Transition to Middle School Model
Posted by Richard H. Faidley on 5/2/2016
Boyertown Area School District to Transition to Middle School Model
Starting in September 2015, a group of administrators and teachers began meeting to discuss what transitioning the junior high school model to a middle school program would entail. During this time many questions concerning the schedule, programmatic offerings, staffing, and the physical buildings were considered. To help answer the multitude of questions, the team reviewed various pieces of information including input from teachers and parents of fourth and fifth grade students, the District’s priorities, and research from Hanover Research on best practices in middle school design that was prepared specifically for the Boyertown Area School District. And finally, in order to provide a transition of the sixth grade out of the elementary school and into the middle school, the committee also had to understand the current sixth grade time allocation.
This work resulted in the development of a middle school program that includes:
- Extended learning time in math and English language arts;
- Social studies and science scheduled back to back giving teachers the ability to go deeper into content areas;
- An interdisciplinary team structure for teachers with common planning time for team members;
- An increase in STEM offerings;
- The introduction of world language in eighth grade;
- An enrichment/remediation period added within the school day; and
- The development of an advisory program with regular interaction between teachers and students.
As we move forward to our goal of opening the doors to our two middle schools in the 2017-18 academic year there is still much work to be done. Teachers were surveyed to gauge their interest in teaching at the middle school or moving to the high school with the ninth grade students. Additional work will also be done around curriculum and professional development, as well as transition activity plans for incoming students.
We look forward to providing a middle school program that will enable our students to succeed in a changing world.