Middle School Redesign
The purpose of the Middle School Redesign project is to:
• increase achievement and opportunities for students at all Kyrene middle schools
• continue the tradition of excellence in Kyrene
• encourage families in our community to continue to choose Kyrene schoolsResearch shows that high performing and high achieving middle schools focus their efforts on key areas—academic excellence, developmental responsiveness, social equality and organizational structures and processes that support excellence. The Middle School Redesign project creates an opportunity for principals, teachers, families, and community members to work alongside District leaders to evaluate the current status of middle schools, create a vision for the future of our middle schools, and craft a plan to make the vision our reality.UPDATE: The District presented the proposed redesign of the middle school program to the Governing Board at their regular meeting on January 24, 2107. You may view the video of the board meeting online here; the presentation on the Middle School Redesign starts at approximately minute 20:34). Go to the Middle School webpage for more information on the middle school program for 2019-20.Focus on Academic ExcellenceThe Kyrene School District has a reputation for excellence in education for more than a century. The Middle School Redesign will expand opportunities for advanced and innovative courses across the district incorporating real-world, integrated, and project-based learning. Examples could include but are not limited to: STEAMD courses (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics, and design), humanities integration, and additional foreign languages. The redesign project will create middle school opportunities for choice programs (i.e. gifted education, dual-language, traditional academy, and leadership).
Focus on Responsive Instruction and Support
Another component of the Middle School Redesign will be to create a road map for multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) that is responsive to the academic and non-academic needs of all students including students who are academically advanced, students needing some academic or non-academic support, students with disabilities and special needs, and English language learners.MTSS guides both the provision of high-quality core educational experiences in a safe and supportive learning environment for all students and academic and/or non-academic targeted supports for students who have already demonstrated mastery and flexibly for students who may experience difficulties. MTSS systems include (a) promotion of wellness and prevention; (b) universal screening for academic, behavioral, and emotional barriers to learning; (c) implementation of evidence-based interventions that increase in intensity as needed; and (d) monitoring of ongoing student progress in response to instruction and implemented interventions.
Focus on Student AgencyA final component of the Middle School Redesign Project is to increase student agency. Agency is the capacity and propensity to take purposeful initiative. Young people with high levels of agency do not respond passively to their circumstances; they tend to seek meaning and act with purpose to achieve the conditions they desire in their own and others’ lives. The development of agency is an important outcome of schooling in addition to the skills measured by standardized testing. The Middle School Redesign will identify strategies to develop student agency through habits of mind, organizational strategies, mentorship, service learning, social justice, digital citizenship, and extracurricular activities.More information on the three focus areasSupporting ResearchThis We Believe: Keys to Educating Young Adolescents Position Paper of National Middle School AssociationA Rosetta Stone for Non-cognitive Skills: Understanding, Assessing, and Enhancing Noncognitive Skills in Primary and Secondary Education