High-performing schools with middle grades are socially equitable, democratic, and fair. They provide every student with high-quality teachers, resources, learning opportunities, and supports. They keep positive options open for all students.
1. To the fullest extent possible, all students, including English learners, students with disabilities, gifted and honors students, participate in heterogeneous classes with high academic and behavioral expectations.
- Faculty and administrators are committed to helping each student produce proficient work.
- Evidence of this commitment includes tutoring, mentoring, enrichment assignments, differentiated instruction, special adaptations, supplemental classes and other supports.
- Accelerated, short-term interventions for students with similar needs are fluid and do not become low-level or permanent tracks.
2. Students are provided the opportunity to use many and varied approaches to achieve and demonstrate competence and mastery of standards.
- Teachers know each student’s learning style.
- Teachers differentiate instruction in order to give each student equal opportunity to comprehend the standards-based curriculum.
3. Teachers continually adapt curriculum, instruction, assessment, and scheduling to meet their students’ diverse and changing needs.
- The faculty is always seeking ways to improve programs, curriculum, and assessment to better meet student needs.
4. All students have equal access to valued knowledge in all school classes and activities.
- All students use technology to do research and analyze data, read more than textbooks, and understand how to solve complex problems.
- To the fullest extent possible, students with disabilities are in regular classrooms that are co-taught by special education professionals.
- All students have access to participate in interest-based classes, activities, or opportunities.
5. Students have ongoing opportunities to learn about and appreciate their own and others’ cultures.
- The school values knowledge from the diverse cultures represented in the school, community, and our nation.
- Materials in the media center represent all of the cultures of the students.
- Families often come and share their traditions and beliefs.
- Teachers use multi-cultural materials and methods.
- Multiple viewpoints are encouraged.
6. The school community knows every student well.
- Each student is appreciated and respected.
- Staff members do not use negative labels or discuss students in negative ways.
- Every student has an adult advocate and supporter in the school.
7. The faculty welcomes and encourages the active participation of all its families and makes sure that all its families are an integral part of the school, such as:
- Transportation, meals, childcare, and translation support are provided so all families of diverse cultures and languages can attend school events.
8. The school’s reward system is designed to value diversity, civility, service, and democratic citizenship.
- The faculty recognizes the contributions of all its students.
- Awards are not limited to sports and academic honors.
- Students’ success and good deeds are always noticed.
9. Staff members understand and support the family backgrounds and values of its students.
- The school recruits a culturally and linguistically diverse staff.
- The staff members are a good match to the school’s community.
10. The school rules are clear, fair, and consistently applied.
- Students and parents are informed of school rules and know exactly what will and does happen if students break the rules.
- The school’s suspension rate is low and in proportion to the student population.
- Staff members routinely analyze and act upon referral and suspension data and make sure that no one group of students is unfairly singled out by classroom teachers and school staff.
- The school’s disciplinary referrals and suspension rate are low as a result of proactive interventions that keep students engaged, resilient, healthy, safe, and respectful of one another.