needs.
    (Oxley, 2005)

12
Literature Review Small Learning Communities
  • Cotton (2001) identifies five key elements of
    successful SLCs
  • Promote self determination of teachers and
    students to be proactive.
  • Develop identity as a group.
  • Personalize the relationships among teachers and
    student.
  • Support teachers to assume responsibility for
    educating all students.
  • Require functional accountability for learning
    and student achievement.

13
Intervention
  • Students in the sixth grade were scheduled in
    teams with the same teachers in Language Arts,
    Math, Science, Social Studies and Physical
    Education.
  • Two teams of approximately 100 students were
    formed, each with a heterogeneous mix of
    remedial, regular and advanced classes.
  • Teachers met once weekly to plan activities,
    interdisciplinary lessons and review student
    performance data.

14
Intervention Contd
  • Each team occupied a series of classrooms in
    close physical proximity, but apart from the rest
    of the school building.
  • Parents and students attended an orientation
    prior to the opening of school where they met
    each other, their teachers and counselors.
    Parents and students achieved 100 completion of
    Sixth Grade Family Student School Agreements
  • Two veteran teachers served as team leaders.
  • Team leaders provided a point of access for
    parents to set up team conferences to track
    student progress.

15
Intervention Contd
  • Teachers on the teams participated in
    professional development each Wednesday.
  • Professional development topics included team
    building, interdisciplinary planning, data
    analysis, curriculum development, group process
    skills, improving school culture and building
    capacity for advanced academics.
  • Team teachers studied the results of progress
    tests and conducted data chats with their
    students.

16
Intervention Contd
  • The teams planned activities, award programs,
    student recognition, field trips and other
    motivational events for their students.
  • Teams met with parents on back to school night
    and by parent and/or teacher request.
  • Students in the SPED program were included in a
    co-teaching model to increase time with
    non-disabled peers and access to higher level
    instruction.

17
Intervention Contd
  • Sixth grade students participated in after school
    tutoring, and after school All-Stars.
  • Students used portable lap top computer labs to
    access technology-based instruction.
  • An Academic Improvement Period was combined with
    homeroom to allow more personalization.
  • Students met in small groups to receive intensive
    instruction through pull-out coaching sessions in
    reading and math.

18
Data Collection and Analysis
  • WE USED A VARIETY OF TOOLS TO COLLECT AND ASSESS
    DATA
  • SnapShot Data
  • Edusoft Interim Assessments
  • Longitudinal FCAT data on learning gains
  • School Climate Survey 2007
  • Sixth Grade Student Climate Survey 2008 (School
    Developed Survey)
  • Sixth Grade Family Student Agreements

19
Findings/Results Reading and Math Interim
Assessment
  • Average score of sixth grade students on the
    January Interim Assessment Test
  • Reading Increase of four percentage points in
    the average score
  • Math Decline of four percentage points in
    average score

20
Findings/Results Reading and Math FCAT Norm
Referenced Test (NRT)
  • National Percentile Rank (NPR) of sixth grade
    students
  • Reading Decline of five percentage points when
    comparing 2007 to 2008.
  • Math Increase of seven percentage points during
    last two years.

21
Findings/Results School Climate - Parents
  • Parents and students achieved 97.4 completion of
    Sixth Grade Family Student School Agreements

22
Findings/ResultsSchool Climate SurveyAdults at
my school help me when I need it
School Climate Survey 2007 (All Students)
School Climate Survey 2008 (6th Grade)
Improvement of 44 percentage points!
23
Findings/Results School Climate Percent of
students in agreement with the following
statements

  • Adults at my school care about me
  • Adults at my school help me when I need it
  • I feel safe at my school
  • I like coming to my school
  • I am getting a good education at my school
  • The overall climate at my school is positive
  • and helps me learn

2007 2008
  • 33 51
  • 22 64
  • 28 43
  • 32 48
  • 40 51
  • 25 49

24
Conclusions
Overall, the implementation of small learning
communities has positively impacted the sixth
grade students at Madison Middle School. The
most significant positive changes were seen in
the results of the school climate survey
completed by sixth grade students. Reading and
Math performance showed improvement. The average
score in Reading on the January interim
assessment improved by four percentage points
compared to last year. In math, sixth grade
students improved their National Percentile Rank
(NPR) on the FCAT Norm Referenced Test (NRT) by
six percentage points when comparing 2007 and
2008.
25
Recommendations
  • Continue the implementation of small learning
    communities
  • Expand to include all grade levels
  • Administer a pre and post survey to parents,
    teachers, and staff
  • Solicit more feedback and follow up from teachers
    and staff to improve the implementation of SLCs
  • Develop and implement Comprehensive Family
    Involvement Plan including goals, objectives,
    strategies and evaluation
  • Conduct further research to address declining and
    inconsistent performance in the area of sixth
    grade reading

26
Sources
  • Cotton, K. (2001) New Small Learning
    Communities Findings from recent literature.
    Northwest Regional Educational Lab, Portland, OR
  • .
  • Miami-Dade County Public Schools (2006).
    Secondary School Reform Plan, Miami, FL.
  • National High School Association (2005) A Call
    to Action, Washington D.C. Institute of
    Educational Leadership
  • Oxley, D. (2005). Small Learning Communities
    Implementing and Deepening Practice, Northwest
    Regional Educational Lab, Portland, OR.

27
Acknowledgements
  • Cynthia Clarke, Assistant Superintendent,
    Leadership Development
  • Michael Sell, District Director Leadership
    Development
  • Dr. Rosann Sidener, Principal Miami Beach Senior
  • Debbie Stevens, Professional Partner Retired
    M-DCPS Principal
  • Jill Farrell, Ed.D., Professor Barry University
  • Professor Greenberg
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