Week 4 Update:
Middle School Site Visit
Team meetings were somewhat sparse this week owing to bad weather. Below if a recap of a Middle School Team visit to Rutland City Middle School attended by Bethel teacher Karol Delia and Bethel students Anita Miller and Reid Penta.
Rutland City Middle School Visit
Rutland City Middle School is made up of 312 students in Grades 7 & 8. There are 7 blocks daily, with teachers teaching 5 of them. Each block is 48 minutes long, with the exception of lunch/REAL time (Respect E------- Acceptance Leadership), which are back to back each being 18 minutes. Each classroom has a cart with Chromebooks. Students are assigned a computer and take it upon entering if needed. This has decreased damage and loss to the electronics and ensures that they all have technology available.
Block 1- Extension
Students are assigned to this block by grade level. They are either in Math Extension (intervention), Language Extension (intervention) or World Culture (7th graders) or Foreign Language (8th graders). Historically there would be a Science Class option for each grade, but a teacher was cut so it has been modified.
Both the Math and Language Extension classes use Math 180 or Language 180; which are both skill recovery programs that utilize both a book and online. These programs are also accessible online at home.
We visited an 8th grade Math Extension class. All students enter and start with a lesson from the book. Once they have completed the lesson, they have the choice to go online with a Chromebook or to work and get help in his/her regular math class. This teacher LOVES Math 180. She can monitor progress daily/weekly to find students activity. If students aren’t being as productive as they should, she conferences with them about going to the “other” traditional classroom that is book work as a class. They earn being in this class.
Block 2- E Block
This E Block is for Enrichment. Students either go to Band/Chorus/Orchestra or they follow a rotation through FACS, Technology, Social Skills, World Culture, PE.
ALL teachers have this block free for team meetings.
Block 3 - Core Class 1
Lunch/REAL time BLOCK
Each is 18 minutes. While 7th is at REAL, 8th is eating then it flips. The Principal and Asst Principal do lunch duty. The trade off is that ALL teachers are to be in the hallways during transitions to monitor behaviors.
REAL is a block where Tuesday - Thursday it is comprised of Academic Work/Help and Advising. There are special activities on Friendship Fridays and Mondays i.e. Special Olympics VT T-shirt contest or other menu options. This calendar and menu of choices is put together by the PBIS team. This is in lieu of TA; which they have tried in the past.
Blocks 4-6 Core Classes 2-5
Block 7 Unified Arts
All Specials happen during the last block. Students travel by grade level groups as a cohort to a Special that will meet 5 days per week for 5 weeks before rotating. These Unified Arts are: PE, FACS, Art, Health (7th grade), Music (8th grade)
- There is a Team Leader meeting every Wednesday after school with Administration. The team consists of 2 teachers per grade and 1 Unified Arts teacher. They act as a liaison between teachers and administration to discuss issues.
- When speaking with the Team Leaders at our visit, they all thought 48 minutes was too short. It turns out to be 45 productive minutes for class which can pass quickly. They thought 90 minutes was too long. 2 thought 80 minutes would be great. (1 is a Social Studies teacher who has centers). They all agreed 55-60 would be perfect.
- The configuration is currently without “‘looping”. In the past, they didn’t have the loops, then decided they wanted to in order to get to know the students better. They looped for about 6 years until they decided it didn’t work as well as they had hoped. They got to know only about ¼ of the students really well. Many felt it also undermined what they intended for the culture of the school. They discontinued looping and the teachers now get to know all of the students. They feel they get to know them well because they see them 5 days a week.
- During the last 2 weeks of school, ALL faculty and staff participate in ESP - Enriched Special Program. All staff members offer a course as an individual or as part of a team. The courses are about anything the teachers are passionate about. Courses can be ½ or full days. Course that have been offered in the past were: hiking, arts/crafts, tennis and even shark dissection. Students get a flyer with all of the courses and pick multiple choices. The 8th graders get 1st pick, the 7th graders get 2nd pick.
- Rutland City has a Makerspace. It has both Industrial Arts as well Technology. Teachers sign up for the space with the Technology Director and bring their class there for projects (i.e. a Social Studies class researched Colonial artifacts then had to recreate them). They currently have cameras and lighting with a green screen for video production, a plotter for large posters, Google Expedition - these are goggles that are put on and programmed for places such as the Sahara Desert. You remain stationary, but see images in 3D, 360 degrees. Also there are computers as well as hand tools and come power tools.
- Student Council is made up of anyone who wants to join with a President and Vice President, who are elected by the general population. The elected officials must campaign. They have made videos which have been shown in classes. Each grade runs the school store during their lunch blocks.
- Through PBIS, students are awarded Bucks; which may be redeemed immediately at the school store for small items (erasers, pencil grips, etc) or save them to be put in the weekly drawing for larger items (t-shirt, hat, etc).
- Students are allowed to nominate Students of the Month or Faculty Staff of the month by writing a small blurb as to why they should be awarded the title. The write ups are then read by the PBIS team.
- Students may award other students with Bucks by giving them one of their own.