Middle Level Model Review Process
In February of 2019, the State College Area School District began the middle level model review process. The purpose of this review is to develop a vision for the future of middle level education in our district. To facilitate this review, a steering team has been assembled, consisting of 47 members who represent a cross section of stakeholders in the school district: students, teachers, parents, administrators, school board members, and Penn State College of Education faculty. To help guide the work, the steering team is collaborating with Mr. Thomas Murray, from Future Ready Schools.
The following update was presented to our Board of Directors December 16, 2019.
During the August Board Culture, Climate, and Learning (CCL) Committee and September Regular Board meetings, we provided an overview of the Middle School Review process that began during the spring of 2019. As we discussed at these meetings, the purpose of this review is to develop a vision for the future of middle level education in the State College Area School District. Below is a summary of our work to date, as well as our plans for 2020.
As per our prior discussions, we have been collaborating with Mr. Thomas Murray from Future Ready Schools to help guide our work with our steering committee, faculty, students, parents and community. Mr. Murray was in State College during the in-service days on Nov. 1 and 27, to facilitate work with our steering committee. We plan to utilize him as a facilitator as we proceed with our discussions and information gathering throughout the winter and spring.
Steering Team and Sub-Committees
The middle level review steering team consists of 47 members who represent a cross section of stakeholders in the school district: students, teachers, parents, administrators, school board members, and Penn State College of Education faculty. The steering team has met four times as a large group to engage in middle level work since we began the process in February 2019. In addition, the team established smaller subcommittees to engage in middle level specific work in the following areas:
- Site Visitations
- Middle Level Research
Site Visitations - There have been no additional school visits since the update provided to the Board in the fall. However, on Nov. 27, when the site visit subcommittee met to review their findings, it expressed an interest in making a few more school visitations to gain a deeper insight into some sites we have already visited and possibly visit a school outside of PA.
To date, members of the site visitation team visited the following schools in Pennsylvania that were identified through our research and committee discussions with Mr. Murray: Chartiers Valley and Avonworth Middle Schools in Western PA, Central York and York Suburban Middle Schools in Central PA, and Radnor Middle School and the Philadelphia Science Leadership Academy in Eastern PA. Key findings from each of these school visits have been shared with the steering committee.
Research Committee - The middle level research white paper developed by this committee was shared with the entire steering team on Nov. 27. The feedback received from the steering team will be incorporated into the final version of the white paper in January.
Communications Committee - This committee met twice this fall to assist in the development and review of the student, parent, and teacher surveys. The steering committee spent most of the day on Nov. 1 reviewing and providing feedback on the aforementioned surveys. The steering team recommended administering the student survey first and then, if necessary, making additional revisions to the parent and staff surveys based on the survey data gathered from students. The committee is scheduled to meet again on Dec. 18 to finalize the student survey, which will be administered in January. Additionally, we will construct a website to house all of the information relating to this process and help with community understanding.
Throughout the process, the middle school faculty at Delta, Mount Nittany, and Park Forest Middle Schools will collaborate with members of the steering team, administration, and Tom Murray by understanding the steering team’s work and offering feedback.
The below information contains a draft of dates and work as part of the middle level review process this fall. Please note: the timeline from now until fall of 2020 has been extended slightly due to the lengthy process to generate the surveys.
November 2019 - March of 2020
- Create Surveys – Collaborate with the steering team to review stakeholder feedback, site visit learning and research findings, and finalize a survey for students, parents and faculty.
- Administer Surveys – All middle school students will have an opportunity to participate in the survey in January. Teachers and parents will receive the survey in February.
- Community Forum – All K-8 families will be invited to a middle level review forum. Steering team members will share updates regarding the team’s work to date, and allow attendees to ask questions and share feedback.
April - June of 2020
- The steering team will review the survey results and compare the feedback with its findings from the spring/fall 2019. Utilizing the combined information, the team will draft a shared vision for the future of middle level education in SCASD.
Fall of 2020
- Community Forum
All K-8 families will be invited to a middle level review forum. Steering team members will share updates regarding the draft vision, and allow attendees to ask questions and share feedback.
- Present Shared Vision to Board of Directors
The results of the steering team’s work will be shared with the SCASD Board of Directors and our families. Prior to developing any implementation steps, the administration will seek support from the Board.
- Action Steps for the Future
Pending Board support, the SCASD administration will develop implementation steps toward realizing the shared vision for middle level education. This will coincide with the 2021-2022 budget development process.