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Positive Changes at WMS
Posted On:
Tuesday, August 07, 2018
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Positive Changes at WMS

  • We have a full time SRO officer in the building, Officer Benton Brown.  He is here to ensure the safety of our students, staff and guests.

  • Our students will be excited (and we are excited) to get new lockers this year.  The vendor is behind, but we will install the lockers as soon as we receive them.  Until lockers are installed students will be allowed to carry their school supplies in their backpack.  Officer Brown is aware and taking special precautions to ensure a safe environment during this transitional period.  

  • We now have a full time guidance counselor to help with student needs throughout the school year.

  • The parking lot has been sealed and repainted.

  • A new awning has been added to the rear of the building to help facilitate a quicker student pick up line.  Sixth Graders will dismiss in the rear of the building.

  • The front awnings on the building have been cleaned and repainted.

  • The gym floor is being completely redone and we will have a top of the line playing surface for our students in the coming weeks.  

  • A well has been installed at the football field so that we can move towards improving the turf with better irrigation.

  • A new messaging service, SchoolMessenger,  is being used to better disseminate information to parents through voice, email, and text messages.  (Text message enrollment will occur in the coming weeks.)

Westwood Middle School is dedicated to building an academic environment of excellence in teaching and learning by differentiating and individualizing instruction to meet the learning needs that exist in each classroom. This commitment to academic excellence and high expectations is for all students that attend WMS.

 

  • Academic growth in reading, language arts and math is a major concern.

  • The first class period for every student will focus on one of two goals, extending student learning in Math and Language Arts or improving deficit skills in those subject areas.

  • The move to differentiated instruction will provide students with smaller class sizes and higher expectations for all students.

  • Teachers have been trained in differentiated instruction and will continue to receive intense professional development focusing on meeting the needs of individual students.

  • Students will be able to earn high school credit in 8th grade beginning with Algebra I this year and expanding to science and history in the coming years.  

  • High academic standards and the opportunity to earn high school credit as an 8th grade student will ensure that students can take their education to the highest level not just in middle school, but in high school as well.

 

We transitioned from the previous honors system this year to a merit system that would allow students to earn high school credit as 8th graders.  Students in 6th and 7th grade who have performed at a high level, exhibited positive academic growth and maintain good attendance will be eligible to take classes for high school credit in 8th grade.  This year Algebra I is available for high school credit, but we plan to add additional credit courses each year. We are considering World History and/or physical science courses for credit in eighth grade. Students will have the opportunity to leave our school with high school credits allowing them to take their education to highest level in high school.   

 

Integrated Grade Levels- Related Arts Classes

  • At WMS we want to enrich our student’s educational experience with related arts classes, however our main focus is to give our children the best opportunity for academic growth in the core classes of Math, Language Arts, Science and Social Studies.  

  • Integrating grade levels in related arts classes lowers teacher to pupil ratios in our core classes.

  • Smaller classes facilitate differentiation which sets higher expectations for all students in an environment where all students can experience academic growth.

  • Standards for Art, Theatre, and Music are virtually identical for 6th-8th grade students and PE standards are similar for 6th-8th grade students. These classes will differentiate instruction based on the student needs in each class.

  • Allows students the opportunity to participate in band at their level.   (ex. An 8th grade student may now take beginning band, or an extremely talented 7th grade student may take advanced band.)

  • Students with deficit skills will now be able to receive support based on those specific skills rather than being limited by their grade level. This is the driving force behind Response to Intervention (RTI).

  • Teachers will implement the Olweus Anti-Bullying program and PBS (positive behavior support) during homeroom this school year. Teachers received Olweus training in the spring of 2018.

  • A positive school culture that encourages acceptance and unity as a school can be built so that 6th grade students can be integrated and become a part of the school culture.

  • As a coach, I see 6th graders every year that join the team and rise to the level of the older players.  I see 6th graders participate in a school play with older students and become part of a school rather than part of a class.  I envision 6th graders uniting with 7th and 8th grade students for the common purpose of improving the Westwood Middle School experience for all students. The growth potential is tremendous for students both older and younger to develop not just as middle school students, but as leaders and mentors.

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