January 6, 2015

Templeton to change schedule, structure

The schedule and structure for Templeton Middle School will change next year in an effort to improve achievement for all students. Principal Paul Mielke, Ph.D., presented a report and recommendations from a school committee that studied changes to benefit students.

Among the committee’s objectives were to provide: flexibility for interventions, student access to staff and resources during the school day, opportunities to receive academic interventions and take allied classes, consistency in how reading is taught and RTI services are delivered, a potential structure for personalized learning, support for student connection to school through teachers and club participation, and minimized classroom instruction distractions.

The recommended changes include:

  • Curriculum – changing Grade 7 and 8 reading classes to “Critical Literacy” and adding the class to Grade 6 to allow for curriculum and staff flexibility by integrating reading, writing and critical thinking skills.
  • Advisement – A 33-minute advisement period will be added after third hour by shortening class periods from 53 to 49 minutes. During advisement, students have access to teachers during the school day if they need help, can make up or finish tests, quizzes and homework without missing new content in class, have access to writing and math labs to complete assignments, will have an advisement teacher who will regularly check on their grades, attendance and behavior, and will receive differentiated curriculum on Mondays related to character education, study and organizational skills.
  • Class periods – A seventh period was added to grade 6, creating a consistent schedule for all three grades that allows students to meet with teachers more easily and alleviates staffing issues.
  • Common period for academic interventions – Response to Intervention (RtI) services will be delivered during advisement, allowing students to be grouped by skills need instead of grade level. It provides flexibility for students to move easily from different interventions without disrupting their schedules. The move also reduces the number of staff delivering interventions from 45-50 to 15-18, for better consistency and effectiveness. Interventionists will have a common meeting time for training, collaboration and data analysis.
  • House size – Houses will have a team of four or five teachers instead of two to four. The larger houses allow for more advanced classes and flexibility for scheduling to maximize student opportunities. Teachers will be able to specialize within a content area.

Achievement analyzed through disaggregated data

Erica Bova-Brown, school social worker who coordinates Chapter 220 and Title I services, wrote a disaggregated achievement report for the School Board. The report outlined initiatives to ensure high achievement for all students, specifically related to race, socioeconomic status and English Language Learners.
The number of students taking Advanced Placement tests who are minorities or economically disadvantaged increased since 2012, and the number of students who scored 3 or higher increased as well. While the average ACT composite score for minorities and economically disadvantaged students remained the same, the percentages of students in those categories taking the ACT have increased.

Bova-Brown also included descriptions of numerous cultural learning experiences offered for students in the past year.

Personnel action

In personnel business, the School Board:

  • approved a 1.46 percent total aggregate salary increase for custodial I and II, grounds keeper and maintenance staff, and position adjustments for identified custodial I staff.
  • approved the retirement request of Woodside school counselor Pamela Bilodeau and Hamilton High School Guidance Office administrative assistant Mary Weber at the end of the school year;
  • accepted the resignations of Woodside instructional and supervision paraprofessional Holly Carini, effective Jan. 1, and Marcy special services paraprofessional Ruby Westmoreland-Pate, effective Dec. 23;
  • appointed Melissa Pungarcher as a Templeton special services paraprofessional, effective Jan. 5, and Jeff Jones as the Marcy head custodian, effective Jan. 19.