Middle Level Review
This year, the State College Area School District is undertaking a review to develop a new vision for middle school education starting in 2020. The review will include a parent/community forum on April 23, 2019.
A steering team of about 80 members will assess the district’s current practices, including how well they are aligned with findings from the most recent research on the development of early adolescents. Guided by Thomas Murray of Future Ready Schools, the team consists of:
- Faculty representatives across grade levels and disciplines from Delta Middle Level, Mount Nittany Middle School and Park Forest Middle School.
- Student representatives from each of the middle schools.
- Parent representatives from each of the middle schools.
- Penn State/community representatives with expertise in early adolescents (social and emotional development, pedagogy, master scheduling).
- SCASD Board of Directors representatives.
- Middle school and district administrators.
At its first meeting Feb. 18, the team took part in an initial visioning exercise and discussed the district’s and state’s requirements for middle school students, team visits in March to performing middle schools around the state, and a potential subcommittee for reviewing early adolescent development research. The review process also will include:
- April 23, 2019 (morning) — Entire middle level faculty meeting for providing input.
- April 23, 2019 (afternoon) — Steering team meeting to discuss site visits, research work and potential survey questions for the fall.
- April 23, 2019 — Parent/community forum where participants can share thinking about the future of middle level learning in the district, and receive a review update.
- September 2019 — All middle school faculty, parents and students will receive a survey.
- October 2019 — The steering will consider the survey results, comparing them to the spring findings and then drafting a shared vision for middle school education.
- November 2019 — The steering team will share its work with the SCASD Board of Directors.
- December 2019 to March 2020 — During the 2020-2021 budget development process, the Board of Directors will consider implementing steps toward the shared vision for middle school education.
During the review, the steering team will use the following questions as guides:
- What are Pennsylvania’s minimum requirements per year?
- What is occurring in other high-performing middle schools?
- What does the updated research conclude regarding the development of early adolescents? What do research findings identify as best practices within middle level education?
- What do district stakeholders believe is going well and what do they believe needs to be improved?
- How aligned are the district’s middle schools with its five strategic plan goals?
- Engagement and Support for the Whole Student
- Continuous Growth for Every Student
- Critical Thinking, Creativity, Collaboration and Problem Solving
- Closing Individual Achievement and Opportunity Gaps
- Successful Transitions and Readiness for a Purposeful Life
- What do district stakeholders want middle level education to look like in five to 10 years from now? What needs to occur for that to become reality?