The faculty at Wellington Middle School held an open house celebration to signify their 2012 Colorado Trailblazer School to Watch designation. Students present and past, family and community members, as well as district administration participated in the festivities.
Diane Lauer, state coordinator of the Colorado School to Watch program, presented the banner on behalf of the Colorado Association of Middle Level Education (CAMLE). “We were impressed with Wellington Middle as soon as we read through your application. However, upon spending a day visiting your school, we knew that something extraordinarily amazing was happening in your learning community.”
The CAMLE site review team, which spent a day at Wellington Middle School mid-February, found a deep, actionable commitment to student success – within the staff, throughout the community, and voiced by the students themselves. “Wellington’s positive can-do spirit is a tangible quality you can feel from being inside the building and talking to folks here,” explained Earl Thomas, site visit team member and CAMLE Board Southeast Representative. CAMLE President Joe Cushing revealed that, “this talented staff effectively implements a number of best practices that foster the unique development of young adolescents. These are the kinds of replicable practices that other educators can come, watch, and take back to their own schools.”
Accepting the banner on behalf of the Wellington community was principal Alicia Durand. A seasoned leader, Durand has enjoyed the principalship at Wellington Middle School for ten years. Prior to that, she was a teacher at the school herself! This kind of dedication and passion runs through the Wellington community, a school that serves 364 students in the 6th-8th grades. Wellington Middle School is part of the Poudre School District, located just north of Fort Collins near Interstate 25. Their student population is 74% White, 20% Hispanic, 44% qualify for free/reduced school lunches, and 10% are English language learners.
The Colorado Department of Education recognized Wellington Middle School this year for demonstrating high levels of student achievement growth. Wellington Middle School was recently designated as a Green Ribbon School, denoting their excellence in environmental education efforts.
Wellington Middle School will be nationally recognized at the National School to Watch Conference during a gala celebration in Washington, DC on June 21, 2012. There, nearly 500 attendees, mostly representatives from Schools to Watch across the country, will present their replicable practices, learn from one another, and advocate on Capitol Hill for strong programs that support the young adolescent.
Below are some of the positive practices that have resulted in a strong trajectory of success for students and staff at Wellington Middle School:
- Welcoming culture pervades the school building
- Curriculum integration, as well as curriculum mastery is intentionally planned for in advance, students appreciate and remember these integrated units of study long after they leave Wellington Middle School
- Standards-based grading program helps teacher align learning targets with assessments
- Student learning targets are shared and understood. They are not just wall art!
- Rubric system systematized – very visible in classrooms, students very articulate in this buildingwide instructional language and expectations
- Wellington is closing the gap between groups of students and reducing the predictability of performance by ethnic or socio-economic status
- Staff is thoughtful, passionate, and dedicated to their profession and their students
- Data is used widely in multiple formats by teachers to visually reinforce student learning growth
- Strong literacy elements observed, especially in the area of writing, writing across the content areas noted in many classes
- Some very strong integration of a wide range of instructional strategies – including differentiation, constructivist/investigatory, data-driven, and elements of critical thinking, note-taking, problem-solving, goal setting and student self-assessment
- Technology is well integrated and focused on student use: information access and production